Ordinary and Not Very Smart

I love the moment in Acts 4:13 when Peter and John stand before the Sanhedrin (the Jewish court system) and speak with boldness from the Holy Spirit. They tell all the smart leaders this statement about Jesus: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” I love what happens next. We read this: “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.”

When Peter and John were filled with the Holy Spirit, it didn’t matter that they were ordinary or unschooled. What mattered was that they had been with Jesus. I’ve been in so many situations where I felt unschooled and ordinary–even with a PhD. I’m often in meetings with people much smarter than I am. I’m often in settings with brilliant people where I have to present and defend my ideas. What a comfort Acts 4 is in combination with other passages of scripture. I recalled the day I read Psalm 119: 97-99. The priest writes, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.” A Christ-follower becomes wiser and more insightful than we can imagine. When you enter a room, if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are the smartest, most powerful person in that room. It’s astonishing to consider this. 

Sometimes people are afraid of stepping out in ministry because they don’t feel qualified or smart enough. They don’t share their faith because they don’t have all the answers. Today, I remembered the encouragement from scripture that Peter and John were also technically unqualified and not smart enough. The Holy Spirit qualified them; Jesus gave them the wisdom and insight they needed. And they didn’t need to be afraid to enter any room with the smart people in town. 

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