Are you an ordinary person with no special ministry training wondering how you can impact the world for the Kingdom of God? I am! And there’s a verse in Acts that spoke to me very clearly about the fact that God will use even “unschooled, ordinary” people like me to get people’s attention.
When [the religious leaders] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13
There’s so much here in this one little verse for us to take to heart! First of all, Peter and John had courage to confront their culture. Courage that took them from fisherman to public speakers almost overnight. And they weren’t just out there giving inspirational, feel-good messages that everyone wanted to hear. They were telling everyone the truth that they needed to hear. Their message was not popular among the leaders and boldly proclaiming it could’ve cost them their lives. But that did not matter to them. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah that had been promised all along and they couldn’t keep quiet about it!
There was nothing special about the upbringing or training of these “ordinary men” that gave them the courage to be bold about the Word of God. Nothing special, that is, except the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that they received once Jesus took his place in heaven. Once the Holy Spirit came upon them, all of the things they had learned from Jesus over the past three years started welling up inside of them. They had heard him teach the Scriptures. They had listened to him share parables about the Kingdom of God. They had watched him perform miracles. They saw him beaten and crucified, just like he said he would be. And ultimately, they saw him rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. There was no way they could keep quiet about this. We know the gospel! We’ve read the stories, and we have our own Jesus moments to share. The same Holy Spirit that equipped and empowered Peter and John equips and empowers us.
It’s no small thing that upon seeing the courage of these ordinary men and hearing the truth of their message, the religious leaders “recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” It is my sincere desire for people to recognize me as someone who spends time with Jesus. We all know it’s true that we start to act like the people we spend time with so when we spend time with Jesus, in prayer and in the Word of God, we will start to act like him. It is our close relationship with Jesus that keeps us connected to God today and for eternity.
I think the best thing of all was the impact their message had on the people that heard it. They were amazed and astonished. Let’s be honest. It was not Peter or John themselves that amazed people. Remember, they were just “ordinary” men. It was the message they were proclaiming that got people’s attention. When God gets a hold of someone and they are working for his Kingdom, the results will be amazing. Think about it. Noah built a massive boat. Moses split a sea. David slayed a giant. Daniel survived a lion’s den. God has a special task for each one of us. Nothing is impossible with God and no matter how small or insignificant we may feel, when we are all-in for God, great things will happen! We just need to go for it! Just move forward and get to work and let God handle our inadequacies.