Blake Allen, Student and Outreach Minister, LHBC
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
This has become one of my favorite verses of all Scripture. After receiving the Holy Spirit and sharing their faith, the apostles of Jesus experienced persecution from the Sadducees. They were told not to continue speaking about Jesus. For them, the apostles were stirring up the crowd. They feared an insurrection would take place and they were there to shut it down. They were also jealous of the apostles for the Sadducees were not favored among the common people. And when the apostles started preaching about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, they had had enough (the Sadducees denied any bodily resurrection).
The Sadducees threatened the apostles. They told them to no longer speak about Jesus. They threw them in prison when they continued, and sent them away with another warning thinking this would stop them. Then, they resorted to flogging when imprisonment wasn’t enough to deter the apostles from their mission. Whatever they tried, it failed. The apostles were convinced that the message of Jesus was worth sharing even if it cost them their lives. As a result of their faithfulness the Jerusalem church was formed, thousands came to know Jesus and were saved, and even those who didn’t accept their message respected their boldness and faithfulness.
What grips me about this story is that they were uneducated and untrained, common men. We typically read the accounts of Biblical characters like Moses, Peter, Paul, etc, and marvel how extraordinary they were. I mean, Peter walked on water! But what’s fascinating is that characters like these in the Bible were ordinary people; they just had extraordinary faith.
Peter and the apostles won the souls of many with the Gospel and affections of others. But it was not because they were the most educated. It was not because they were formally trained. It was not because they were the most popular or powerful people. It was because they had been walking with Jesus and were filled by the Holy Spirit.
No matter who you are, how much education you have, how much money you have, how much training you have; you are called to walk with Jesus. God desires to use each and every one of us to do extraordinary things for His kingdom. Every believer has a part to play in the body. You may consider yourself ordinary but if you have been walking with Jesus and are filled by the Holy Spirit–which essentially means you allow the Spirit to control and direct every aspect of your life–you will exude extraordinary faith.
Maybe we should stop saying things like, “I wish I had the boldness of Peter.” Or, “I wish I could be like Paul.” We should shift our focus to pursuing a daily relationship with Christ and walking with Him. If you want to do extraordinary work for God’s kingdom, then you must walk with Jesus and be filled by the Holy Spirit. Stop selling yourself short or settling for mediocrity. It’s not about us to begin with. It’s God’s power, God’s work, God’s agenda, and God’s guidance that brings about it all. He is the one who empowers us to do the work. We must be willing to submit to Him and walk with Jesus each day.
Do you have bold faith? What if we were in this story. Would we share our faith with boldness no matter the persecution that might come with it? Would we turn from Jesus if we were imprisoned or flogged? It takes bold faith to do kingdom work. But it is the Spirit that fills us and empowers us to do that work. It’s not about being an extraordinary person. It’s about having extraordinary faith and walking with Jesus.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, fill me with your Spirit and empower me to do your kingdom work. In Jesus Name, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.