Being with Jesus changes us (2)
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
(This is a continuation of a previous post.)
The change that occurs when we are with Jesus is not determined or limited by our background or our past.
“[they] perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men…”
Peter and John were preaching Jesus to the most educated, religiously-trained group of men in Israel. And as these religious leaders witnessed the boldness of Peter and John, they were keenly aware that these men lacked the formal, elite education and training that the scribes and Pharisees possessed. It is this group of men, highly educated and highly trained for positions of religious leadership and public life, that was “amazed” by Peter and John, and “marveled” at their boldness.
These leaders of Israel had everything that Peter and John did not have in terms of education, training, and pedigree, yet they lacked Peter and John’s boldness and effectiveness. How could this be?
Peter and John were common men, fishermen by trade. When Jesus called them to follow Him, He didn’t find them at the university or the seminary, preparing for a life of public service and leadership. He found them at work. He literally called them out of their boats to follow Him.
“they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”
They “realized” – this language is not nearly forceful enough. They were amazed (HCSB), astounded (AMP), astonished (ESV), staggered (Phillips), when they realized these men had been with Jesus!
The explanation for the boldness of Peter and John in spite of their lack of education and training was that they had been with Jesus. The reason they were effective witnesses for Christ was because of the time they had spent with Jesus – learning from Him how to pray, how to minister, how to love. And through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, they continued to be with Jesus.
This is the lesson and the hope for us. Peter and John were able to speak with such authority because they had been with Jesus. This was the source of their power and effectiveness. It is the source of our power and effectiveness as well.
What is the desire of your heart as a follower of Christ? Do you hope to teach others, to lead worship, to encourage the downcast or heal the brokenhearted? No matter what it is God has placed in your heart to do, the one thing above all others that will prepare and empower you for service is the time you spend with Jesus.
So be with Jesus today. Spend time thanking Him for His goodness and adoring Him. Bring your needs and cares to Him. Spend some time in silence with Him. Meditate on a passage of the Bible with Him.
Keep it simple and easy. Don’t let it become hard – you’re with your best friend!
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