Formations 04.23.2023: The Power of Belief

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Acts 4:23-31

There is really no way to win an argument against someone’s faith. Atheists and agnostics and others have tried for centuries to discount the beliefs of those who follow Jesus. They refer to the Bible as a mere collection of morality tales, present the claims of science as proof that God doesn’t exist, and point to the multiplicity of religions to indicate the insignificance of them all.

But Christians have a bottom-line answer to these points: “All I know is that Jesus lives in me, and I believe in his love and saving power.”

Our lesson text begins with “After they were released…” (v. 23). After who was released from what? Peter and John, fervent missionaries for Christ, were released from arrest by “the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees” (see Acts 4:1). Why were these disciples arrested? Because they were proclaiming what they knew to be the truth about Jesus and his resurrection from death (v. 2). And why were they released? Simple: the religious and political authorities had no sustainable argument against these missionaries. What the disciples did and said was undeniable and undebatable. They healed people, shared the good news of Jesus’s saving acts, and told everyone what they believed in their hearts.

They were brave, too. The authorities forbade them to speak any further about Jesus, but the disciples did it anyway (vv. 18-19). And the Holy Spirit filled them and everyone else who heard and believed the good news of Jesus Christ (v. 31).

We can’t make people believe. But neither can anyone say something to make us not believe. As followers of Jesus Christ, we know in our hearts what is true, and we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to make us bold believers.


• Has anyone ever tried to argue you out of your faith? What were their points? How did you counter them?
• Consider the story in John 9 of a man who was healed of lifelong blindness. Jesus cured him on the Sabbath, drawing the anger of the Pharisees. When these religious leaders later questioned the healed man, wanting a thorough explanation of who healed him and how, he ultimately had one simple answer: “I do not know…. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (v. 25). How is his answer like our answer when people question our faith?
• Do you think someone could convince you that Jesus is not your Savior and Lord? If so, what would it take for that to happen?
• Is your faith strong enough for you to be certain of Christ’s salvation and love, no matter what other people say? If not, what can you do to cultivate a stronger belief?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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