“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-10
Jesus said in Matthew 24:19: “”Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” Those words ring as clearly as ever as Christians are being persecuted and some put to death in many parts of the modern world. We regularly pray for those in prison for being followers of Christ. It takes real courage to follow Jesus in some areas of the world because there are real consequences for doing so.
In Acts 3 and 4, we read about Peter and John, going up to pray in the Temple, and on their way in, they meet a crippled man begging for some money. Instead of giving them a handout, Peter and John pray in the name of Jesus for this man, and he is healed. Instantly healed. He is really excited as you can imagine he would be. Peter and John proceed into the temple. They get up on a platform and they begin to speak. The religious leaders listening to them are not happy to say the least. So they arrest them. Then the next day they basically tell them the following: OK, you two, we really don’t like what you did. But there is nothing much we can do about it because it was miracle and the crowd gets that fact. So here is what we propose: We’ll let you go, but you cannot, you must not preach in that name. Just don’t talk about the name of Jesus.
Even today, we can talk about God, we can talk about Lord, but when you mention Jesus, people tend to get nervous and defensive. There is something about that name. So Peter and John are thrown into prison and are ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus, yet they go back and continue to meet with other believers. Sounds like courage to me. But you know what they do when they go back? They pray for more boldness. They pray for more courage.
There is a courage that is built in us when we know Jesus, and tap into the power in His name. Buying a zoo is certainly courageous on many fronts. But all of us have done something courageous in our lives. Maybe dating is courageous for some of us. Maybe immigrating to our country was a courageous move. Or getting married. Or having children. Or making the decision to attend a small group and then to lead one. It takes courage to live life. To live your dream takes courage. Whatever your cause and purpose in life might be, continue to trust in Jesus and pray boldly in His name. He is faithful to help us become courageous.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
- What does the name of Jesus mean to you?
- Is there something keeping you from being bold or courageous?
- Talk about a time when you benefited from someone else’s boldness. When did someone give time or money so you could know more about having a relationship with Jesus? How did that boldness affect you?
- Is there an example of where people benefitted from your boldness?
- Pray and ask God to help you to be bolder and more courageous. Help us to sense your presence and know that you are always with us. We thank you because there is power in the name of Jesus.