After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:
‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
and the rulers have gathered together
against the Lord and against his Messiah.’
For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Jesus’ disciples saw that his death did not destroy their hopes for the Kingdom of God, but rather fulfilled them. Knowing that the very people who thought they were in power and control, the government and the religious leaders, were actually doing God’s Will without knowing it, gave the disciples a new direction of holy boldness. Death was nothing to fear. God was in control of their lives. Even if they died, they believed God would work it to good.
When we think of the physical world and how, with our senses, we spend the majority of our time considering only the things we experience, there is a danger in not acknowledging the Creator. A mindset that says, this planet is here by chance, there is no intelligent design or higher purpose, or that God is there but disinterested, leads us to believe that we are our own masters and that we are in control. With our minds and hearts centered on earthly survival, corporal comforts and pleasures, or power, even the good we do can be with a design toward self-interest. But when we take a moment to respect our own clumsiness and relative impotence in the face of the marvels of creation: the human body, animals, beauty of the ocean and land, solar system and universe, and all that has been given us, we have a sense of awe about the monumental power of God who designed and created it all. We begin to realize how very generous God is and how deep his love. It is with worship and thanksgiving that we begin to understand the goodness and intelligence of God and with knowledge of the power of His Holy Spirit that we can trust and surrender our lives to Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gift of Your Holy Spirit and I ask that as you gave boldness to your disciples, may I too be empowered with holy boldness to do your Will and walk confidently with your guiding hand. Amen