On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 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 4:5-13
I grew up in a very humid climate where a curling iron was not practical. So I never learned to use it. Recently I asked my sister-in-law to teach me the basics of using a curling iron. It dawned on me later that I could have easily looked up a YouTube video on my own. In this age of information, abundant knowledge is available at our fingertips. How often have I turned to my phone for directions, a recipe, or instructions rather than bother an actual person? But what I got out of my sister-in-law’s curling iron tutorial was much more than simple instructions. We were together in person so we shared a fun memory and I could tell she enjoyed walking me through it step by step. I also had the opportunity to ask questions, receive feedback and practice with her. Plus, we had a fun time with my daughters who served as “hair models.”
Presence wins over information every time. Think about Peter’s life and actions before he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was impulsive, fearful, and wavering. Now as the presence of the Holy Spirit is within him, he speaks boldly, heals in Jesus’ name, and spreads the influence of the gospel far and wide. The presence of the Spirit is a gift and its impact is far reaching. In verse 13 it says the Jewish leaders recognized that Peter and John had been with Jesus. It doesn’t say that they recognized that Peter and John had all the information about Jesus of Nazareth. No, it was evident that they had been with the Messiah. They had learned from him and walked with him. How could they tell? Just like we start to act like the people we spend most time with, I believe it was the same with these men. Being with Jesus had changed them and now the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives was directing their actions and words. Not in a controlling way, but in an empowering and emboldening manner.
How about you? How do people know you’ve been with Jesus? Does the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life directly impact the way you live it? Think about your presence in the life of someone who is not living in the way of Jesus. Imagine yourself sharing the gospel of resurrection with them. What about your presence with that person makes your message compelling?
By Ellen Rosenberger