Do you remember when Peter was accosted by a young lady in the courtyard at the High Priest’s palace?

This was not long after he took a sword and tried to cut off a man’s head.

When this woman accused him of being a disciple of Christ, he lied and denied.

That was the epitome of cowardice.

And now, just a couple of month’s later, we see an entirely different kind of heart in this man.

It raises an interesting question:

Are there different kinds of courage, or is it merely that courage can come from different sources?

Oooh, look at the big fisherman, with the sword in his hand, standing beside his hero – Jesus.

Peter was a tough guy when he was carrying a big stick.

But surround him with people not quite so friendly, and take away his stick, he becomes a wimp.

And look at him locking the door to hide himself from the Jewish leadership.

But now look at him.

Isn’t there a kind of courage which is nothing but foolish impudence?

What makes a person high on drugs jump off buildings?

Is it courage?

No, it’s drugs.

Is there a kind of courage which is only brute force?

Aren’t there other forms of courage that are mental and spiritual.

In a prison camp there may be tough marines who have the courage to fight their guards.

And there are others who are smart enough not to raise their fists.

But at the same time they are strong enough to resist the mental torture applied against them.

I think that there are many different kinds of courage.

Let’s think about the courage of the Apostles and try to apply it to ourselves.

Consider its OCCASION.

First, they had courage to try the impossible at the command of the Almighty.

As I’ve said several times, I don’t know how the idea to heal the lame man came into Peter’s head.

I am sure that it came from the Lord, but whether there was miraculous revelation, or not, I can’t tell you.

But whether the Lord Jesus told the Apostles to find this specific man and give him his legs,

Or did He just whisper into Peter’s heart as he and John were walking through the Beautiful Gate?

I don’t know.

But then again it really doesn’t matter.

To reach down and help this man to his feet was a feat of great courage and faith.

Had the disciples been doing miracles like this before the crucifixion? Possibly.

Had they performed any notable miracles since the crucifixion? I’m not sure that they had.

No matter how you look at it, this took courage.

It took courage because it was something that was naturally impossible.

It took faith.

And I think that we can see that in some ways courage and faith blend together.

What was William Carey’s famous motto? “Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God.”

Has there ever been greater human courage than risk-all service for God?

Secondly, when the crowds gathered in wonder and amazement, Peter began to preach.

To pick up the Bible in order to address a crowd of Christian friends, is an awesome experience.

To preach to a crowd of Christians that we’ve never preached to before, can be highly nerve-wracking.

But to preach the truth of God to a crowd who are antagonistic to the truth, can be terrifying.

When Peter stood before this throng of people, probably numbering well over 10,000,

He may or may not have deliberately thought about his message.

This sermon is very similar to what he said in chapter 2 and what he will tell the Sanhedrin.

It makes me think that these were things that he had been mulling over in his mind,

But that they weren’t organized into a specific sermon.

What had he been thinking, and what did he tell them?

Peter told them the truth, some of the truth, but nothing but the truth.

He told them that they had murdered their Messiah.

He called them “murderers” more than once.

He called Christ Jesus, the Son of God as well as Jesus the Nazarene.

He told them that the Messiah had come to purchase redemption.

He told them that He had been buried, but that He had been raised from the dead.

And then he told them to repent and believe the good news of salvation.

Have you ever walked up to some really belligerent person and accused them of lying or cheating?

Wouldn’t you be just a little nervous?

Have you ever told someone that they were worse than a liar?

Have you ever accused someone of murderer?

This sort of accusation has gotten a lot of people murdered themselves.

Peter stood before several thousand murderers and told them that they were murderers.

He told them that they were ignorant, stupid murderers.

This took courage.

Peter and John also had courage to face the consequences of these accusations.

Judging from subsequent persecutions, I don’t believe that the disciples fought back or were crying and begging for mercy when they were arrested.

Their courage wasn’t the kind that came with a sword or big stick.

It was the courage of conviction, reasonably thought through and thoroughly accepted.

They were convinced that if their Saviour could suffer and win, they could suffer as well.

Peter had once said that he would be happy to go to prison or death for the Lord.

These men had courage to face the consequences of their earlier courage.

And by the way, were they the only ones arrested that day?

The scripture doesn’t say anything about the other Apostles, or any other members of the church.

But verse 14 says that the healed man was standing beside them at their trial the next morning.

That either means that he was summoned to appear or that he had been arrested as well.

Although I have no proof of this, I think that he had been arrested as well.

