“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31 NIV).
p = m(v)
Do you remember this mathmatical equation describing momentum? It states that momentum (p) is equal to mass (m) multiplied times velocity (v). Mass is the amount of matter in a body. We sometimes describe it as weight. Velocity is the rate of change of position in both speed and direction.
In the first century, a small (little mass), relatively insignificant group of people (low velocity), began meeting together and going out into their community to preach the good news that Jesus had conquered death and people’s sins would no longer be counted against those who trusted in Him. When Peter and John healed a crippled man in the name of Jesus and began to teach in the Jewish Temple, the Sanhedrin put them in prison. Upon release, they warned them not to preach anymore in that “name.”
They said, “We need to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name” (Acts 4:17 NIV).
Their warning should have worked. It should have stopped this fledgling movement in its tracks. They were the larger authority. They had not only the “weight” of local law on their side, they had the “weight” and “velocity” of Rome.
But when Peter and John returned to their little community of faith, they began to pray. As they prayed together with the other believers, they became unified in the Spirit (a unified direction) and velocity within that house began to grow. Rather than shrinking from the size of the threats from Rome and the Sanhedrin, they asked God to “consider their threats” and to “stretch forth” his hand to move in the name of Jesus.
God answered their prayer. He moved. The greater weight of the living God moved into that small community of believers and the house where they were meeting was “shaken.” Like a tremor that moves through a train when the locomotive first begins to engage its mighty engine, so the Spirit of God shook the people of that house of faith and put into motion a spiritual movement that turned Rome and the world upside down.
The Spirit of God is still moving today. Regardless of the size of the problem that we may face as individuals or in our communities, our God is greater. The spiritual momentum that Jesus started 2,000 years ago is still growing and moving in our world today. He can overcome the spiritual inertia of our generation.
I’m asking God to shake us up afresh today. “Lord, stretch forth Your hand.”