Summary: The Holy Spirit takes ordinary people and works through them to do extraordinary things.
The book of Acts is sometimes called the Acts of the Apostles, because it is a historical record of the amazing things Jesusï¿½ Apostles were able to accomplish after they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They preached the good news about Jesus, and people believed and were saved. They performed miraculous signs and wonders; people were being healed at their touch. In this particular chapter, it was the healing of a crippled man which sparked this confrontation between the religious leaders and Peter and John. In the next chapter it says people were bringing the sick into the streets with the hope that when Peter passed by his shadow would fall on them, and they would be healed (5:15). The events in Acts are so incredible, so amazing, that we need to be reminded of what the religious leaders in our passage here recognize, that these disciples were unschooled, ordinary men (v. 13).
ï¿½When 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.ï¿½
1. Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
The Apostles were just ordinary guys from the worldï¿½s perspective, most of them working class, blue collar, hard working men. We know at least four of the twelve (including the three most prominent disciples) were fishermen. Not the most glamorous job in the world. Perhaps if they were around today they would appear with Mike Rowe on the show Dirty Jobs, I can just see Mike out there casting nets with them. The only schooling the disciples likely had was the school of hard knocks. Like so many others they learned their profession as an apprentice to their father. They learned the trade of their father who probably learned it from his father before him. The only education they picked up was in their home and in the synagogue. They never went to grade school, Bible college, or (get this) even seminary. Some of them might not have even been able to read or write. A while back I preached on Peterï¿½s first letter, and at the end it says this, ï¿½with the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast on it (1 Pet. 5:12).ï¿½ Perhaps Silas wrote the letter because Peter didnï¿½t know how to write.
Yet here are these ordinary, uneducated men, doing extraordinary things.
A couple chapters later we read about Stephen, another ordinary guy, who was chosen along with six others to administer a food program for the Christian widows. He was chosen for this task because he was ï¿½full of the Spirit and wisdom (6:3).ï¿½ Yet he too began doing wonders and miraculous signs. When the religious establishment challenged his miracle working, he began debating with them about Jesus, and the Bible says they could not stand up to his wisdom or the Spirit by which he spoke. Here were these highly trained, seminary educated men (okay rabbinical trained), some of the most knowledgeable people about the Bible in the world, who couldnï¿½t out debate Stephen regarding Jesus being the Messiah. So they just started fabricating lies against him, eventually leading to his death. What this passage reminds us is that God takes ordinary people and he does extraordinary things through them.