Peter and the early apostles are so heroic to me. Each new chapter of Acts inspires me and leaves me thinking, “I want to be more like them!” It’s fascinating to watch the power of the Holy Spirit transform these meek, unreliable and often-foolish men into bold, fearless teachers and healers, proud to suffer for Jesus’ name.
Today I realized how truly simple it can be: Find a way to speak his name daily. Jesus.
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”Acts 4:12
Acts 5 testifies to both the saving power and angry resistance you can expect if you choose to accept this mission.
The high priests, who clearly hoped that crucifying Jesus would bring an end to his radical uprising, were “filled with jealousy” by the crowds following Peter and company. They threw the apostles in jail for the night, but not before reminding them:
We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name.Acts 5:26
But an angel of the Lord set them free, giving them this beautiful, counter-cultural instruction, “Go stand in the temple courts and tell the people all about this new life.” (Acts 5: 20)
Peter responded to the high priest’s reprimand saying, “We must obey God rather than human beings!”
And so must we. God’s instruction and the tension it produces have not changed. The world today still rejects and detests the name of Jesus. And then it struck me: “What would it look like if I invoked the name of Jesus into conversation at least once a day?”
Not just with my family over a meal, but into the cold, cruel world. And what if a bunch of us did this together? Imagine the power in this simplest of acts!
As believers we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that indwelled Peter and the apostles, and instilled in them the power to heal and the courage to speak Jesus’ name to a world that rejects him.
So whom will we obey, God or men? Luke tells us at the conclusion of Acts 5 that despite being ordered again by the Sanhedrin “not to speak in the name of Jesus”:
The apostles left rejoicing because they had been counted worth of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day…they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.Acts 5: 41-42
Like them, we will know we are being effective when we encounter rejection, opposition and suffering. In fact, if we do not experience resistance we are living a lukewarm faith, the kind that Jesus warns against. (Revelation 3:16)
God invites us to join in this peaceful insurrection against “the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit now at work in those who are disobedient” by simply, boldly speaking the Name: