Scripture:Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family, “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 lame 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.” (Acts 4:8-12)
Reflection: The Peter who denies knowing Jesus to his face in Luke (22:54-62) suddenly bears witness to the cure of the lame man in the Acts of the Apostles. Both Luke and the Acts are written by the same author, who, if there was not some historical background to Peter’s denial would have, undoubtedly, removed that scene from the gospel in order to add more credibility to this one of his two major characters in the Acts (Paul is the other). Peter’s ability to bear witness comes from the Holy Spirit, who empowers those who follow Jesus to witness to his resurrection. Standing before the power structure of the leadership of the Jews, Peter declares that the very person they thought couldn’t be God’s messenger is the savior of the world.
The more than forty-year-old man, who had been lame from birth has been restored physically, socially, and spiritually through the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, pronounced by Peter. His inability to walk has been removed. He has been able to assume a place in society now that his lameness is removed. And by faith in the name of Jesus he has received spiritual well-being. Thus, the once lame man is also a witness. Peter states, “the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all.”
The Greek word, “martyr,” translated into English becomes “witness.” It refers to a person who is willing to sacrifice everything – even life – to attest to truth. The fearful Peter becomes the fearless Peter through the Holy Spirit. The outcast lame man becomes the restored man through the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In both cases, the work of God is being done. A spirituality of mission must include witnessing, even in the face of death. A fearless witness attests to a truth and stands back and watches as God works. In Peter’s case, the rulers and elders could do nothing to him, who continued to speak about what he had seen and heard.
Journal/Meditation: When have you been a fearless witness to truth?
Prayer: God of Peter, after you raised your Son from the dead, you gave your Holy Spirit to his disciples to enable them to proclaim in his name the healing you poured upon the world. Fill me with that same Holy Spirit so that I may be a fearless witness to your truth. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.