In spite of all they had seen and heard—both from Our Lord himself and now from his disciples—the elders of Israel still resisted the Gospel. They treated Peter and John with contempt simply because they had no special training or professional status. They didn’t have any political clout or social standing. They were just a couple of peasant fishermen from Galilee. How could they presume to speak and act for God?
That’s the whole point. God chose the lowly and the powerless to capture the attention of the proud and the mighty. And yet despite the undeniable fact that a crippled man had been healed in Our Lord’s name, the elders still wanted to silence the apostles.
In the face of the elders’ threats, Peter and John became even bolder. Their courage wasn’t an act of rebellion but a response of faith and obedience to God. Peter, who had previously denied Our Lord out of fear, now proclaimed Him with no regard for the consequences. Such boldness didn’t come from his own resources but from the work of the Holy Spirit within him. At Pentecost, when God poured out his Spirit, Peter knew beyond any doubt that Jesus was worth risking his life for. No threat or persecution could keep him silent or dampen his confidence.
We too can be confident in the power of God’s love and grace at work in our lives. Our Lord wants to give us his Spirit to help us grow in faith and to bear fruit in serving him. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux described perfectly God’s way of manifesting his power: “Jesus needs no one to do his work. But He uses the weakest instruments to work wonders.” Is it surprising, then, that Our Lord would choose humble fishermen to be his apostles? Is it surprising that he would continue to work in the same way today? God loves calling humble, broken vessels like us into his service. By the power of his Spirit, he wants to make each of us into his ambassadors of hope and love to a world in desperate need of redemption.