They had been with Jesus

Philip Rockey, Newington, CT

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 (Acts 4:13).

Peter and John were being watched as they preached and healed and the people took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Enoch went about the daily routine of life and it was said of him he walked with God and he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Abraham, through all the ups and downs of his experience was called the Friend of God. In spite of failures in his life, God said of David that he was a man after mine own heart.

As creatures of time, it is often difficult, especially in younger years, to look beyond this life into eternity and focus our lives in such a way that we are living in light of that soon coming day when our Lord Jesus Christ will return. Too often, convictions are brushed aside for the pleasure of the moment and opportunities for investment in another world are lost. For those of us who had the privilege of knowing Mr. MacLeod, there is a deep sense of loss but a realization that we have an example of a man characterized by godliness and one who walked with God. "Whose faith follow." In my early years, it was deeply impressed upon me that Mr. MacLeod was a man that knew God and walked with Him. As a young boy, I can recall riding in his big Chrysler and being in awe of him and now realize that it was a nearness to God and an enjoyment of His presence that was so evident.

There is no record of Enoch walking with God before the birth of Methuselah. God had revealed to him that the Flood would come after the death of his son and this was the turning point in Enochís life. What made the difference? He had come to grasp the realities of eternity. He did not know how long his son would live but the truth of Godís word to him had so gripped him that from that moment he walked with God. The things of time and this earth had lost their appeal. He was living for another world. The focus of every moment was eternity. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14). When people look at us, what do they see? Are we so busy that we have crowded God out of our lives? Can we say like Paul "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:8). Do we know that constant communion and fellowship so that when life is done it could be said he/she walked with God?

The power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ had transformed the outlook of Peter and John. They were no longer cowering behind locked doors, uncertain of tomorrow and the future. They spoke with boldness of a Saviour that not only had died for sin, but was now alive! Their hope was eternal, life had new meaning and they were living for another world. What a wonderful "tribute" it was to them that as others looked on, they recognized that these men were marked by the character of the Lord Jesus. "They had been with Jesus." The moments that they had spent with their Lord had left its mark on them. It was evident in their life, it was apparent in their words. The scorn and hatred of the world did not move them. Their joy and power in a resurrected Christ would move them beyond the words and actions of others to live in the good of a hope that is sure and eternal.

Paul was in such anticipation of the prospect of being at home with the Lord Jesus that he was in a strait between the two. "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Phil. 1:23). From the moment he saw the Lord Jesus on the Damascus road, his whole focus changed. The Lord Jesus Christ whom he once persecuted, was now the object of his service and devotion and he longed to be with Christ. How different would our lives be if we were to experience the fullness of walking with God and to know the reality of "being with Jesus?" What would be the impact on the world around us if we would let go of the things of this world and realize in our practical experience what it is to walk with God and sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus? What will be the testimony of our life when it is all over? How wonderful is the experience to which we are invited: to walk with God, be with Jesus and anticipate the day when we will be with Christ.