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
You have been influenced by the people around you. For good or for bad, you can’t avoid that your life is going to be impacted by others. This happens in a variety of places. Arturio Sandoval was a sidekick to and student of Dizzy Gillespie. So, when you listen to him play the trumpet, you can hear the way Dizzy influenced his musical style.
It extends itself to a person’s political views, manner of speaking, writing, artistic and designing style. It shows up in cooking, dressing, parenting, sports, methods of leadership, and even the waging of war. We all are some kind of reflection of the influences that shape us – whether it was to emulate what we want to be, or to avoid some direction we don’t want to go.
I know that the way I preach, teach, and write, is a combination of influences – my father, my professors, and others whom I have read and listened to over the years. I have more than once been told “I can see a lot of your dad in you.” And, today, I have heard someone say a similar thing to my son.
I think that one of the reasons that C. S. Lewis developed such a great mind was his habit of surrounding himself with other great minds. He seemed to understand that discussing and debating his thoughts with others who were also sharp made him a better thinker and writer. So, he met on Thursday evenings with other professors and writers at Oxford to discuss and critique their latest works, and he would often go on day-long walks, taking along someone with him to discuss and debate.
I have often thought about the notice of Acts 4:13. Luke includes it, along with a few other details. He left out a lot there too, but he included this detail of what was rolling through the minds of the Jewish Council as they, in frustration, attempted to shut down Peter and John from proclaiming Jesus. “They took note that these men had been with Jesus.” They noticed they were unschooled, ordinary men – fishermen, actually. Can you hear the conversation they were whispering to each other? “How do these guys, with no education, Galileans, end up teaching crowds in the temple? And then, they just stand here in front of us with an attitude like they were talking to any other person on the street! What’s going on here?” And then someone points out the thing they didn’t want to accept, “These were some of the men who were disciples of Jesus.”
The only explanation to what was going on was that these men had been with Jesus. You and I know that they were bold because they had not only been taught by Jesus and sent by Jesus, but they had also been witnesses to His death and to the fact that He had risen from the dead. And now, with His Holy Spirit poured out on them, they were doing what Jesus had told them to do.
Jesus Himself said, “…everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40). That means, if we’re serious about this, that the people who are around us should be seeing Jesus in us. If we’ve spent time talking to Him, listening to His word, and talking about Him, it will show up in our lives. It may that the greatest compliment anyone can pay us would be to notice that we’ve “been with Jesus.” Are they noticing?