The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” NRSV
Peter is found here making a public faith witness, some would say preaching or might say giving a testimony. I suggest that he is seizing the floor and turning the tables on his audience to share his faith in Jesus Christ.
In the 23rd psalm we are familiar of the two images of Gods grace, first is the good shepherd and second is the banquet of excess in the presence of ones enemies. This is the setting in which Peter is speaking.
Recall, it is the same high priest that called for Jesus to be turned over and crucified… Peter who had be hesitant and denying is now bold in the Holy Spirit.
We have young girls and boys that have come to make a public and bold statement that it is Jesus Christ that lives in them and this day forward they are living boldly for Jesus Christ.
For some it is a curious ritual, confirmation, but it is a witness of God’s love at work.
It is the beginning of a journey of faith. Our accepting the life and help Christ offers.
It does not mean we are ready to move mountains.
Think about Peter:
Gets to see transfiguration but misses the point of being in the moment and spiritual confirmation.
Peter walks on the water but sinks when we looks at the storm I stead of Jesus.
Peter go who tells Jesus what he should be doing and Jesus call Peter Satan himself
And Peter who denies Jesus three times Ana is hiding after the resurrection…
And now, Peter, in the face of bodily harm or even death proclaims with boldness. There is a vast period of trial and maturity for him.
Those who profess ‘Jesus is Lord!” for the first time here today have not been tested in the ways that are coming.
They will face fears, disappoints, jealousy, temptations, and endure spiritual failures.
Yet Peter’s boldness in the Holy Spirit is a witness of the maturity that will come.
In 1974 I confirmed the baptism that my parents started in 1964. And a rather uneventful Sunday I too stood at the alter rail with my class hoping I would hear the voice of God would speak to my heart, if not to the whole lot of us. But other than hymns and rituals it was a silent worship time.
Just last year at the Jordan river I prayed that God might have a word or two speak with boldness.. Near the ancient source. But it too was a silent experience, until I was about to get back on the bus, and with the clarity that I now speak to you, I heard these words, “I have not forgotten you, I am yours and you are mine,”
Within moments of this divine moment the bus pulled away on a schedule that did not allow me to linger and cherish the moment. It would be words of assurance that empower other days that have followed and will follow..
Not in my time but in the time I need Gods boldness.
Here is a faith statement from one of our confirmands:
To me, being a Christian means to love Jesus Christ with all of your heart and be as Christian like as possible at all times, and never be afraid to spread his word. I also think that you should take time during the day and have an alone time with God. Most of my alone times with are God are in the mornings and evenings, before I eat, and sometimes when I just feel I need to pray. Being a Christian also means participating in church activities like mission trips, fundraisers, church services, etc. Lastly, I think being a Christian means that you should accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and that he died for you and everybody else, and that what I think it means to be a Christian.
They share this anonymously today but the days are coming when boldness will shine.
The question that Peter models for us, is will we be bold when we need to be?
Twitter has been the bold voice at General Conference from my overhearing.
When will you stand up for Christ… Is it when you are comfortable and ready or when God is asking to speak through you? Be bold. Be bold. Don’t be right, be bold! Be in the spirit and be bold, today!