Photo Credit: Boundary Homestead
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “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.”
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 4:8-13
Peter and John took seriously the last words Jesus told them.
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
These men were not religious leaders or great orators. They were fishermen who had spent three years living life with Jesus, listening to His teaching, and learning His love for His Father and for all people. Peter and John were ordinary men – apart from those three years spent in the company of the One who would take a cross for them, and all of us… Oh, and one more thing, they would know the filling of the Holy Spirit…whatever that would mean.
He spoke not as one who just believed in what he had heard about Jesus. He spoke as one who experienced the life-transforming love of God through Jesus. He knew Jesus. He had witnessed in his own life and others what happens when Jesus touches a person, when He receives a person as His own.
Last night, a small group of people sat around a table and talked about life together. No pretense. Nothing to prove. No one to impress. Just individuals meeting for supper, prayer, and encouragement. A new community group forged from folks at our church (Movement Church).Photo Credit: TheBlazingCenter.com
Through the short evening, as we got to know each other, everyone had a story…a story of a life and journey changed at a juncture where they met Jesus. I wish you could have heard their stories. Some of these new friends have life experiences I can only imagine…riveted to every detail, I heard forgiveness, grace, wonder, love, reconciliation. Ordinary people with a first of a lifetime of encounters with an extraordinary God.
All the stress of my day, the weariness and frustrations, all dissipated at these stories – these glowing faces – these people who were also tired and had their own frustrations…but it all pales when we see Jesus – in one another. Ordinary people who have been with Him. That is community.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35-36
This John recorded Jesus’ words in his Gospel. This John who was with Peter in the account above. We owe them so much. Peter would die for his faith, and John would be exiled to live out his day in isolation. They followed Jesus and gave witness of Him to all they could. A bold witness not because they knew of Him…but because they knew Him, and their lives were radically changed.
…as ours can be.