Another form courage for the Christian is to accept the responsibility for his actions.

Of course I’m not saying that this needs to be confined to the Christian.

Did Peter and John do anything wrong? No.

Were they guilty of any sin? No.

Were they guilty of a crime? Possibly.

The laws of man don’t always synchronize with the law of God.

It could have been illegal for someone un-ordained by the Sanhedrin to hold a public meeting like this.

But do you think that these disciples concerned themselves about this?

First, it was somewhat spontaneous.

Second, the Saviour had done the same sort of thing/

And third, what they were doing was for the true benefit of everyone involved.

And yet, if the laws of man said that this was punishable by death or imprisonment these two were ready.

They had a courage far greater than any governmental threat that might have been laid against them.

They had somehow acquired the courage of John the Baptist.

Do you know what Admiral David Farragut said at the Battle of Mobile Bay?

Well, you should, and it applies.

I think that there are important lessons in considering the CHARACTER of the Apostle’s COURAGE.

For example, it was courteous – courteous courage.

Peter gave the men of the court their appropriate titles.

“Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel.”

It’s possible to tell people the truth and still do it with respect.

Bravery doesn’t mean that we cease to be the people that we are.

The gentleman doesn’t cease to be a gentleman just because he has a dangerous mission to perform.

And boldness and courage don’t give us an excuse to become like the people we are facing.

In fact courage should make us more like our courageous Master.

Peter’s courage was also logical and prudent.

Peter points out that the miracle was “a good deed.”

It was the sort of thing that made Jerusalem a better place.

It took a man from the streets and brought him into the temple.

It shrunk the welfare rolls by at least one name.

It increased the alms giving power of the city.

Peter had heard the Lord Jesus when He used the same kind of logic:

“Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?”

The miracle was not the cause of the trouble.

And Peter used that fact to try to disarm the attack against him.

His courage was also to the point.

“You want to know by what name or authority this man has been made whole.

It’s without apology that I say, It was in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”

Notice that Peter used the same Name and Title here that he did when he spoke to the crippled man as he still lay on the pavement.

He might have couched his words a little and said only – “Jesus Christ,” or even “The Lord Jesus Christ.”

But he seemed to go out of his way to make sure that everyone understood that he was talking about the hated Nazarene.

Not only that, but he courageously told them once again that it was Jesus, whom they condemned.

Peter was faithful to his God-given responsibility and opportunity.

The Lord had arranged for him and his partner to stand in the center of Jewish power.

There were surrounding him some of the most intellectual, religious and in some cases some of the best men in the nation.

If these men could be won to the truth, then theoretically, the whole city could be turned around.

Peter knew that he may never have this opportunity again, so he gave them all that he had.

“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

From where did this courage come? What was its SOURCE?

What was the secret?

The Bible clearly says that Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost v. 8.

This is the great difference between Peter before Pentecost and after.

This is how he quickly grew a backbone.

The power and courage were not his own.

In Gethsemane Peter could impetuously swing a borrowed sword.

It took but a moment and required little thought or skill.

In fact it didn’t have any of either thought or skill.

And if he had, things might have been very different.

All that he had at the moment was courage.

His courage before the Sanhedrin was more deliberate, controlled and effective.

This was the courage of God Himself.

This is courage that will not be mis-spent, or given without good reason.

This courage is linked to the Word of God, and so it doesn’t return unto the Lord void.

This was not Peter; it was the Holy Spirit.

And what was the EFFECT of this display of courage?

These august leaders were filled with surprise – they marvelled.

They expected to use their position and power to bring these two fishermen to their knees.

They had, in the past, made grown men cry.

And they may have had to compete with the Romans, but they still condemned men to death.

But in this case, the Holy-Spirit-inspired courage of John and Peter made the Sanhedrin sit in awe.

And then they recognized and acknowledged that these men had drawn from a special pool of strength and courage – the Lord Jesus.

This was the sort of behavior they had seen in Christ Himself on a great many occasions.

They had killed the Shepherd, but now the sheep were becoming shepherds.

And as a result, they were so dumbfounded that they could hardly speak.

Very quickly Peter and John went right back to the work of evangelizing.

Isn’t this kind of courage one of the things that we are so lacking in these last days?

Isn’t this a part of the Laodicean problem?

Isn’t this a part of our problem?

It’s not a lack of knowledge, or even boldness.

It’s a lack of the power of the Holy Spirit which hurts us so badly.