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.Acts 4:13 NIV
From our perspective, 2000 years later, Peter and John were giants of the faith, chief among the apostles. But to the religious leaders of their day, they were simple fishermen. Ordinary and untrained beyond the basic education every young boy would be provided. But they certainly did not act like unschooled and ordinary men when they were on trial before the Sanhedrin because of their preaching. They had a boldness about them that astonished the religious elite of Jerusalem. What could account for this transformation of otherwise ordinary people?
To these religious leaders, the only thing that seemed to set them apart from any other ordinary person of the day was that they had spent time with Jesus. Luke gives us one other difference. At the beginning of Peter’s defense, Luke said he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter and John had spent three years learning from Jesus. And now they spoke in the power of the Holy Spirit. No longer were they ordinary untrained men.
We do not have the opportunity today to actually spend time in the physical presence of Jesus. But we can spend time with him in prayer and meditation on his word. And we still have the Holy Spirit to empower us. While there is nothing wrong with formal education, it is not needed to transform ordinary people into spirit-filled believers who can accomplish great things. Spend time with Jesus. Be filled with the Spirit. And be transformed.