They Recognised That They Had Been With Jesus
What an accolade! As others sought the approval of the Pharisees, the High Priest and the Roman governor, the apostles were recognised by whom they had kept their acquaintance with; Jesus.
This wasn’t the first time that this had happened to Peter. Just a few weeks earlier, he had been standing warming his hands by the side of a fire in the High Priest’s residence. Here too, he had been recognised as having been with Jesus: ‘Your accent betrays you,’ charged the bystanders. How sad that on that occasion Peter did not confirm the link, choosing instead to deny His Lord.
How the passage of time changed him! Now Peter is a different man. He had been restored on the banks of Galilee by a resurrected Lord, when he probably thought he was finished. He had stooped and looked into the empty tomb. He had seen the ascension, and together with his co-disciples had received the Great Commission. He had seen the miracle of Pentecost and the birth of the early church. Now, following a risky gospel message at the healing of the impotent man, he is challenged again on account of his association with Christ. This time there is no prevarication or abdication. He declares ‘Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead…the stone that the builders rejected.’
As the people observed Peter and John, they were impressed by two things; first, their obvious boldness contrasted against their lack of a reason to be bold–they were ‘unlearned and ignorant men.’ The culture was against them–it was deeply unfashionable to be a Christian at that point in history–but still they spoke with confidence. Second, the power of the testimony of the man standing next to them. This could not be denied, for it was obvious to all. These two facts combined to cause them to ‘recognise that they had been with Jesus.’
As we remember Him again today, let’s remind ourselves that having been with him there are two characteristics that should stand out about us; a quiet boldness in the face of ardent hostility, and the power of our testimony. May it be the case that in the coming week people will recognise that we have ‘been with Jesus.’