Acts 4:31 – At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness.
You ever wonder about what happened after the death of Christ that caused the disciples to become so bold that they would defy death? Actually you could say there were two things that changed everything. First, apparently five hundred people were eyewitnesses of the resurrection. These followers saw Jesus for themselves after He had been publicly crucified. There lives could never be the same after that. But that wasn’t everything, what explained their bold speech even when facing death? This passage today gives us insight into what was going on. It says that these followers were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were supernaturally empowered to bare witness to the testimony of Jesus. There would be no turning back from these events; Christ was alive and they were commissioned to tell everyone the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are some thoughts from the Passion Notes on this passage.
“The Greek word is parresia. This involves more than confidence; it was a free-flowing, unrestrained boldness. It can also mean “freedom of speech.” Parresia carries nuances that are not easily brought over into English. The person who speaks with parresia will say everything that is on his mind with no restraint, flowing out of his heart with confidence. It involves being frank and honest, hiding nothing and speaking directly to the heart. Most often it is a word used for public speaking. It refers to speech that is not tailored to make everyone happy but to speak the truth, in spite of what that may cost. It is the courage to speak truth into the ears of others…. parresia refers to an unrestrained boldness.”
That’s it; outspoken boldness. This explained the obvious change in Peter and the rest of the apostles. There was no turning back. They had the message and now the power to change their world. How does this relate to us today? We too face opposition when we begin to share the claims of Christ. The only way we can hold up against the opposition of the world is to be filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us words to speak when we open our mouths and share the beauty of the gospel. We too can be filled with unrestrained boldness.