Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Would people say we've been with Jesus?

"Peter and John before the Sanhedrin"
- Artist unknown

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 4:1-22

TO CHEW ON: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13

Peter and John have just got into their first scrap with the Jewish religious leaders. The lame man healed at the temple gate has opened the door to Peter's presentation of Jesus—who He was and is—and the receptivity of the audience galls the temple officials. They arrest Peter and John and, after a night in jail, these two appear before the high priest who asks, "By what power or by what name have you done this?"

Peter, with his post-Pentecost boldness declares, "...by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth .... Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved" - Acts 4:10,12.

It is then these rulers make their telling observation: "... they realized they had been with Jesus." I like how Barnes Notes on the Bible enlarges on this moment:

"It is not said in what way they obtained this evidence, but the connection leads us to suppose it was by the miracle which they had performed, by their firm and bold declaration of the doctrines of Jesus, and perhaps by the irresistible conviction that none would be thus bold who had not been personally with him, and who had not the firmest conviction that he was the Messiah.


They had not been trained in their schools, and their boldness could not be attributed to the arts of rhetoric, but was the native, ingenuous, and manly exhibition of a deep conviction of the truth of what they spoke, and that conviction could have been obtained only by their having been with him..." Barnes Notes on the Bible.
This passage always pricks me, and leaves me with the question: Would people interacting with me, talking to me, reading me, detect that I have been with Jesus? What about you? Do we have that boldness of rock-solid faith in Him who said, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)? Is there about our lives the perfume of His presence (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)?.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I want people to say of me, She has been with Jesus. Perhaps, in order for that to happen, I need to rearrange my priorities so that I actually spend more time with You. Amen.

MORE: The confession of Peter

Today the church celebrates Peter's bold confession of faith in the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter. The day's liturgy begins with this collect:

"Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."


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