“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, ESV)
Think of that last phrase… “And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” I love that observation because what was true of Peter in that moment can be said of us, too.
There is something truly beautiful, inviting, and compelling about a person who has been with Jesus. A person who has been with Jesus is empowered by His Spirit and given courage to walk in bold faith and confident assurance; that person is convinced Jesus is who He said He is and He can do what He said He can do.
The only way we can know Jesus in this personal way and have this kind of bold faith is to spend time in His presence and in the Word and to be filled with His Spirit. And the only way the world around us will know about Him is if they can see Jesus in and through us.
I love observing the life of Peter and the other disciples. It shows us that no matter who you are, what your background, education level, skill set, personality, or training is – or even what mistakes you may have made in the past – God has a plan to use you in a mighty way to point people to Jesus.
We may feel as ordinary and unlikely as they come, yet we can make an extraordinary impact in the world for the glory of God – not because of our own name or ability, but because of who Jesus is in us.
I believe this is true because I see it in Peter’s life. Peter was one of the first men Jesus called to be a disciple, but he didn’t have a theological background that you would think would be necessary for ministry. He was a simple fisherman just making a living for himself and his family. Jesus knew that one day, we would need to see that even an ordinary fisherman – mistakes, flaws, and all – could be used by God as a man of bold faith.
In Matthew 16:13-14, Jesus asks the disciples what people were saying about who He was. At first, the disciples are recounting and mulling over other people’s suggestions, thoughts, and perspectives. It’s possible, even in our lives today, for us to think we have a measure of understanding or revelation about who God is because of what we have observed in others’ lives from a distance, but we will never have personal revelation apart from knowing Him for ourselves. To experience that, we have to press in to know Him personally, exercise our own faith to believe, and learn how to walk boldly in the purpose and plan He has for us.
Jesus went to the heart of this when He went on to ask the disciples, “But who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15) Peter was the first to respond (as he often was!), and because he had spent time with Him, he could confidently say who Jesus was to him. Peter didn’t need to lean on the revelation or insight of others; he knew and declared by faith that Jesus was the Son of God.
And with that simple confession and declaration of faith, Jesus prophesied over Peter, saying,
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
It’s this faith in Jesus and in the power of His name that become the very cornerstone of our salvation, the very rock on which our faith is established, and is the promise of victory against the enemy.
Because Peter’s faith was in Jesus, he could go forth in boldness and courage to do what God would call him to do, and nothing and no one could prevail against God’s plan in and through him. And the same is true for you and me. We are each living stones (1 Peter 2:5-6), chosen and called according to God’s purpose, and we will never be put to shame for trusting in Him.
When we find Peter again in Acts 4:1-13, we see him walking in that bold faith, full of anointing and authority, healing the sick and calling people to salvation in the name of Jesus. It disrupted and disturbed many who were not comfortable with seeing the power of God at work in ordinary men, but even as they heard Peter speak the Word of God, they could not deny the boldness and authority by which Peter explained the message of Christ. They marveled that such boldness could come from such an ordinary, untrained, unschooled (and even flawed) person, and the only conclusion they could reach was that this man had been with Jesus.
My friend, I dare to believe we can also be known as people who are empowered by His Spirit and have the courage to walk in bold faith and confident assurance. God wants to use our ordinary and unlikely lives to accomplish His purpose in the earth. He will qualify and equip us to do what He has called us to do and go where He has called us to go. Let’s surprise and amaze the world simply by being known as someone who has been with Jesus and is filled with His Spirit, and as a result has the anointing and courage to walk in bold faith, in Jesus’ name.
Andrea Howey is a hand lettering artist from Dallas, Texas. She uses hand lettering to share her heart and the message of hope, truth, and faith found in the Word of God. Her aim is for people to be encouraged in heart, strengthened in faith, and above all, point people to know Jesus personally and intimately.
You can find Andrea and her beautiful handwritten words of encouragement on Instagram at: @andrearhowey.
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