When I was in about the sixth grade my mother and I attended the trial of a man charged with armed robbery. We had been told by a friend that this particular case would be interesting because the defendant had chosen to represent himself in the proceedings. The man was eventually found guilty, supporting the adage that anyone who acts as his or her own lawyer has a fool for a client.
Our reading from Acts this morning describes the events that take place when Peter and John are brought before the elders and priests of Israel. The disciples are there to explain what they have been saying and doing in the temple. The writer of Acts tells us that Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and began to address the gathered leaders (Acts 4:8). It might have appeared that Peter was representing the disciples himself, but in fact he was being guided by God’s Spirit in what he said. Jesus alludes to such in our reading from John’s gospel today. “…It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). The early church did receive the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, and it was by this presence that Peter was emboldened and enabled to speak. In other words, Peter had the best council in the room.
We, too, should allow for God to work in and through us. When we are faced with a challenge to our faith, or questioned about what we believe, or overwhelmed by doubt and fear the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, is with us providing us guidance and council. We need not depend on ourselves or on what we can prove because we, too, will have the best council possible.
Prayer: Lord, may your Holy Spirit guide us throughout our lives that we may live as your people without fear or hesitation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.