8 “And I say to you, anyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God, 9 but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. 10 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 Whenever they bring you before synagogues and rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how you should defend yourselves or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.”
I recently sent one of our staff members a text asking if they had time for coffee. The response I received was interesting. “Why? Is something wrong?” What I meant as a simple request for coffee was interpreted as something was wrong and they might be in trouble. As their supervisor, I was reminded that a summons from someone with authority can induce stress and anxiety. Most of us can relate to this and can recall a time in our life when we experienced stress because we were called up to answer a hard question by someone with authority. Maybe it was your boss, your spouse, a police officer, a judge, or your parents. (Reflect on that moment. What was it like? How were you physically responding—did your blood pressure rise, were you sweating, did your mouth go dry, were you fidgeting with your hands? How were you responding emotionally—were you close to crying, were you mad, or did you shut down? How did you answer the hard questions posed to you—did you stutter, did you overelaborate, did you only give short answers? Sorry for asking you to relive that moment, but there’s a reason for it.)
One day, you are going to be asked a hard question about your faith. And it may come from someone who has authority over you. How you answer may affect your life, your employment, your relationship, or more. I imagine, in that type of situation, you’ll feel the pressure. Now, notice what Jesus says in verse 11: “You don’t have to worry about what to say. The Holy Spirit will teach you what you need to say.” Let’s acknowledge this is hard to believe. I want to worry. I want to be concerned. I want to be in control. But Jesus tells us not to worry. Instead, we become a student in that moment, and the Holy Spirit teaches us how to respond. He gives us the words to answer, the knowledge to share, and the wisdom how to share!
So, when we are in those high-pressure moments, let’s celebrate that God gives us what we need to acknowledge Him before people. Now check out verse 8. When we acknowledge Jesus before others, especially those who are questioning our faith, heaven celebrates! Jesus stands before the angels and tells them, “That person belongs to me!” I’m not sure about you, but that image gives me chills. The King of Kings stands before heaven and claims me!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How do you typically respond when you are in a high-pressure situation?
- Knowing the Holy Spirit will teach you how to respond when your faith is being questioned, does that inspire confidence in God or cause you concern that you’re not in control?
- Spend time now, before that situation arises, asking God to give you the right attitude in that moment and to be strong enough to acknowledge Jesus, even if the consequences may not be desirable.