What Happened Next #5 Acts 4:1-22 Holy Boldness
“What Do I Do If I'm Afraid of Getting It Wrong?”
The Spirit was promised – and the promise was delivered at Pentecost. The promise is still true for us who are “far off” in time and place. Now we have to live in that power – we are not powerless.
But we are a bit scared.
I used to sit on my Mum's Mobylette Moped in the garage and pretend to be at the TT races. I even put on the helmet and goggles! Brrrm Brrrm! Then I discovered the key! By turning the little key and pedaling Broom! The engine started! Wow! 49 cubic centimetres of power! But I kept it safely on the stand – you can't be too careful.... Danger! Excitement! Speed!Of course the only real dangers were a) My mum would find out. b) It would slip off the stand and crash into to garage wall. c) (and I didn't know about this though its the only real danger) I would asphyxiate myself with Carbon Monoxide. I wasn't worried about that - but I should have been!
The Sanhedrin tried to scare Peter into staying in the garage with the moped on its stand. “Make all the noise you like” they sort of said “But don't take it out on the streets. Otherwise you'll be in trouble if we find out.” They were afraid of the power. It wasn't just the teaching about Jesus -I'm sure they could have coped with that as a theological debate. After all they had all sorts of disagreements between Pharisee and Sadducee about Resurrection. But the problem was this demonstration of power – the healed crippled man who annoyingly kept bounding up and down “walking and leaping and praising God” they had “nothing to say in opposition” v14 to that.
They'd have preferred the “moped on its stand in the garage saying brmm brmm” model.
They could just about live with the “engine running behind closed doors in fear” model.
But they didn't want the moped out on the streets.
Today a moped.
Tomorrow a Tiger Cub
Next it will be a Mini, an Estate Car, an MGB!
Of course the Council wanted to restrict what the newborn church would do with this Holy Spirit Power. If they could be kept just talking about it then they would get bored, disagree with one another, disperse, fragment and make no impact on the world. Brmm Brmm.
Is it just words with us?
And if they tried to practice behind closed doors, a secret mystery sect with arcane mysteries kept for the committed and advanced recipients of gnosis only – they would eventually choke themselves to death and disappear.
Do we want to keep it private and personal?
But once they hit the streets everyone will notice.
And that's a whole new world of fears to wrestle with. What if I fall off? What if everyone laughs at me? What if I break down or run out of fuel? What if someone crashes into me? What about pot holes? How much is the insurance – how much! I'll have to learn the Highway Code, pass a test. And then someone will want a lift. But once you have the bug – you can't NOT ride it, can you? Peter says “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” v20.
Are some of these your fears?
Well Ok they are some of mine too.
Its sensible to be scared on a moped.
But it mustn't stop you from setting off, keeping going, learning and growing.
And in Faith all of those things have happened – falling, scorn, attacks, tragedies, expense, learning, testing, demands – but once you have the bug – the power of the Holy Spirit in you – you cannot stop.
If you are afraid of getting it wrong. Don't worry. You will. But that's OK. God likes mistakes.
You'll get used to it! Start pedaling.