Saturday

2 July 2022

Acts 4:13-22

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realised that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognised them as companions of Jesus. (v. 13)

Psalm 119:113-128

Background

In the passage we read today Peter and John have been summoned before the chief priests and the senior leaders of Israel.

The chief priests have been studying the Jewish laws for decades. They consider themselves the experts on how to interpret the scriptures, and on how to maintain a relationship with God. By comparison Peter and John have no serious schooling in the scriptures. They are working-class fishermen, from the backwaters of Galilee rather than from the rarefied atmosphere of Jerusalem. Their only training is spending three years following what the chief priests consider to be an equally unqualified rabbi, a failed teacher (also from the same region of Galilee held in contempt), who was recently executed for leading a foolish rebellion. The average view of Galilee is best expressed by Nathanael: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46) And the view the priests had of the uneducated is best expressed by the Pharisees (“But this crowd, which does not know the law – they are accursed.” John 7:49)

So the chief priests are not just annoyed that Peter and John are preaching supposed false doctrine, and jealous that it’s being backed up by miracles, they are actually outraged and offended by their very presence.

But then something happens. The priests see the way Peter and John respond to them and despite their prejudices they can’t help but be impressed. These men are blowing away their stereotypes of uneducated, working-class northerners from Galilee. They see the boldness, the confidence they have in articulating what God has called them to do. And they realise that this has come from the three years they spent following Jesus. So maybe the failed rabbi had achieved something after all.

 Spending time with Jesus should change us. Every rabbi trained his followers to become like him in every way. So spending time with Jesus should transform us into becoming more like Jesus.

 

To Ponder:

  • In what ways has spending time with Jesus transformed you?
  • In what situations do you want to have more boldness when speaking out about Jesus, or against injustices?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, continue to transform us ever more to be the men and women you have called us to be. And give us boldness to speak about you, even in the face of potentially hostile reactions. Amen.


Bible notes author

Mark Williamson

Mark works for One Rock International, is chair of the Fresh Expressions movement, and is also employed at Methodist Central Hall Westminster, leading their Sanctuary congregation for young adults. He directs the 100 Dreams project, encouraging lay Methodists in their 20s or 30s to start new missional projects – see www.100dreams.co.uk

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