By Benjamin H. Liles
Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this, I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should. ~ Ephesians 6:19-20, Holman Christian Standard
The disciples themselves, aside from Paul (who was educated as a Pharisee), almost all of them were fishermen. Peter, Andrew, John and James (the sons of Zebedee, see Mark 3:17), these were known to be fishermen. They weren't the most qualified to end up preachers of the gospel. But they knew their history as Israelites, not just as Jews. They knew the Messiah would come, so it was no surprise when Jesus came and told them to, "Come," that they all dropped their nets and followed Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah.
How do we know Jesus is the Messiah? There are numerous prophecies that indicate Jesus would fulfill them. In fact, two were given directly to Jesus' so-called parents. I'm not going out of my way to disrespect godly people. They both found favor with God. We read:
"Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in (walked into their home), the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom, there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:26-35, New King James).
Since I firmly believe there are godly messengers who give His word in a timely manner, I don't find it odd that the angel Gabriel told her this. The interesting part is what the angel tells her, around the 32nd verse: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David." Why does that specifically catch my eye? David when he wrote Psalm 2, penned the words, "I will declare the LORD's decree: He said to Me, 'You are My Son; today I have become Your Father'" (Psalm 2:7, New American Standard). It's prophetic in the sense that God would accomplish a great thing where David's house would remain intact. That's part of the reason you see genealogies in both Luke and Matthew showing Jesus' descent from David.
Likewise, Mary wasn't the only one who had a Heavenly visitation. Even Joseph, her husband had one as well. In this passage from Matthew we read --
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:18-21, New King James, bold and italics mine).
This is interesting as the verse that supports Matthew 1:21 is Jeremiah 23:6; we read here, "
In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our righteousness'" (New American Standard). This is how we see that prophecies from the Old Testament are fulfilled in the New Testament. Jesus is the fulfillment of God's words. But considering we're talking about being bold, being fearless in our witness of what we see God having done, it also suits to provide how the apostles knew of which they spoke of.
They weren't simply men who were either educated or uneducated, as the case may be. They had God's Spirit on them. It was by the Spirit of the Lord they were able to be this way: fearless, bold. It is through the Spirit we have an amazing witness we can give to others. We have this tremendous access so that when we have moments of discouragement, moments where we feel inadequate, we can rely on God's strength. It is further proof that God kept His promise that we can "Be strong and courageous; don't be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6, Holman Christian Standard). He is our just reward!
When we give up our lives so that God, the Father, and Jesus, His Son, is glorified, no matter what circumstance we are in - we can totally rely on Him and in His word. Our hearts may give on us. We have weak moments. It's as though the storms we go through can paralyze us with fear. But God says to us, in short, "Put your faith in me; I got this." We can be fearless, but it comes mainly from God, which we exercise in our faith. And we can have His authority in our lives, but in order to do so, we need to submit ourselves to Him. It means putting off those things that keep us held down, such as sin.
Father, You are ever more fearless than I will ever be. I thank and praise You for who You are. I know You as Adonai-Shammah, The Lord is Present, for You seem always near to me no matter where I am. I know You are holy, pure, and will always be undefiled. Help me to always remain in You, which means I am kept away from filth as well. You know me. I don't enjoy doing the wrong things, ever. Keep me in and with You. I know You will always be there so I will also do my best to remain close to you. In Jesus' name. I pray. Amen.