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. (Acts 4:13).
Peter and John had not been formally trained in religion, or public speaking, for that matter. They were unschooled ordinary men. And, it’s interesting to know that at this point the religious leaders realized that these men had traveled around with Jesus. Over the course of three years, the Son of God had taught the former fishermen everything they knew.
You can receive extensive, formal, theological education and have degrees after your name. But if you’ve never “been with Jesus” in a spiritual relationship and enrolled in his school of discipleship, you’ll make no lasting spiritual impact on others. (Evans, T. (2019). The Tony Evans Study Bible (p. 1275). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible.)
Do others around you recognize when you have been spending time with Jesus?
In John 15:20, Jesus told his disciples, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you." That persecution was about to begin. Here, in Acts 4, the religious leaders seized Peter and John and threw them in jail until the next day since the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin, didn’t meet at night. Nevertheless, beginning with the healing of one lame man (Acts 3:1–10), God brought about five thousand men to Christ. There’s no stopping the kingdom of God manifested through the power of the Holy Spirit when Jesus is being glorified. And, it was evident that these men had been with Jesus and they were speaking with much authority in the Holy Spirit.
In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter proved from the Scriptures that Jesus was alive; but now he proved it by the miraculous change in the beggar’s life. The man was healed through the power of the name of Jesus. The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection, so they wanted to put a stop to the ministry of the apostles. They were threatened by the growing number of Jesus followers. This was the beginning of the official persecution of Christians.
What do you do when they tell you to stop sharing the gospel? What did the apostles do?
Certainly they recalled the words of Jesus Christ (Matt. 10:16–26) and depended on the Holy Spirit to help them. Furthermore, they were so filled with their message and with love for Christ that they could not stop telling people about Him, and they did it with boldness!
How did they do this? They depended on prayer and directed their prayer to a sovereign God who made everything and can do anything. They based their petitions on Psalm 2, a good psalm to read when you are being attacked.
What would it mean to be this bold in your faith in the following situations: at school? at work? at a party? at home? When do you find it hardest to be bold about your faith? Why is it sometimes hard to be bold? What keeps us from being bolder? Are you spending time with Jesus in prayer? How could a shy person be bold in his or her faith? Is it ever possible to be too bold about your beliefs? Are you praying about opportunities to boldly proclaim the Gospel?