Those who were headed for the Upper Room loved Jesus dearly. They were compassionate, self-sacrificing, soul-loving. But they were not yet qualified to be His witnesses. It takes more than a love for Jesus and a compassion for souls to qualify you as His witness.
They had been taught in the school of Christ. They had healed the sick, cast out demons, and performed miracles. They had seen Jesus clothed in His eternal glory on the Mount.
They had been nearby when He sweat drops of blood as He prayed and then they had seen Him hanging on the cross. They had seen Him resurrected, viewed the empty tomb, eaten with Him, and talked with Him in His glorified body. They had even seen Him ascend into heaven! Yet they still were not ready to witness of Him.
Why couldn’t Peter go to those milling crowds in Jerusalem and immediately testify to His resurrection? Hadn’t he witnessed that event firsthand? It seems he could have preached, “Jesus is alive! He ascended into heaven! Repent!”
Peter makes a powerful statement to the chief priests: “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:32).
Through the words of the Holy Spirit speaking through Peter, the priests “were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them” (Acts 5:33). The Holy Spirit also had spoken through Peter on the day of Pentecost, and all who heard “were pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37).
Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, preached to the religious leaders: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye. . . . When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth” (Acts 7:51, 54).
When you emerge from seeking God, full of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to stand with boldness before fellow workers, family, anyone, and your witness will provoke one of two reactions. They will either cry out, “What must I do to be saved?” or they will want to kill you! You will speak a word that cuts to the heart. The difference is found in the power of the Holy Spirit.