Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled…
The apostles are called unlearned and ignorant, or private men, i.e., men of private education. They were not men who then appeared unlearned and ignorant. The freedom with which they spake, their knowledge of the Scriptures, and the force of their reasoning, convinced the rulers that they were at that time men of superior abilities and acquirements. But it was matter of wonder how these men who had only had a private education, and never had been instructed in the Jewish schools, should so speak; but the fact that "they had been with Jesus" was sufficient to account for it all. It is here observable, that though Christ chose men of private education, yet He sent them not forth to preach until they had been for some time under His own immediate instruction': Paul, whose early education had been superior, was previously instructed in the doctrines of the gospel by Ananias. Even in that day, when uncommon gifts were bestowed by the Spirit, a preparatory education was ordinarily required for the gospel ministry. Novices were not to be introduced into so great and important aa office. How absurd is it, then, in this day, when supernatural gifts have ceased, for the unlearned and ignorant to assume, without a previous education, the work of public instruction!
I. THE EXPRESSION "BEING WITH JESUS" may be applied to —
1. All who enjoy the gospel. Peter and John, and their fellow disciples, were admitted to familiar converse with their Lord. You have His gospel, which communicates the instructions they heard, the works they beheld, the example they followed, and the devotions in which they joined. In regard therefore to all the purposes of faith, knowledge and virtue, you may be with Him as truly as they were. If a living voice will touch the heart more sensibly, yet the written word is better adapted to enrich your memory and improve your knowledge.
2. The true believer. He has received the renewing influence of the Spirit of Christ, and experienced the sanctifying power of his gospel. This the first disciples had. Barely to behold Christ's works and receive His instructions, was but a small thing compared with this. But there are times when true believers have special intercourse with Christ.
(1) In their private devotions.
(2) In social worship. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them."
(3) In the Holy Communion.
II. THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN WITH JESUS. Should —
1. Be watchful against all sin. You have seen Him who suffered death to redeem you from iniquity; how can you continue any longer therein?
2. As having been trained up under His instructions, excel in religious knowledge.
3. Show themselves to be like Him. Learn of Him to be meek and lowly, patient and contented, pious and heavenly.
4. Set their affections on things in heaven, for Jesus is there.
5. Like the apostles, discover zeal and fortitude in the cause of Christ.
6. Be loving.
(J. Lathrop, D. D.)
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.