“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 not gone to the best schools. They hadn’t done anything exceptional like develop an app or make a million dollars at the age of 18. In fact, they were common, unschooled fishermen. Yet they had the courage and wisdom to speak to the highly educated, religious leaders in a way that astonished them. Peter and John experienced what we could call the “Jesus Effect” because they had spent time with Jesus and were filled with His Spirit (4:8). As a result, they were courageous in the face of opposition, equipped beyond their natural abilities or earthly training, and others recognized that Jesus was the source of their courage and their words. How often does that describe us today?
We don’t need an impressive résumé or to be scholarly theologians to do powerful, courageous work for Jesus. The Bible is full of examples of how God used unlikely, ordinary, sinful people to do extraordinary work in His power. He doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called. He uses the foolish and weak things of the world to shame the wise and strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). In fact, Jesus’ power shines brighter in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10), but how often do we rely on our own strength and not allow Jesus to show up? If our lives are not as bold as these disciples, then we have to question what is filling us. The more self or world-filled we are, the less we are filled with the Spirit of Jesus, and the “Jesus Effect” becomes dimmed. We won’t astonish anyone for Him unless we become less so He can become greater (John 3:30).
The religious leaders recognized these men had spent time with Jesus. They witnessed the “Jesus Effect” because the Jesus they thought they had eliminated was still speaking and working powerfully through these disciples. They saw and heard Jesus in them. If we want others to see Jesus in us, then we have to speak and act like Him. Jesus is the Word (John 1:14), and we are made to look more like Him by the Word (John 17:17). So as we spend time with Him in prayer and in studying and obeying God’s Word, we will look and sound more like Him. The “Jesus Effect” will become more evident, and our lives will become more powerful for Him. So how apparent is it that we have spent time with Jesus? And what needs to change so we can look more like Him?
Prayer: Dear Father, Forgive us where we have clouded the image of your Son to the world, our communities and our families because we don’t look like Jesus in word or deed. Forgive us for quenching the Spirit because we are so filled with the world, sin and ourselves. Don’t let us be satisfied with our own power. Help us to become less so that you can become great. We want to speak courageously for and about you. We want to astonish people because they see you in us when we act and hear you in us when we speak. Please give us a hunger and thirst for spending time with you. In the strong, astonishing, name of Jesus. Amen!