While Jesus was on earth, He promised that when the disciples were arrested and brought before the authorities to testify, the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say. They would not need to worry about “what to say or how to say it.”
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. – Matthew 10:16-20
After the ascension of Jesus and the day of Pentecost when the disciples received the Spirit, they were arrested by the ruling authorities in Jerusalem.
“The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is
“’the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” – Acts 4:1-13
Just as Jesus promised, they were “filled by the Holy Spirit” and given the words to say to both those that had them arrested as well as anyone else within earshot. The manner in which they spoke “astonished” those that arrested them, especially since their background did not match the power of their speaking.
The same Holy Spirit that enabled Peter and John to stand before the Sanhedrin with courage and boldness and declare the Gospel in spite of having spent the previous night in jail, is the same Spirit within us.
Faced with a similar situation, many of us would worry about what we were going to say and play the situation through in our heads and try to figure it out as best we could. Jesus specifically says there is no need to worry because the words will come from the Holy Spirit.
That the message is far greater than the messenger points towards the glory of God as well as the truth of Christ whose Gospel empowers such normal people as Peter and John with such spectacular speaking and healing ability. That we are simply “jars of clay” given power through the Holy Spirit reinforces the truth of the message and gives glory to the one whom it is due.
If He will give us the words to say in such dire situations, how much more will He gives us the words to say in the smaller challenges of life? As we walk with the Lord and rely on His power and wisdom, He will speak through us for HIs purpose and glory.