Wednesday, 2 February 2022
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31
With the prayer of the previous verses complete, we receive a description of what next occurred. Luke begins with, “And when they had prayed.” The idea behind these words is that of a connection to whatever follows. There was the prayer by this group, and then there was an event that resulted from the prayer. The two are tied together. As such, it is an acknowledgment that the prayer has been accepted. This is seen in the next words, saying, “the place where they were assembled together was shaken.”
The Greek word, translated as shaken, comes from the word salos. That is used just one time, but its use may give a sense of what it was like in the place where they were –
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25
There may have been a rush of wind into their quarters that caused everything inside to fly about, or a mild earthquake may have hit the area at that exact moment. Whatever occurred, such an event was taken by them as a clear indication that the Lord was behind it. The presence of such trembling in conjunction with the coming of the Lord is seen elsewhere –
“The earth shook;
The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God;
Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” Psalm 68:8
With that understood, Luke next says, “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” The verb is passive. The prayer and praise to God allowed them to be opened up and filled. Just as wine cups are simply ready to receive a filling, this group had been prepared for the filling which then came upon them. As they were all believers, and because they had already received the Spirit, the meaning here is that of confidence, encouragement, and a renewal of determination to act boldly on behalf of the Lord and His gospel message.
That is clearly seen and understood as Luke next records, “and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” This is the result of the filling of the Spirit. It brings about a sense of joy, determination, renewed anticipation of what God has in store for His people, and so on. These believers understood from the shaking they experienced that the Lord had fully approved of the events that took place, that the threats to Peter and John were worth the cost, and that continuing on as they had been was the right thing to do.
Life application: Such passages in Acts are given as a descriptive account of what occurred during the early establishment of the church. They are not to be considered normative for all of the church age, nor do they prescribe anything at all.
If we keep reminding ourselves of this, we will find our own walk with the Lord much more grounded. These early believers did not have the New Testament writings, and so the Lord worked in a manner that should no longer be expected. When we read the Bible, we should be shaken in our souls at the majesty of what is recorded there. We have no need for outward displays of the Lord’s power to confirm we are on the right path.
The word itself reveals the power of God. Let us hold fast to this word, cherish this word, and be pleased in our hearts and souls that we have so much more than what the early believers had. We have the word of God! Let us rejoice in this.
Lord God, thank you for Your precious and sacred word. Amen.