“The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage of Peter and John, especially when they discovered that they were just ordinary men who had never had religious training. Then they began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him.”
In this passage Peter and John were preaching and had just healed a man, which caused the Jewish leaders concern so they began threatening them. The Church began to pray:
“So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!” At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness. All the believers were one in mind and heart…and great measures of grace rested upon them all.” Acts 4:13,14,31-33
This is an incredible chapter in which we see the growth of the church exploding to another 5000 believers! The apostles had been preaching and healing people since Pentecost and the kingdom of God was expanding, “by the power of the name of Jesus”. v 10
There is a very noticeable effect on those who “simply spend time with Jesus”. The effect brought astonishment and fear, so much so that the Jewish leaders threatened the apostle’s lives. I love that they are told they would be punished for their bold preaching, so they pray for more boldness!
The disciples who were leaders of this new church had been with Jesus for three years and continued to be close to Him by the power of the Holy Spirit every day.
In His presence, beholding Him in His glory, brings changes in us so that we become like him. 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Jesus is holy, pure, righteous, loving, kind, merciful, and faithful. If we want these character qualities, we can grow in them by being with Him.
This is the simplest form of prayer; communing, being in His Presence and taking time to love and worship Him. Our role as “priests”, as Peter designates, makes honoring, worshipping, praying our first priority and the chief responsibility in our lives.
Praying is so much more than talking with the Lord. It includes listening to His heart and desires for us and opening our hearts and expressing our affections to Him. In this position we can hear His voice, which changes us forever. Prayer involves spending time with the Lord, sitting at His feet as Mary did, listening to him.
As we share our hearts He promises to answer us.
” Because you have delighted in me as my great lover, I will greatly protect you. I will set you in a high place, safe and secure before my face. I will answer your cry for help EVERY TIME WE PRAY and you will find and FEEL MY PRESENCE even in your time of pressure and trouble. I will deliver you and honor you.” Psalm 91: 14,15
The result of being with Jesus is that we carry His peace, confidence, power, and very presence. We walk courageously in signs and wonders and teach the word of God with boldness. We have unity with others who carry His presence and we become more like Him. THESE AE GREAT RESULTS!
The early church sets an example of how we can live, preaching the word boldly, healing individuals, moving in signs and wonders. They did these things because they had been with Jesus.
Being with Jesus changes us, our character, and our behavior.
Do you see the effect Jesus has on those who simply spend time with Him?
Can others see this effect on yourself? Are you spending time with Jesus every day, like Jesus did with His Father?
We can be changed into the likeness of Christ and grow in, “great measures of grace” by spending time with the Lord. As his disciples, this is our goal.
“We are God’s children, we know when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” I John 3;2
Prayer: Lord, we want to be like you so help us to spend time with you every day. We welcome you to come and change us as we dwell in your presence. As we behold you, make us more like you. You are our focus and the object of all of our affections. Lord, give us unrestrained boldness, despite opposition. We love you Lord and we know that intimacy with you in the secret place is our greatest source of life and spiritual growth as well as our highest privilege. May we be ever aware of your presence and its effect on us. Amen
Devotional by Lisa Wright