The Bare Soul -
June 30, 2013
Acts 4:13 - Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
Luke's writing in Acts 4 says volumes about the past life of the disciples as well as their present relationship with the Lord. Conclusions had been drawn by the Pharisees that are really simple observations that a school child could have made (and probably did). Yet, these learned and so-called wise leaders of their religious order surmised with their earthly faculties that Peter and John had been with Jesus. Their sense of sight and understanding were certainly not impaired, but their spiritual discernment and judgment certainly was lacking. For if they truly knew who stood before them in the power of the Holy Spirit, they may have behaved differently. What they witnessed defied their Judaist upbringing and was diametric from anything they had known regarding true spirituality. They had seen it a few weeks earlier in a man they had sentenced to death, yet they were amazed at this Man's confidence and biblical understanding. However, that was not enough to change their heart toward Jesus, neither was it enough to turn their hearts by His disciples.
Have you ever recognized someone as having been with Jesus? They aren't difficult to spot. As the Pharisees witnessed, the hallmark of these folks is their immovable confidence in what they believe. How does confidence of this type manifest itself? Well, it starts in secret and spills out publicly. It oozes out of believers that truly believe their Lord and desire to spend time with Him. It comes by searching out His Word, and then living it to the best of their ability. It comes by living out the Great Commission and spreading the love of Jesus Christ to their communities, counties, states, countries, and finally to the world. Godly confidence is something that cannot be self-created but is a by-product of living and breathing the Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis.
Education means little when one is truly imbued with the Lord's presence to change their respective world. One might say that a seminary degree will help open doors that might not be opened otherwise. My opinion, in this regard, is that possibly these doors are better off left shut if that is the case. Countless men and women since the time of these "uneducated men" of the book of Acts have turned the world upside down for Jesus Christ. All it really takes is a desire to be with Jesus and He will do the rest. As Leonard Ravenhill stated in his book "Why Revival Tarries?", You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it. I dare say that in this regard, it is not the preacher or the youth minister or any other church officer that have license to set our respective communities on fire for God. Irrespective of title, the Lord Jesus is looking for individuals that have such a hunger to be with Him that they will set their families, their communities, their churches on fire with Holy Ghost power! It doesn't take a degree to fulfill God's Great Commission, but it does take a heart and a desire to spend time with Him as He opens His word in the heart of the desirous. Then, it takes the will to take it to the streets and give away what He has so graciously given.
Do you want to provoke amazement as the Pharisees experienced? They merely acknowledged the confidence of Peter and John, that they were uneducated but yet they recognized the Lord Jesus in them. Confidence in one's standing with the Lord only comes by getting into that secret place with Him -- to pour out one's heart and to pour over His word. Then, when we come out into the public light, there will be little to mistake any of us from having been with our Risen Lord. The dilemma for most of us is this -- we either don't believe that the Lord will give us this type relationship with Him or we are spiritually lazy to come to His Light, having been distracted by the light of our TVs (or any other distraction that you would care to mention). Do you want to start living a remarkable life? Then, start doing remarkable things ... TODAY ... that will eventually equate to a remarkable life. As previously stated it is really very simple, yet the Pharisees could not understand. We become what we spend our time with. As with those of the Sanhedrin that killed the Lord of Life and accused His disciples, they spent time with their own egos, priding themselves on their puffed up educations. Yet, they truly were empty, insecure followers of a dead Law. When they recognized their very opposites in Peter and John, they were taken aback. Are we sending those that we encounter throughout our respective lives into a state of amazement, or are we allowing them to continue to slumber in their sin? It is all our responsibility -- all of us who call ourselves Christians -- to be provoking amazement and wonder in those who would recognize the Risen Savior within our own lives.
Holy Father, recommit our hearts and lives to "spending time" with our Risen Lord. In time, may all who witness our behavior and testimony be amazed as they recognize our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ as He lives and moves and has His being within us. Give us a true spiritual education that we can then take to the world. In Jesus Christ's precious name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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"Recognizing Jesus" was originally published on September 28, 2008