Ordinary People – Extraordinary Impact

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of men who believed now totaled about 5,000.

The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,

‘The stone that you builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves. – Acts 4:1-15

Dragonfly (slightly out of focus) | Florida Everglades | May 2019

 

What do the simple folk do?

What do the simple folk do
To help them escape when they’re blue?
The shepherd who is ailing, the milkmaid who is glum
The cobbler who is wailing from nailing his thumb
When they\’re beset and besieged
The folk not noblessly obliged
However do they manage to shed their weary lot?
Oh, what do simple folk do we do not?

So goes the song from Camelot. It reveals the divide between ordinary, simple folk – heartland of America folks – and the elite of society. Hollywood celebs. Sports stars. Political powerhouses. Business tycoons.

Simple folks are the stock and trade of the Christian faith. They are the ones who populate the pews of American churches. They are the ones who go to work day after day. They are the ones who embody the values that sustain our nation.

They are the ones to whom the gospel came, and through whom it was propagated. Paul says it this way:

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Not all the people in the Early Church were common folk. Luke dedicates his two New Testament works to “Most Excellent Theophilus,” a title that indicates honor and a significant life station. There are encounters in the Gospels with rulers and important people as well as the common folk. But the witness of the most famous has little power compared to the heart-felt witness of a close friend. The power of God is not revealed in persuasive words of wisdom, but in the sincere actions of sincere Jesus followers notable or ordinary.

The extraordinary work of God is being accomplished by ordinary people who spend time with Jesus. I aspire to be one of those ordinary people whom God chooses to use for his glory. Just like these men of God who were seen to be ordinary men who had spent time with Jesus. Perhaps I just need to spend more time with Jesus. How about you?

4 comments
  1. Celeste May said:

    (just a side note – as soon as I saw the song lyrics, I began to sing them in my head. One of my favorite movies!)

    • Catchy little tune isn’t it! I wore out a cassette tape of the soundtrack on my travels between Vernal Utah and Rangely Colorado (my first {dual} parish) I served between 1979-1983. > >

  2. dianne moses said:

    While struggling to understand an abrupt change in the treatment of my complicated health issue, I read this Reflections and I am reminded to hold onto Isaiah 41:13. A simple verse, yet always so powerful in the midst of our anguish! Thank you for your dedication Pastor Bahn

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Dianna, I continue to have your name before me. Now I know why. I put you on my calendar, and regularly it pops up: “Pray for Dianna Moses”. You are precious to God, and in my prayers! God’s peace be yours! In Jesus… David Bahn

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