Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from September 26-October 2 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston. David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace, who is a teacher.
Devotional Thought for Today
John 18:15-18, 25-27
Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself… Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
What do we do when our God seems silent? Simon Peter was certainly a bold man when Jesus was walking on water and casting out demons. In fact, moments before this passage, Peter was the one who whipped out his sword, prepared to take on a squadron of soldiers. But seeing His captured Lord—the Son of God—remain silent, submissive, and seemingly powerless, like a lamb about to be slain… we find Peter without an ounce of boldness.
If we’re honest, Peter’s dilemma is nothing new to us. When we experience the power of our God, it is easy to be bold for Him. At retreats, on the mission field, at Sunday service, we have no problem standing up for our Lord. But would you agree that it becomes exponentially harder to muster up that boldness when we are not surrounded by visible evidences of God’s power? In our workplaces, in our classrooms, or maybe among our families/friends, when we can’t quite understand what God is doing, and why He seems to be so silent, it’s hard to be bold. Of course in hindsight, we know that in the midst of Jesus’ silence that God was executing His most powerful work yet. But when we are in the midst of the silence of God, we can all imagine being in Peter’s shoes.
But there is a critical difference between Simon Peter in this passage, and those of us following Christ today. We have a huge advantage over Peter because we have something (or someone, rather) that Peter at that point had yet to receive: the Holy Spirit! In fact, the story of Peter does not end here. Later, in the book of Acts, Peter becomes an even bolder man than he was before, when he receives the Holy Spirit.
What do we do when our God seems silent? We ask the Holy Spirit to give us the strength and boldness to stand firm. Today, will you ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with boldness, even if God seems to be silent at the moment?
Holy Spirit, we ask for greater faith—a faith that believes before seeing with our eyes; a faith that knows that You are doing a powerful work, even in what may seem like silence to us. Amen.
Lunch Break Study
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 Anointed’—
for truly in this city 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.
Questions to Consider:
- What kinds of struggles did the early Christians face?
- In the midst of the threats, what do the believers pray for?
- What happens after they pray?
- Peter and John had just been arrested for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, that He had died and risen. Both the Bible and historical accounts affirm that the early Christians faced societal persecution: Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, Jews, and essentially the whole city was antagonistic towards the followers of Jesus and towards the gospel.
- First, they worship God and acknowledge His sovereignty. Then, they ask for boldness to continue speaking God’s Word. Finally, they ask for God to continue healing, doing signs and wonders through the name of Jesus.
- The place is shaken, and they are all filled with the Holy Spirit; then they continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Our society today is generally becoming increasingly hostile towards Christians. In the midst of this, let us continually ask for the boldness to speak God’s Word as He moves in power.
Spend some time this evening praying for the person in your life who you think is the least likely to come to know the Lord. Remind yourself that he/she is created in the image of God, and ask God to soften this person’s heart to the work of the Spirit.