The more someone is with Jesus, the more that person becomes like Christ, in purity, holiness and love. In turn, his pure walk produces in him a great boldness for God. Scripture says, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). The word for bold in this verse means “secure, confident.” That’s just the kind of boldness the synagogue rulers saw in Peter and John as they ministered (see Acts 4:1–2).
In the previous chapter (Acts 3), Peter and John prayed for a crippled beggar and he was instantly healed. The healing caused a great stir around the temple, and in an attempt to stop the disciples from sharing their faith in Christ, the religious leaders had them arrested and put on a public trial.
Peter and John met with the synagogue rulers but the Bible doesn’t go into much detail about this scene in Acts 4. Yet I can assure you, the religious leaders orchestrated it to be all pomp and ceremony. First, the dignitaries solemnly took their velvety seats. Then the high priests’ relatives followed. Finally, in a moment of hushed anticipation, the robed high priests strutted in. Everyone bowed as the priests passed by, walking stiffly up the aisle toward the seat of judgment.
All of this was meant to intimidate Peter and John. But the disciples were not intimidated at all. They’d been with Jesus for too long. I imagine Peter thinking, “Come on, let’s get this meeting started. Just give me the pulpit and turn me loose. I’ve got a word from God for this gathering. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to preach your name to these Christ-haters.” Acts 4:8 begins with: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost…” and this tells me he wasn’t going to deliver a lecture. It wasn’t going to be quiet or reserved. Peter was a Jesus-possessed man, bursting with the Holy Ghost.
God’s servants are secure in their identity in Christ. And they stand confident in Jesus’ righteousness. Therefore, they have nothing to hide; they can stand before anyone with a clear conscience.