"When [Peter and John] were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, 'Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, "Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Messiah"—for truly in this city [Jerusalem] there were gathered together against your holy Servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue 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.' And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness." - Acts 4:23-31
Peter, John, and their friends understood history and God's sovereignty over it. One thousand years before Jesus was killed, David had predicted God's Messiah would be rejected. When Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and Israel gathered against Jesus, they were unknowingly carrying out God's plan. The hostility of the world towards God's Messiah was not a surprise or accident.
There are three servants of God here. David is God's servant (v. 25), Jesus is God's Servant (vv. 27, 30), and the believers are God's servants (v. 29). Jesus became a Servant in order to make us servants.
The filling of the Holy Spirit was necessary for these early Christians to speak the word of God with boldness (v. 31). They were going against the grain of their culture, their religion, and their government in proclaiming Jesus. They definitely needed supernatural strengthening.
Father, grant your servants today to speak your word with all boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal, and may signs and wonders be performed through your holy Servant Jesus. Fill us with the Holy Spirit today. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman