God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.
Last post from the book of Acts we saw how Peter and John were interrupted while they were sharing Jesus with a large crowd. They were interrupted in a most disruptive way. They were arrested by the authorities and taken into custody overnight. We also looked at what interruptions mean in your own life. If you’re interested you can read more about that here: An Interruption of Colossal Proportions: Acts 4:1-4.
In today’s blog post we’ll look at how Peter and John responded to the authorities the next day when they stand before the Jewish leaders.
On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
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.
Gabriel’s Wise Words After Dinner and Peter’s — After A Night in Jail
My family was together for dinner a few Sundays ago and during the course of the conversation my oldest son Gabriel said something wise and true and profound. He said, “I know that I become like the people I spend time with.”
In our text we see Peter under examination before the rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, including Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. Under the condemnatory gaze of this group of assembled leaders, Peter calmly and boldly shares about Jesus. How the means by which the crippled man was healed was Jesus. Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the one you, the religious leaders, crucified. But God raised him from the dead and it’s by Jesus’ name that the formerly crippled man now stands before you well. Peter continues to share that Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the “builders,” the leaders assembled there, and he has become the cornerstone. “And there is salvation in no one else,” Peter says. “For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
When they saw and heard Peter and John, they were astonished. They recognized Peter and John had no formal education. And they realized the reason they communicated in such a compelling intelligent way was because they had been with Jesus.
How To Be With Jesus
Over the course of my lifetime I have found the words Gabriel shared after dinner to be so true. I can remember times when Kathy would comment on how I communicated and behaved like whatever fire crew I was assigned to at the time. Fortunately most of the firefighters at my department were people of high character. So for the most part I was behaving better as a result of who I was keeping company with.
In today’s passage we see the result of Peter and John’s time spent with Jesus. They became different people because of the time they spent with Jesus. They became so different, the religious leaders were “astonished.”
It’s a given that you or I, or almost anyone, would want to become more like Jesus and less like themselves. And today we see that the way to become more like him is to spend time with him. Peter and John spent three years in the physical presence of Jesus and we see the results of that time with Jesus in our text. But of course we can’t be physically present with Jesus in the same way today. So what does it look like to spend time with him? What does it look like for me and for you to spend time with Jesus?
Here’s what I’ve found helpful over my lifetime.
1) Find people who are filled with the Spirit of Jesus: Be intentional about this. Look hard. Try different churches. Involve yourself in different ministries. Keep trying and trying and trying until you find people who astonish you the way Peter and John astonished the religious leaders. Then connect yourself to that person and/or those people and spend time with them. Be persistent. Invite them to coffee. Invite them over for dinner. Invite them to something, anything. If you can, find a Spirit filled Jesus follower who shares a common interest with you. If you can’t do that then find out what they’re interested in and become interested in whatever that is yourself. Be intentional about connecting. The thing about doing this is that after you’re in a pattern of spending time with people who resemble Jesus, you hardly even have to try anymore. As Gabriel pointed out, just by being around them you’ll start to act the way they do. Like Peter and John you’ll communicate better, and you’ll love God better, and you’ll love the people around you more like Jesus loved the people around him. If you didn’t do anything else on this list you would be on your way to becoming a changed man or woman.
Changed more into the likeness of Jesus.
In fact, this is so important, I’m going to stop here. Just do number one on the list. Just focus on that for awhile. In our next post we’ll look at other ways you and I can be with Jesus.
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Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.