Day 334: Would I Really Rather Be Wronged? (1 Cor 6:7)

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? (1 Cor. 6:7)

Through the Bible: 1 Corinthians 5-8

Paul asks, “Wouldn’t you rather be wronged and cheated” than to have the name of Christ discredited in the eyes of the world?

This is a hard question for us to answer in the world today. Not long ago, I talked with a church member about this very issue. She and her husband had contracted with another church member to have some work done in their house. Unfortunately, the upgrade they wanted actually caused a lot of damage because of poor workmanship. They are now having to pay money they don’t have in order to repair what this church member can’t fix. The husband wants to just forget about it and eat the costs of getting the job done right. The wife wants the other church member to make it right. For his part, the other church member says he doesn’t have the money or the time to come back and do the job right.

So, yeah. Paul’s question isn’t rhetorical. Honestly, no: I WOULDN’T rather be wronged and cheated. This goes against every part of my human nature not to stand up for myself. Not to demand my rights. Not to plead my case.

Here, I think what Paul says in chapter 5 about sexual integrity can rightly be transferred to dealing with integrity in business. If you are not to associate with a sexually immoral person who bears the name “brother” (1 Cor 5:9-11), then a brother with sketchy business should be just as subject to church discipline as the man sleeping with his stepmother.

There are two questions we need to ask: “What does love require?” and “What protects the gospel?”

Love may require confronting the other church member. Love asks the question: “Do I care about this person enough to call him out on an integrity issue?” Or is it more loving to keep quiet and pay someone else to make the repairs, especially as this person is trying to get his business off the ground? I can’t say definitively that one or the other is the right thing to do in this situation, but at least I’m asking the right question. And asking the right question helps eliminate wrong responses. For example, love requires that I don’t torch the guy with a negative review online if I haven’t confronted him one on one. Love requires that I tell him why I couldn’t recommend him to someone else.

You also have to evaluate which does greater damage to the gospel: asking for a handyman to make it right, even if that means pursuing legal action, or allowing someone who is known in the community as a member of our church to continue to do shoddy work and not take responsibility for his actions?

There’s not an easy answer, and maybe this is a good place to remember that the epistles were written to specific people at specific times to address specific issues. There are universal principles in the epistles, to be sure, but there are also specific circumstances. The trick with the epistles is to rightly discern which is which. Depending on your circumstances, the best two questions to ask may not be, “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?”

Instead, maybe the best two questions to ask are:

What does love require?

What protects the gospel?

Day 332: Tentmakers and Tailgaters (Acts 18:1-3)

“After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.” Acts‬ ‭18‬:‭1‬-‭3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Through the Bible, Acts 18-19

This morning I came across a fascinating article called “Going for the Gold: The Apostle Paul and the Isthmian Games” on the website The Isthmian Games, were a big deal, second only in prestige to the Olympics in Athens, and they were held every two years. Corinth was a sports crazy town all the time (think Boston), but during the Isthmian Games, the frenzy hit the next level. People came from all over the world to watch the Games, which consisted of boxing, wrestling, running, the discus and javelin throw, and even singing. In AD 66, Emperor Nero himself competed in the singing competition. His concert lasted several hours, and he had his soldiers block the exits from the theatre so no one could leave. He won (shocker)!

This paragraph in particular caught my attention:

Since there were no permanent accommodations at the site, the people stayed in tents in the surrounding fields. Fixing or selling tents would have given Paul and his new found colleagues, Aquila and Priscilla, ample employment as well as opportunities to share the gospel with those attending the Games.

This is where we see the genius and the practical strategy of Paul. Paul looked for three things when he sought to establish a new church. First, he tended to begin new work along important trade routes so the gospel could spread in every direction from that strategic point. There was no more strategic city than Corinth, which was situated on a narrow isthmus (hence, the Isthmian Games) between the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas. Today, a canal connects the two bodies of water, but in Paul’s day the streets were lined with shops, taverns, and brothels catering to the sailors taking good overland from one port to the other.

Second, Paul always looked for a synagogue and a strong community of Jews. Corinth had this (see Acts 18:4-5). He consistently sought to present the gospel to Jews first, and then would turn to the Gentiles when the Jews rejected it (Acts 18:5-7).

Third, Paul always looked for a way he could support himself. Yesterday, when we read 1 and 2 Thessalonians, you might have noticed how Paul emphasized not wanting to be a burden to the people he was preaching to (1 Thessalonians 2:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9), working with his hands (1 Thess. 4:10-12); and that if someone wasn’t willing to work, they shouldn’t be allowed to eat. For Paul, this was central to his ministry.

