Blue-Collar Bible Scholars?Peter and John were fishermen. They were not Bible scholars. They probably went to basic school in the temple beginning at age six or seven. As older children or teenagers, they probably left school to apprentice (work and learn) in the fishing trade. They did not continue to focus on memorizing and understanding the Scriptures as the religious leaders did. They were just everyday, hard-working men. Today we might call them "blue collar" workers (people who work a trade rather than in an office). This is what shocked the religious leaders in Acts 4. Peter and John had healed a man and were telling those around them about Jesus. The religious leaders didn't like that one bit, so they arrested them. How would you feel in this situation? What would you do? Look at what Peter and John did.
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”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 4:1-13 (NIV)
What did you say?Why do you think the scribes (teachers of the law) and elders (important people in the church and community) so surprised at what Peter and John said? Here are some things I would have found surprising.
- Peter and John hadn't spent their lives studying and teaching Scripture, but they quoted Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) while they taught about Jesus.
- Peter and John were fisherman, but they were now teaching large crowds of people.
- Peter and John had studied under scribes as children and learned to respect them. Even so, they still had the audacity to speak boldly and tell these leaders they were wrong about Jesus.
- Peter and John would not back down and compromise or change what they believed and taught, even when threatened with prison and other punishments.
What about you?What Peter and John did was scary. They believed and loved Jesus enough to want to live like Him. They knew that Jesus gave up everything to die on the cross for them. Out of thankfulness and love for Jesus and His sacrifice, they wanted to be sure others knew that God is real, that Jesus died and rose again for them, and that there is freedom from sin for those who trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Simply put, Peter and John wanted to love Jesus back so much that they were willing to risk anything to live in a way that showed that love for their Savior and Lord. In what ways do you do that? In what ways do you not? What is keeping you from living for Christ (showing God love in the things you do and say about Him)?
"Christian Walk"The way we show God love in the things we say and do is sometimes called our Christian walk. That just means that we remember that God is always with us, walking with us through our day, and helping us to love Him and live for Him. The good news is that this is a journey. We won't always be like we are now. You will grow older and learn more. God wants us to learn more about Him and get to know Him better too.
"That’s why we have not stopped praying for you. We have been praying for you since the day we heard about you. We keep asking God to fill you with the knowledge of what he wants. We pray he will give you the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. Then you will be able to lead a life that is worthy of the Lord. We pray that you will please him in every way. So we want you to bear fruit in every good thing you do. We pray that you will grow to know God better. We want you to be very strong, in keeping with his glorious power. We want you to be patient. We pray that you will never give up. We want you to give thanks with joy to the Father. He has made you fit to have what he will give to all his holy people. You will all receive a share in the kingdom of light. He has saved us from the kingdom of darkness. He has brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. Because of what the Son has done, we have been set free. Because of him, all our sins have been forgiven." Colossians 1:9-14 (NIV)