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.
I recently starting reading through the book of Acts again. I always enjoy reading this book in the Bible because it’s beginning of the New Testament church. We, as the church today, carry out what began in this book with these men and women.
Now I got to chapter 4 and I noticed something that was pretty interesting. In this chapter, Peter and John had just healed a crippled man and were preaching the good news of Jesus to a crowd of people. Then the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came and arrested them. After they held them in jail over night, they asked them by what power and by who’s name did they do this. Then Peter, filled with Holy Spirit, responds with:
“Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Peter and John are still under arrest, and then Peter responds by preaching the gospel to these leaders. Pretty crazy. These leaders were pretty blown away as well. Their reaction was:
“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.”
Eventually, the leaders have nothing to say in opposition but still ask them to not teach these things. But Peter and John say they have to do what is right by God, and not man. So they were released because they couldn’t be charged with anything.
What’s interesting about this whole thing is that Peter and John were perceived as uneducated and common. But it is when the leaders saw the boldness that Peter and John had, that they were astonished and recognized that they had been with Jesus. They recognized this because Jesus was perceived as uneducated and common but spoke with boldness as well. I challenge you to read through the gospels again and see how Jesus was.
If you are like me, I struggle with sharing the good news of Jesus sometimes. It could be for a number of reasons of being afraid of rejection, wanting to be accepted, or by trying to stay “relevant” but in a “missional” kind of way. It’s kind of ridiculous to think about because as Christians, we are all called to share what has been shared with us, the good news of Jesus.
Even if we think we are common or don’t know enough about the Bible to share the gospel, we as Christians are called to. We need to spend more time with Jesus, in our Bibles and in our prayer life. And we need a boldness to share this good news just like Peter and John. This boldness isn’t just something they mustered up on their own though. It’s not just because they might have been extroverts. These verses tell us that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we all have the Holy Spirit in us and boldness is gifted to us by the Spirit to preach the good news of Jesus.
If we lack boldness, let us pray and ask God for it. That’s what the disciples did later on in this chapter. They asked for the boldness to continue the ministry of sharing the gospel of Jesus. And they were given this boldness:
“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Even if we are rejected, people will recognize that we have been with Jesus.