So the Isthmian games gave Paul a perfect opportunity to advance the gospel according to his standards of ministerial ethics. These first century tailgaters needed tents, and Paul and Aquila and Priscilla were happy to provide them. They heard the gospel. And when the Games were over, they took the gospel back home with them. No wonder Paul stayed there a year and a half (Acts 18:11)!

There are so many lessons for us today. As we think about beginning new work, we don’t just throw a dart at a map and pray that God will bless wherever it lands. We can be strategic. We can go where the people are. We can use the gifts we’ve been given, even the ones that aren’t obviously related to ministry. We can develop a reputation for hard, honest work in the community. And we can call other believers alongside us to both encourage us and partner with us. I am thankful for these models of bivocational ministry.

Day 331: The Ministers’ Job Description (1 Thessalonians 5:14-23)

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thess 5:14-23)

Through the Bible: 1 Thessalonians 1-5; 2 Thessalonians 1-3

It strikes me that there probably is not a better job description for pastoral ministry–or really any kind of church leadership, than what you see in this text.

From this passage, consider these twelve points for a job description for pastors:

  1. ADMONISH the idle and disruptive (v. 14): I need to speak warning to those who lack initiative.
  2. ENCOURAGE the fainthearted (v. 14): I need to speak courage to those who lack courage.
  3. HELP the weak (v. 14): I need to not just speak, but providerelief to those who lack strength.
  4. BE PATIENT with all (v. 14): I need to not get irritated or exasperated with those who lack maturity.
  5. REFEREE the arguments (v. 15): Verse 15 says, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” I need to speak peace to those who lack perspective.
  6. REJOICE always (v. 16): I need to speak joy to those who lack vision.
  7. PRAY without ceasing (v. 17): I need to speak to God in those times I lack faith.
  8. GIVE THANKS in all circumstances (v. 18): I need to speak thankfulness to those who lack gratitude.
  9. RELEASE the Spirit (v. 19): Verse 19 says “Do not quench the Spirit.” I need to be sensitive to the Spirit’s work and movement in those times I lack flexibility.
  10. DISCERN the Word (v. 20-21): Verse 20 says “Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all, hold to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” I need to speak truth to those who lack wisdom.
  11. REJECT evil (v. 22): I need to speak against anything that lacks goodness.
  12. YIELD to the Lord (v. 23): Verse 23 promises that “the God of peace himself [will] sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I need to be surrendered in those areas I lack holiness.

And the amazing promise from God’s Word for everyone in Christian service?

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Day 330 (Again): Did Paul “Fail” at Mars Hill? (Acts 17:18-34)

Mars Hill, Athens, Greece

“Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭17‬:‭32‬-‭34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Through the Bible: Acts 17

I don’t know what to make of Paul’s sermon at Mars Hill. On one hand, it is held up as a model for presenting the gospel in a culturally relevant way to skeptics and unchurched people. On the other hand, the description of the results in verses 32-34–“some men joined him and believed”—seem pretty tepid compared to those in Thessalonica (v. 4) and Berea (v. 14).

Notably, Paul didn’t plant a church in Athens. There’s not an epistle to the Athenians. And apparently, Paul didn’t stay long. The very next verse (18:1) just says “after this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.” And at that point, the most prominent city in the Greek world drops out of the history of the New Testament.

Understandably, some will look at the title of this blog post and have a strong negative reaction: “How can you suggest it was a failure? God’s word went forth, and it never returns void—it always accomplishes its purposes!” (see Isaiah 55:11). That is true. Others will say, “Some people believed. And if even one person responds to the gospel, you can’t call it a failure.” That is also true.

Paul does indeed model some great practices for speaking to unchurched people. He gives a shout out to the local culture in verse 23, when he comments on the Athenians’ altar to an unknown God. He skillfully pivots to a gospel proclamation: “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” He even drops a couple of pop culture references by quoting some Greek poets (v. 28).

But notice what’s missing. There’s no cross in the sermon. There’s no Jesus in the sermon. Now, you can give Paul the benefit of the doubt and say that he had been preaching Jesus and the resurrection earlier in the marketplace (see verse 17-18). But it almost seems like, when he got to the big stage of the Areopagus, he lost his nerve. He forgot the message that got him there in the first place.

Remember that Paul went to Corinth from Athens. Notice, then, what Paul says to the Corinthians years later, as he reflected on the experience: “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimonyof God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of menbut in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:1-4).

Beloved, we can learn a lot from Paul’s approach as we are interacting with unbelievers. But take a moment to consider that God’s Word may be teaching us as much about what not to do as it is what to do. Effectiveness is never about our cleverness or relevance. It’s about the spirit’s power. A sermon without Christ and Him crucified is no sermon at all. And no matter how much we seek to be culturally relevant, we are not likely to see a demonstration of the Spirit’s power just because we quote the lyrics from a Taylor Swift song. 

