by Matt Brooks
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Can you imagine the scene? Everything had seemingly gone as planned. The religious leaders had accomplished what they thought it would take to quiet the movement. Jesus had done the unthinkable. He had captured the attention of Israel. Everywhere he went, people followed. They listened. They were moved. And Jesus’s influence became a problem. In an era of temple and empire, the religious leaders were losing what was most valuable to them-attention. They had been the center of religious influence, but now Jesus, with His “you’ve heard it said, but I say” messages and His healing and His compassion had taken much of their attention. And it had to stop. So, plans were conceived. Deals were made. Schemes were devised. And they pulled it off. They had him crucified. In fact, they turned the very crowd that had welcomed Jesus with palm branches into a riotous mob demanding a crucifixion. It worked.
But it didn’t. No one was expecting an empty grave. Not the Pharisees. Not the soldiers. Not even the disciples. And it changed everything. Hope emerged, and hope is powerful. The same disciples that cowardly fled, now boldly proclaimed. And the world stood on its head. Now Peter and John are standing before the council boldly giving an account for their actions. And the people are astonished-not by their insights or education, their prestige or power. They are astonished because they recognized they had been with Jesus. It’s a powerful word. WITH. It’s what made the difference. The same is true for us. When we get with Jesus, things change. We change. Our motives change. Our goals change. The things that matter change. The world is changed. Not by education or prestige, but by being with Jesus, a few common men changed the world. So, could we. So, could you.