Acts 4:13-14 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. (Side note: I just threw in verse 14 because I like it too, but it’s not really the focus of what I’m writing about today. I just have to include it because I love reading scripture in context. Please go to Acts and read the whole story! It’s so good:).
I LOVE this scripture! It encourages me so much. So often I have felt unworthy, untrained, unsophisticated, un-whatever. I am like Jell-O, not crème brûlée. Not all shiny, refined and polished. But cheerful and bubbly. (I didn’t say that to go compliment fishing; I know I’m a little jiggly and giggly, but God uses all kinds of people, even Jell-O people.) And I’m perfectly okay with that now. For far too long, I’ve let the enemy whisper to me, “Who would listen to you? You’re silly. Shhh. Be quiet. You talk too much. What do you know?”
But what qualifies or disqualifies a person in the Kingdom of God isn’t their education, their amount of training, or the capital letters that come after their name. (Jennifer L. Ratliff, BSED in Sp Ed PK-12, aren’t you so impressed now?) “Oh my goodness, stop everything, I must listen to her now.” And if you have the whole alphabet behind your name, don’t be offended–praise God! That’s not a bad thing! God scatters His people into all parts of society. So please don’t think this is against education. Far from it! I love learning. I was a teacher for goodness’ sake! My ideal of a great Friday night is snuggling in for an exciting night of watching documentaries. Lol. Whether you’re Jell-O or crème brûlée, embrace it and surrender it for God’s glory!
Okay, back on topic, Jenny…. Let’s take a look at verse 13 to see what grabs the world’s attention in this story.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter & John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained, they marveled.
First of all, they SAW THEIR BOLDNESS. P & J didn’t let their lack of education hinder them, or even tame down their tongue. They weren’t fumbling for words, or using the wishy-washy speech of insecurity. That word boldness in the Greek is parrēsia, which means freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance. WOW!! They didn’t allow the fact that they were uneducated (in Greek is agrammatos- illiterate, unlearned or Jell-O) to stop them from testifying of what they knew was the truth—Jesus. Their boldness caught the religious elite off guard, especially when they perceived their lack of schooling. Honestly, their lack of formal education caused them to marvel- mouth dropped, scratching their heads. And it led the religious smarty pants of the day to know that they must’ve been with Jesus. Jesus has the amazing way of turning our “not enough” into more than enough when we’re with Him. Just ask the little boy with five loaves and two fish!
Instead of looking at our lack of fill-in-the-blank (crème brûlée-ness) as a hindrance, let’s start looking at it as an opportunity for God to get glory. And He can do that with anyone who has been WITH Him. For those of us who lack self confidence in particular, look at the great examples in the Bible we have… Moses, who said “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex 3:11) Now, God got upset at him for all his excuses. So don’t take this as, “Jenny said I could wallow in my lack of confidence and do nothing.” Uh-uh, no siree, you’re not blaming that on me!; Gideon, who asked for fleece after fleece for proof that God was with him and sending him. And God obliged him and confirmed time and time again His will and favor (not sure why there was a difference between God’s patience with him verses with Moses- if you have a thought on that, let me know;). I’m sure there’s even more, but I’d like to leave you with a verse from Gideon’s story in Judges 6.
“The Lord is with you, you mighty man (or woman) of valor or Jell-O!” Now, let’s go get’em! Let’s not let our lack of anything tame our testimony any more! Focus on being WITH Jesus, and He can cause the world to marvel through us.