I wonder if the disciples even managed to find time to catch their breath in the days following Jesus’ ascension.
The opening chapters of Acts provide something of a roller coaster narrative as the Holy Spirit makes his sudden, powerful appearance, paving the way for Peter to declare the gospel message to crowds of people, and waves of conversions resulting. We see the amazing fellowship and unity among that first band of believers, the miraculous healing of a crippled beggar…and then the local rulers and priests getting so annoyed by what they see happening that they haul Peter and John off to prison (see Acts 4).
The next day, the big guns are rolled out in a show of power and intimidation. These are the same people that had sentenced Jesus to death just a few weeks before.
On that occasion, the disciples had stayed at a safe distance from the drama, and Peter had allowed his impetuous nature to get the better of him – not for the first time.
This time the story is different. Vastly different.
This time, Peter and John are not intimidated. They are full of the Holy Spirit. They speak truth, with clarity. They demonstrate boldness and courage.
The so-called rulers and teachers are perplexed. This was not in their game plan. How could these uneducated, ordinary men stand before them so fearlessly, and speak with such authority and wisdom?
Then the reality dawned on them. Peter and John had “been with Jesus” (v13).
It was unmistakable. There was no other explanation for the way they talked and acted. They had “been with Jesus”. They had lived with him, sat at his feet, listened to him, learned from him.
And the authorities felt confused about what to do in response. After their threats to Peter and John had no effect on them, they had to let them go.
But what about you? What about me? Are we spending time with Jesus? Are we listening to him? Are we allowing ourselves to be molded and shaped by him?
When we spend time with our family and friends, is it clear that we have “been with Jesus”?
When we greet the clerk in the checkout line at the store, can they see that we have “been with Jesus”?
When we show up to work on Monday morning (or any other morning for that matter), does the way we talk about people, the way we care for others, the way we act, show that we have “been with Jesus”?
The only way that many people will get a glimpse of Jesus is through what shines out of us. You and me.
Our lives need to demonstrate that we have “been with Jesus”. But do they?