This is combination of two devotional posts by George Whitten, editor of Worthy Devotions, another Alltop – Christianity indexed website. As we mentioned when we featured his blog here a year ago, one of the key features at Worthy is the topical index which allows you delve into any one of a wide variety of subjects. These two posts — one from February and one from May — have their roots in Acts 4. The original title and link to each appears at the start of each article.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Just a few weeks prior to this incident, the disciples were trembling for their lives as their Lord was arrested and then crucified. They had all fled in the Garden of Gethsemane and then Peter, whose boldness was legendary, had denied him three times. The fact that they had been serving with Yeshua (Jesus) for three years, witnessing many miracles, including Peter’s amazing walk on the water, apparently did not inspire the necessary courage to watch for an hour or to stick with Him to the end. Perhaps the miraculous had become a bit commonplace for them, so that when the threat to Yeshua came full force, they floundered and failed miserably.
What happened that changed their state of being so dramatically in this encounter with the Jewish leaders? I believe it was two things: one, that they had seen their Lord resurrected from the dead, and two, that they were now filled with that resurrection life and power themselves, by the Holy Spirit. The power of the resurrection was within and upon them! The reality and security of God’s indwelling Presence and power, and His words “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do”, inspired a boldness far beyond any merely human courage.
This boldness amazed the Sadducees and Pharisees who despised Peter and John as “unlearned and ignorant”men. They marveled at the unabashed fearlessness of the apostles whose knowledge was of a different and superior kind: the knowledge of their RISEN and RESURRECTED Lord. And then they noted, that these men had been with Yeshua (Jesus)!
This power is yours, and it is mine, if we continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit, not quenching or grieving Him. We, too, will confound and amaze the “authorities” of our day with the holy boldness of resurrection life, and though they may despise our humble circumstances, they also will take note that, “we have been with Jesus”.
Psalms 2:1-3 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [in Hebrew it is the word Meshiach], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
Acts 4:25-28 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
When Peter and John had gone up to the Temple for prayer [Acts 3], they saw a man who was lame from birth, and were moved to heal him in the name of Yeshua (Jesus). Immediately the religious leaders laid hands on them [Acts 4:3] and kept them imprisoned for a day. The following day, with boldness, they declared this miracle was done in the name of Yeshua. I love what the “religious” leaders said next — “they perceived that they were unlearned men and they marveled at their boldness!” Why were they bold? They had been with Yeshua, and the leaders took note of that!
It is no surprise that the world rages against the Messiah. Psalm 2 declares it clearly. Every year there are tens of thousands of believers suffering and dying for their faith, in large part because the kings and the rulers of the earth RAGE against the Lord and His Anointed. As followers of the King we should expect this and be prepared for it when it comes.
But, the examples of Peter and John, and every other true Christian martyr, are there to inspire and encourage us that if and when the time of persecution comes for us, we too can be bold as a lion. And this boldness is no merely human bravery, but an unction from the Holy Spirit Himself. So, though the kings of the earth will rage, our simple faith and Holy Spirit boldness will testify that we too have been with Yeshua!