The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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      John Wesley asserted, “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God and I will shake the world. I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen and such alone will overthrow the kingdom of Satan and build up the Kingdom of God on earth.”     
      Recorded in Acts 3 and 4 is the account of Peter and John’s encounter with a 40-year old lame beggar who sat daily at the temple gate hoping to receive a monetary, albeit temporary blessing, from those entering the temple to pray. God used Peter and John, however, to supply the lame man with something much more significant than alms. Rather, Peter invited the lame man to experience a life touched by the power of Jesus and lived in relationship with Him…a life filled with opportunity, purpose, and adventure. To this end, Peter declared “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
      The healing of the lame man gave Peter a unique opportunity to preach Jesus at Solomon’s Colonnade (3:11-26) resulting in 5,000 new believers in Jesus (4:4). Peter’s teaching and preaching garnered the attention of the Jewish religious leaders who were greatly disturbed and had Peter and John put in jail (Acts 4:2-3).  When questioned by the ruling council regarding the authority and power through which the miracle of healing had occurred and the resurrection of the dead was proclaimed, Peter offered a Spirit-filled reply, “If we are being called into account for an act of goodness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this…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” (Acts 4:9-10).     
      As followers of Jesus Christ, Peter and John set forth to do what their Master had done. Even as Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), Peter and John were simply ministering to someone in need while doing good (“an act of goodness shown to a cripple”) in a manner that was both consistent with Jesus’ actions and in accordance with his instructions to continue serving others in his name and with his authority (John 20:21; Matthew 28:18).
      Courageous followers of Jesus Christ are used by our Lord to lead others to Him (4:13). As Peter continued responding to his adversaries, he proclaimed boldly and without hesitation “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (4:12). Peter and John had been called before the Sanhedrin and placed in jail overnight. Nonetheless, Peter and John courageously continued their public witness (4:8-12). Jesus uses courageous people who will stand firm for Him even in the midst of possible consequences.                     Common, ordinary folks are used by our Lord to accomplish an extraordinary mission (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20). Peter and John were not trained theologians. They had not attended seminary. They were not appointed by any mission-sending agency. Certainly theological training and academic credentials have value but such are not a prerequisite for being a witness for Jesus and serving on mission for Him. A wise person once said, “Knowledge of the Savior without a college degree is more important than a college degree without knowledge of the Savior.” Prior to receiving Jesus’ call to follow, Peter and John were casting nets with the goal of catching fish. They were sun-burned, calloused hand, workaday world kind of men and Jesus invited them to leave their nets in order to begin the new adventure of fishing for men. Peter and John could have said “I don’t know enough” or “I can’t talk” or “I’m too young and inexperienced” or offered any number of other excuses. Rather, these common men immediately left their nets to follow Jesus. (Matthew 4:18-22).          
      These courageous and common disciples had an amazing impact as confirmed by the fact that  the key leaders of the Jewish religious establishment “were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus” (4:13). Both our verbal and visible witness should reflect that we have been with Jesus.
      Committed disciples are used by Jesus Christ to influence others to follow the Lord. In spite of the directive given to them by the Sanhedrin (4:18), Peter and John maintained the same level of commitment that had placed them in this situation in the first place. Despite possible consequences they remained faithful to their task as evidenced by Peter’s declaration “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (4:19-20). Jesus uses people who are committed in their witness of Him and in their service to Him.     
      The question “Who Does Jesus Use?” is summarized clearly and concisely through John Wesley’s challenging assertion. Jesus uses courageous followers. He uses common people. He uses committed disciples. Can He use you? Do others take note that you have been with Jesus? Who will you introduce to Him today?


Dear Heavenly Father, may I follow You completely. Thank you for entrusting an extraordinary mission to a common, ordinary person like me. Through my courage and commitment, may I represent You in such a way that others see You in me and may they be drawn to You through me. May my example of following You lead others to do likewise. Amen.