Originally Posted by Mike Young April 2007
I love Acts 4:13, 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. Wow! What a tribute to the power of time spent with Jesus. This sentiment is attributed to the Sanhedrin after having heard Peter’s impassioned testimony concerning the resurrection of Christ and his power to heal and provide salvation. This is the same Peter who just a few weeks earlier had attempted to kill Malchus, the servant of the high priest, during the arrest of Jesus and denied Jesus three times on the morning of his crucifixion.
There is no doubt that, of all the disciples, Peter is the one who was roughest around the edges. There are many things about Peter that intrigue me. And, I guess he intrigued Christ as well. There is much in the gospel accounts about the interactions between Christ and Peter. Christ knew (obviously) that Peter was destined for leadership in the church. Peter didn’t know this and so Jesus had to do a lot of work with him.
Those rough edges that made Peter so memorable would have to be smoothed a bit in order to prepare him for the work ahead.
The real challenge is smoothing out the roughness without extinguishing the fire within him.
It’s the passion that made him a great leader.
This makes me think about raising sons.
Our three boys remind me of Peter. Tim, Zach and Ben are pretty energetic kids but I think Ben is the real fireball of the trio. Ben is the youngest. If you are the youngest in your family you may know what it’s like to be constantly playing catch-up to two older brothers. He lives in the shadow of Tim and Zach. So, automatically he has something to prove. He goes out of his way to demonstrate that he is as strong and tough as his brothers and their friends. Consequently, he’s easily tougher and more adventurous than they were at his age. Because he doesn’t want anyone to see him as the little boy, he is aggressive and assertive; sometimes to a fault. (Let me just say this- If Ben had been in the garden with Christ, he would have taken a poke at Malchus too!)
Also like Peter, he has a little trouble with his mouth. He can get himself into some pretty ugly predicaments with things that he says to the wrong people at the wrong time. (Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Matt.16:22-23) He also makes promises he can’t keep. (Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will. Matt. 26:34) And sometimes steps out into dangerous and uncertain situations then gets scared. (But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matt. 14: 30)
Now, I don’t want to paint a picture here of a boy who is out of control. He’s not; usually. He’s just got a fire inside of him that I hope is never quenched. I don’t want to do anything that will destroy his sense of confidence, adventure, responsibility or his courage.
I know God can use men like I expect he will become.
Men who are ready for action and adventure.
Men who are not afraid to step out into difficult or dangerous situations.
Men who are fiercely loyal.
Men who fail but then get up again.
Men who live UP!
Now, look back at Acts 4:13. A man with these characteristics and qualities can be transformed into an amazing church leader and a catalyst for kingdom work if he spends time with Christ. Guys, God gave Ben his incredible spirit. Stacy and I are responsible for placing Christ before him and him before Christ. We must make sure that his roughness is smoothed and polished in such a way that he is ready to be used by Christ. We must also pray over him so that he will desire that close walk with Christ and submit to His authority.
Needless to say that’s a challenging mandate. One that is overwhelming at times. But, let’s all remember as we raise our children that ordinary becomes extraordinary when Christ is involved.