“And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
Peter and John were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ following His ascension into heaven. Predictably, the religious leaders were no more tolerant of Peter and John than they had been toward the One they were proclaiming.
The Bible calls Peter and John “unschooled and ordinary men.” Yet they addressed their adversaries with confidence. With courage. With conviction. And not just a little bit. Their composure was so great that their interrogators were astonished, and had no other explanation than that these men had been with Jesus.
Just like Peter and John, people can tell when I’ve been with Jesus.
And I’m afraid they can also tell when I haven’t.
Could this be said of me? “They recognized that she had been with Jesus.”
Or would a more accurate statement be: “And they recognized that she had NOT been with Jesus”?
“Her husband recognized by her attitude that she had NOT been with Jesus.”
“Her children recognized by her words that she had NOT been with Jesus.”
“Her friends recognized by her gossip that she had NOT been with Jesus.”
“Her students recognized by her short temper that she had NOT been with Jesus.”
“Her coworkers recognized by her selfishness that she had NOT been with Jesus.”
“Her ministry partners recognized by her pride that she had NOT been with Jesus.”
When is the last time you were with Jesus? I mean really with Him?
When you last had your quiet time, did you sense God’s presence with you? Did you leave your time with Him recognizing that you had encountered the divine?
Like Moses, was your face radiant because you had spoken with the LORD (Exodus 34:29)?
Did you leave your meeting-place emanating the courage that comes from knowing to Whom you belong? Did you have a sense of joy and peace in being in God’s presence and in knowing Him more intimately than before? Did it make a difference in your relationships? In your attitudes?
When we take time to bask in His presence, breathing in God’s Word through Bible study and meditation, and breathing it out through prayer, faithfully seeking His cleansing from sin in the process, we are filled with the Holy Spirit…just like Peter and John were (see v. 8).
And it’s impossible for that not to make a difference.
A difference that just might be astonishing.
Written by Jennifer Clarke