When they (rulers, elders, teachers of the law, Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander and other men of the high priest’s family) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 NIV
Do you see the list of men who were witnessing the transformation of Peter and John? These men, were possibly same ones that followed Jesus around, questioned Him and harassed Him and His disciples. They may have been the ones who set out plotting to kill Jesus early on in His earthly ministry. They didn’t like the change that was happening to their society and way of life and they had hard hearts to the things that God was doing - a new work.
But, here, Peter and John have been filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) and they are speaking in POWER. It is evident to all. And it is noticed. By very important Jerusalem leaders. In Acts 4:12 we read:
Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under
heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Preach it Peter!
These rulers had seen so much – miracles, teachings, and a rag-tag group of fishermen and others, come together to become Jesus’s closest friends. They had witnessed Jesus’s willingness to go to the Cross. They had yelled, “Crucify Him!” They witnessed the sky go black. Probably saw the torn veil in the Temple. Felt the earth shake. And now Peter, John and others who are filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.
I would say that they have seen enough in their lifetime to make an accurate statement: these men had been with Jesus.
Can this be said of you? Of me?
Is there enough evidence to convict me of my association with Jesus? I’ll just talk about myself now and will probably have to leave the witness stand to fall on my face before Jesus in reverent fear.
Am I an imitator of Christ? Do I follow after Him like a sheep does a Shepherd? Do I consider my life worth nothing? Am I pleased to suffer for Him and not complain when the pain is awful? Ouch. Do I turn my other cheek? Go the second mile? Love my enemies? Pray and bless them too? Do I run to the Father every moment of my day and hang out with Him? Do I spend time meditating on His Word and on Him? Am I still so I can know Him? Do I share Him with others?
Do I join in the parade of God’s kingdom work or am I a spectator in the stands along the street looking for souvenirs and popcorn? Am I investing in other’s lives? Do I give and not hold back? Do I have compassion? Do I put others first? Do I love God with ALL my heart, soul, mind and strength?
Well, do I?
Since honesty is the best policy, I would have to say that I do not actually measure up. Because in my heart I am harboring bitter thoughts about those who wrong me, I am quick to judge, I get upset too quickly and often, I worry, I am impatient. I do not always run to the Father at first.
Would someone be able to say that I have been with Jesus?
This is all very convicting. And pretty much impossible. And it gets more difficult when one is in a season of affliction and suffering. Pain exacerbates emotions. Everything filters through my feet. I mean everything. It’s as if thoughts and emotions come in, head south, wrap in and through the feet before they make their way to my brain and then out. Detours abound, missteps happen and mistakes are inevitable.
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but rather a sinner saved by grace, I believe the apostles felt the very same way. Peter. You know the guy. He rebuked Jesus. He denied Him. He left Him. He, along with the others, fell asleep when Jesus was in His darkest hour. Not their finest moment. They questioned Him too – challenged Him with who is the better brother. Yes, these men would understand our plight because they too lived it.
And, yet they caused the rulers of Jerusalem to look in astonishment. What happened?
The promised Holy Spirit.
Jesus promised in John 14:16 that He would give another Counselor to be with them (and us) forever – the Spirit of Truth. So, it is not us living on our own, but rather us filled to the fullest and overflowing with the Holy Spirit doing the living and breathing. Yes, sin gets in the way. Yes, I do listen to the bells and whistles going off on every side of me and yes, I compare myself to others running in the lanes next to mine – but with God all things are possible.
When I look at my shortcomings and failures, all I look at is ME. My eyes are not on my Saviour at all; only on me. This, folks, is narcissism. Plain and simple. Life is not all about me, as much as I want for all to know the trouble I’ve seen and the pain I have endured.
God says to fix my eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2) and when I do that I am pleasing Him and imitating Jesus. Jesus had His eyes on the Father constantly. Everything He did was in obedience to His Father. He lived to please His Father.
So, in the day-to-day, my life needs to be consumed with living close to Jesus. My life can be a reflection of this walk to others. I do not have to concern myself with what others think, but I need to be concerned how I act and speak so they can say that I have been with Jesus.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5
Father God, thank You for sending Your One and only Son to live on this earth to dwell among us, to show us how to live and to show us the Father. Thank You for Your Word so I can know how to walk with You. Thank You for the Spirit that lives inside of me teaching, guiding, helping and leading me so my walk with You will be pleasing to You as it is evident to all. I pray that my life with You would be full of evidence so ALL would know that I love and serve You. AMEN