Readings: Daniel 3:24-28, Acts 5:27-32, Luke 9:21-26

Our readings for Sunday have something in common, as usual. Bravery. In Acts 5, the Sanhedrin questioned the apostles for continuing to teach in Jesus’ name. Additionally, Jesus’ followers were pointing to the Jewish leaders as the murderers of Christ. Peter and the apostles, courageous in the Spirit, replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” Can you imagine them standing taller, breathing deep, and looking the high priest in the eyes? “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead – whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.” Accusation and second truth thrown at the Sanhedrin. “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.” This was pure blasphemy according to the Jewish leaders and the utterance of this Truth placed the apostles in mortal danger. “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” Further, Peter brought in the ultimate witness, the Holy Spirit, to corroborate his testimony. In other words, the apostles spoke this shocking truth to the high priest – we have been given the Holy Spirit because we are obedient to God. The unspoken accusation for the high priest hangs in the air – Why hasn’t God given you the Holy Spirit? Why don’t you obey Him? Subsequently, with that last truth, the teachers of the law were enraged and ready to kill the apostles. I have never been challenged to be that brave when face-to-face with someone in power who wanted to kill me. Have you? How can we work with the Spirit towards faithful bravery? Reading and understanding God’s Word is spiritual exercise that makes our faith stronger and our minds wiser. Acts, for example, contains many accounts of God’s people being brave; read intently. God is telling some of us to be brave right now. May the Holy Spirit grant us bravery as we defend our faith and speak the truth of our Savior. May we stand tall in the full armor of God, strong and courageous, ready for Life. In Jesus’ powerful Name. Amen! ~Tracy