The Spykstra family has a new Sunday night ritual; at 8 pm we watch a mini series called “AD: The Bible.” This historic drama depicts the explosive growth of the early church after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The writers have done a masterful job depicting the characters. There is Caiaphas the sinister high priest, Pilate the heartless Roman governor, Herod the puppet Jewish King, and in sharp contrast the rag tag group of disciples led by Peter and John.
As the events in the book of Acts unfold a world system dictated by money, power, and back-alley deals done in secret attempt to crush the Gospel Movement. The power people are baffled as to why their self-seeking schemes are unable to derail the passion and courage of seemingly insignificant followers of Jesus. A specific example is found in Acts 4 where Peter and John are arrested for healing a crippled beggar. This healed man gave authentic glory to God the Father and Jesus His Son right in front of the temple. When the religious leaders heard about it and asked Peter and John by what power or name did they do this healing, Peter – filled with the Holy Spirit – blurted “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… Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” (vs.8-13).
Now ponder with me the response of the religious leaders in vs. 13, “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.” Check out the word “ordinary” in the Greek it means “idiot” or “unlearned.” Yes, the religious leaders were right, these men were not scholars, or powerful politicians or part of the elite, just “idiots.” BUT these men “had been with Jesus.” These men were empowered by their Father with the living Spirit of Jesus Christ and had become an unstoppable force.
In the mini series the power people are depicted as living in constant fear, yet the “weak” disciples live with a supernatural boldness that confounds the world around them. It is easy today to get discouraged as you look at the powerful people and forces that seem to be in control of shaping culture. However, when we reflect on the simplicity of the early church that definitely faced the same demonic strongholds, we can be encouraged. The Father loves to take the weak that “have been with Jesus,” and empower them to turn the world upside down.
Our Father is looking for the weak that realize they need Jesus to wash away their sin and fill them with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. If you are one of the weak get ready for a new move of the Father who is about to unleash Jesus through you to bring His glory and fame far and wide.