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 4:13 ESV
Peter and John were both fisherman by trade. They came from a small city that had little economic or cultural significance. You could say they both had “anger issues”. These were not the traditional and accepted “religious” types.
Paul, although theologically trained, was a tent maker. Matthew was a tax collector. Onesimus was a runaway slave. Cornelius was a soldier. Rahab was a prostitute. Moses was a murderer. David was a conspiring adulterer. The list goes on and on. Yet, all of these experienced a sense of Kingdom greatness because of grace.
Peter and John were telling others what they had seen, heard and experienced . . . they were confident, but not caustic. These were not only identified as being with Jesus, they had been impacted, influenced and inspired by Jesus.
Their brand of authenticity, boldness and courage became the new “ABC’s” of following God. It wasn’t their education, it was their experience with Jesus. It wasn’t a position, it was His presence. It wasn’t sitting at the feet of an educator, it was sitting at the feet of The Teacher.
These were “uneducated, common men” who astonished the traditions of the day because they had accepted the truth of Jesus.
Jesus Changes. Paul writes to the Christ-followers in Corinth, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor 5:17 NLT) We are no longer chained, we have been changed. We have been freed from our past and penalties of sin. We have been given a promise through our pain and problems. Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36 NLT)
Jesus Challenges. A life changed by Jesus challenges the culture. It’s with compassion, not condemnation. It’s with triumph, not timidity. It’s with hope, not hopelessness. We are light to the darkness and salt to the tasteless. Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matt 5:15-16 NLT). Light illuminates the way. Salt infuses flavor so others can “taste and see that The Lord is good”. (Ps 34:8)
Instead of a fisherman, tent maker, or tax collector, you may be an executive, small business owner, salesman, educator, barista, stay at home mom, coach, virtual employee or service provider. We are all game changers . . . not because of prominence, position, power or paycheck . . . but, because we have been in the presence of our God.
This is a day of tender boldness, of truthful bravery and of letting others know that you have truly been with Jesus. He defines each of us as a destiny maker.
He changes and He challenges.