Last Sunday it was our pleasure to worship with the brethren at the West Citrus Church in Crystal River, Florida, and hear one of my former college Bible professors, Melvin Curry present a wonderful lesson.
Melvin is 88 years young, but still very capable in teaching and preaching God’s Word. His class in Revelation reminded me of my college days and his sermon from Acts 4 was an accurate exegesis and application of the text. Our thoughts today are inspired by that sermon.
The narrative involves Peter and John’s arrest by the Sanhedrin council and their response. The two apostles had upset the Jewish religious leaders by healing a lame man “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Ax 3:6).
“By what power or by what name did you do this?” questioned the religious rulers.
This provided Peter the opportunity to affirm that Jesus was the Christ and by His authority, they healed this helpless man. Furthermore, he accused them of rejecting and crucifying Christ. Then Peter concluded with this powerful affirmation regarding Jesus.
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Ax 4:12).
The Bible says, “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.” (Ax 4:13).
What changed Peter who had been a timid disciple denying Jesus into a bold proclaimer unashamedly professing his faith in Him?
And what about John? Once identified along with his brother James as “sons of thunder,” he has now mellowed and become the disciple “whom Jesus loved”?
The text offers the answer. They had been with Jesus. The men on the council could see it. Sense it. Observe it in their deportment. And hear it in their words.
They had been with Jesus through temptation. Worshiped with Him in the synagogue. Spent time with Him in prayer. Survived the raging storm when He calmed the winds and waves. Sat at his feet hearing the Word. They saw His compassion for sinners. His focus on the Father’s heavenly mission. And his boldness in preaching the Truth. And they were with Jesus through the suffering of the cross and witnessed the power and joy of the resurrection.
What about us? Can people see in our attitudes and actions that we have been with Jesus? Can they observe it our character? In our conduct? In our godliness and goodness? In our righteous living? In the language we use? In the way we treat others? In our home life? In the workplace?
In a politically correct culture that preaches a compromising tolerance, popularizes the refrain that there are “no absolutes, promotes individualism and practices the philosophy of secularism and relativism, are we willing to stand up for Jesus?
We must be bold in our beliefs. Not cocky or self-righteous. But confident and assured that Jehovah is God. That Jesus is the Son of God. And that the Bible is the Word of God. Then be willing to profess our faith and live our lives so others can see we’ve been with Jesus.
However, before people can see we’ve been with Jesus, we must be with Jesus. That means investing time in reading, studying and meditating on the Word. Praying often and fervently. Worshiping on Sunday. Not just going to worship, but really worshiping. And then developing the disciplines of discipleship that reflect the person of Jesus.
It’s a question worthy of our serious consideration. Can others see that you have been with Jesus?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman