Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled…
I. AS A SPIRITUAL POSSIBILITY. By many lightly esteemed, by some ignored, and by others denied, fellowship with Him in His work, word, worship, is real (1 John 1:3). As real now as with the disciples of Emmaus, as with the youths in the fire, as with Paul, John, or Peter.
II. AS AN ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCE. However ignored or denied, it a necessity of spiritual life. Christ cannot be known but by fellowship.
1. It is the initial act of living faith. Consciously or unconsciously, each soul that seeks has fellowship. The woman touched hem of garment, and fellowship resulted, though she knew not its meaning. So in prayer of contrite as well as in sublimest communion.
2. It is the constant solace of earnest spirits: Mid life's perplexing problems and heavy sorrows, this is support. It is indispensable. The body would as soon forget to breathe as the heart to talk with and lean upon Christ. "Lo I am with you alway," is Christ's promise: "I am continually with Thee," is the heart's reply.
III. AS A MORAL INSPIRATION The apostles possessed the secret of true courage. They, of all men, could be bold —
1. Because they believed and did the right. They knew their mission and their message So be Divine; this made them invincible. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" "Who is he that shall harm you if you be followers of that which is good?"
2. Because they believed and did the right from a right motive. They were no time-servers. Many can do the right when such doing is popular. Inquiring too often what will please, what will suit, not what is right, what will profit.
3. Because they believed and did the right from a right motive under the immediate inspiration of Christ. Here was the true secret of courage. "Fear not, for I am with thee"; "Go in this thy might."
IV. AS THE SECRET OF REAL INFLUENCE. "They took knowledge of them," etc. Priests and scribes and rulers felt the force with which these men spoke. They exerted an influence which —
1. Transcended social distinctions; they were but fishermen.
2. Surpassed educational attainments. "They were unlearned and ignorant men."
3. Lies within our reach. It was when Jacob had been alone with God that he was enabled to meet and to overcome his brother. Be much with Christ, and you shall be a prince amongst men.
(W. H. Burton.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.