When they 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
Peter and John had been preaching in the temple area and healing people all in the name of Jesus the Nazarene. The priests charged them and had them arrested to inquire of them under what power (authority) or name they had performed these deeds. The apostles told them all was done in the name of Jesus, whom the priests had executed. Then Peter told all present that there was no name under heaven by which men must be saved except the name of Jesus. Then the priests noticed that these apostles were unschooled men (had not studied at the Jewish schools of thought) and had been with Jesus during his lifetime. They ordered them not to preach anymore in Jesus’ name and then let them go.
Peter and John are excellent examples of men who turned the world upside down for the kingdom of God and did so without going to seminary, Bible school, or some other higher institution of learning. Isn’t it amazing that the greatest preachers of all time never stepped foot inside a schoolhouse to learn “how to preach” but rather attended the greatest apprenticeship in preaching ever offered – serving with Jesus firsthand for three years!
This passage gives me pause for concern over two topics: the “credentials” for preaching and what people notice about us. First, so many preachers today get overly concerned with having the right “credentials” from fellowship or even denomination in order to preach. The apostles never belonged to a denomination or fellowship. They received their commission and ordination from Jesus and no other. They were given power and authority by Him to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth, and look at the results of their work! 12 men and other disciples took the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth and turned the world on its head!
Second, the priests and lawyers noticed that Peter and John were unschooled men. They preached and taught and did miracles all in the name of Jesus, which not only infuriated the priests but made them wonder how these men knew and could do so much. Then they realized that Peter and John had been with Jesus while He was alive. There was no doubt about their credentials or that these men were disciples of Jesus. Just as the world recognized that the apostles were followers of Jesus, I have to ask you, “Does the world recognize that you are a follower of Jesus by what you say and do?”
Are your words and deeds showing the world that you are indeed a follower of Christ? The old adage of “if being a Christian were illegal, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you?” applies here. Peter and John were arrested for preaching and teaching in Jesus’ name and later got them recognition of being His disciples. Can the same be said of you and me? Are we out there preaching and teaching about Jesus and His gospel of salvation? Would the world even know that you are Jesus’ little brother or sister based on your daily activities?
Father, I come to you in the name of the Messiah, Jesus, Son of God, and God the Son. I have to ask the question of whether people recognize that I am Your child and follower. Sometimes I feel like people “know” that I’m a Christian, but do they really see Messiah in me? Or, do they just have head knowledge of this fact? Are my words and deeds representing You? Do they exemplify the live of a believer? I desire to do nothing short of living my best before You, for without Your Holy Spirit, I’m unable to live the Christian life at all! I pray that saved and unsaved alike can see Your reflection in me and desire to have what You’ve given me – life eternal! So be it.