June 24, 2019
Acts 4:5-12 (in context)
The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed,then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Here we have a classic confrontation. The powers vs. The Power.
If ever the Apostles were given a softball, this was it.
“By what power or what name did you do this?”
And let’s just say Peter went yard on them. (i.e. swung for the bleachers; home run; touchdown; or in good World Cup form—Scooooooooore!) Go back and read his response—all of it.
But note the key language here: “Then, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit . . .”
Do you know what it is like to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
So how do you know? People will fight over this until Jesus comes back. Stay out of those fights. It’s not about some particular prescribed phenomena happening. (I’ll get nasty emails about that last sentence) The sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit is holy love. Divine love. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to live in the supernatural (yet ordinary) convergence of love for God, love for self, and love for others. Peter’s act here was a profound move of divine love. He is preaching the gospel to his enemies. There were many possible alternative responses. But he was constrained by love. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be constrained and compelled by holy loove. Don’t err on the side of waiting to be filled. Err on the side of going for it as though you were filled. That’s faith.
I’m going to go granular on you here. First, remember Jesus’ words to his disciples: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Now, go into the nearest restroom. Close the door. Pray aloud (or whisper) the following prayer with all you have: “Father, please fill me with the Holy Spirit.” Arise and go for it!
Here’s the shorthand for the above prayer and it’s one to pray anywhere and everywhere at all times and in all circumstances:
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
Have you ever decisively asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit? How often do you do this? Why or why not?
For the Awakening,