Astonished by Common

“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. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.”

– Acts 4:13-14 (English Standard Version – emphasis added)

Jesus has been taken up into heaven after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit has come on believers at Pentecost, Peter has preached a powerful and truth-filled sermon to the masses, Peter has healed a lame beggar and then used the opportunity to again proclaim Christ to those around him, and Peter and John have been jailed overnight by the priests and Sadducees because the message of Jesus Christ was found disturbing and threatening to their power.

That’s a lot going on in a rather short amount of time, but Peter is neither beaten down nor deterred by this series of events.

As Peter and John stand before the council of rulers and elders and teachers, a council in a position to determine whether Peter and John should be kept in jail, Peter again speaks boldly of Christ, of “this Jesus” (see Acts 4:11), of salvation. But not because Peter just has a desire to do so or because he has simply determined to be bold or because he has somehow resolved to be strong.

In contrast to such human effort, Peter – a common and uneducated man – was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8).

It is this power, the power that comes from the Holy Spirit alone, that leaves the council astonished. Because even they recognize that the boldness exhibited in these common and uneducated men means that Peter and John had been with Jesus. The power and boldness could come from no other source. And in the wake of this encounter with truth, “they had nothing to say in opposition,” and ultimately release them {at least until the next chapter}.

And as Peter and John share this account, their fellow believers pray this prayer together:

“…now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant, Jesus.”

– Acts 4:29-30 (ESV – emphasis added)

Oh, how I long for that prayer to be granted in my own life as I pray along with them … that others would be astonished … not because of me, but because the power of the Holy Spirit is evident in my common life by the way I live and boldly proclaim the message and truth of Jesus Christ.

Join me in this prayer today?