Day 330: Be a Berean (Acts 17:10-11)

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11)

Through the Bible: Acts 17

I was the speaker for a youth camp years ago. The crowd was enthusiastic and engaged. I was funny; I preached in a simple, memorable way. I was getting a lot of positive feedback, including more than the usual amount of kids shouting “Amen!” and, “Preach!” If you’ve ever preached, you know that this is like crack cocaine for the preacher. We get addicted to people shouting “Amen.” Sometimes we like hearing “Amen” so much that we’ll ask for it. We’ll say, “Amen?” just so they will yell back, “Amen!”

So one night I tried an experiment. I was preaching on the story of Jesus walking on water, and on Peter stepping out onto the waves to follow Him (if you need a refresher, go to Matthew 14:22-33). The kids were into it as I told the story. When I got to the point where Jesus invites Peter to come out onto the water, I said, “And as soon as Peter stepped out onto the water, the sea became as smooth as glass, and it was like an eight lane interstate opened up between him and Jesus. Amen?”

Now, if you know the story, that’s not what happened at all. In fact, the Bible says that when Peter saw the waves, he was afraid, and he started to sink (see Matthew 14:30). Nevertheless, a lot of the kids called out “Amen!” Just because I asked for it.

I used that to hopefully teach those teenagers something. I said, “No it didn’t!! Read your Bible!! And don’t EVER just blindly agree with what a preacher says from the stage just because he’s funny, or good looking, or because he asks for an “amen” and you just want to be polite.”

I love that the Bereans were enthusiastic and eager to receive the Word. I’ll bet they were a joy to preach to. And I imagine that they gave the kind of feedback to their preachers and teachers that Bible teachers thrive on. But they did it with discernment. They checked what their teachers said against Scripture, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

Beloved, be Bereans! The daily discipline of time in God’s Word is developing discernment within you. By all means, encourage your preachers and teachers, and let them know they are doing a good job. Seriously, we love that. But do not affirm what Scripture doesn’t affirm. Examine your Scripture to see if what the preacher is saying is so.

Day 329: Fruit, Not Fruits (Galatians 5:22-23)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22‬-‭24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Through the Bible: Galatians 4-6

I like blueberries, but not bananas. I like cantaloupe, but not watermelon. If I get a fruit cup at a restaurant, I’ll typically pick out the fruit I don’t like.

The fruit of the spirit is not like a fruit cup. It’s more like a mixed-fruit smoothie. I don’t get to choose peace but pick out self control. I can’t choose faithfulness (reading my Bible every morning) and leave love in the bottom of the cup (while I switch over to my news app and rant about people on the other side of the political fence).

James 3:12 says, “Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs?” And the obvious answer is no. We produce the fruit of whatever we are a part of, and each plant produces fruit after its kind. So if Jesus is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5), then the only fruit we are going to produce is Christlikeness, in all its forms.

So if God is love (1 John 4:8), then maybe the fruit of the spirit is love, and every other item on Paul’s list is a manifestation of love. Many Christian writers have linked each fruit back to love. Here are some of my favorites:

From Bill Bright: Joy is love’s strength; Peace is love’s security; Patience is love’s endurance; Kindness is love’s conduct; Goodness is love’s character; Faithfulness is love’s confidence; Gentleness is love’s humility; Self-control is love’s victory.

From Nicky Gumbel: Joy is love rejoicing,
peace is love at rest,
patience is love waiting,
kindness is love interacting,
goodness is love initiating,
faithfulness is love keeping its word,
gentleness is love empathising,
self-control is love resisting temptation.

From DL Moody: Joy is love exalted; peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love enduring; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love in school; and temperance is love in training.

Maybe you can journal your own list today as part of your quiet time. But the point is, it all comes back to love. Don’t leave any part of the fruit of the spirit in the bottom of the cup. Drink it all down.

Day 327: Same Circumstance, Different Purpose (Acts 16:25-34)

28 But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because we’re all here!  29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Through the Bible: Acts 15-16

In Acts 16, we see the birth of the church in Philippi, one of the strongest of Paul’s church plants and the recipient of my favorite of Paul’s epistles, Philippians. The church had humble beginnings. It probably would never had been birthed at all if the Holy Spirit hadn’t twice prevented Paul from going somewhere else (see 16:6-7). Its first three converts were a rich businesswoman (16:14), a formerly demon-possessed slave girl (16:6-8), and a jailer (16:25-34).

There’s a lot of similarities between this story of Paul and Silas in prison and the story of Peter in prison in Acts 12:6-11. Both Peter and Paul are in chains (verse 24; compare Acts 12:6). It was at night (verse 25; 12:6). Then, in both stories, God showed up in a big way. In Acts 12, an angel woke Peter up, his chains fell off (12:7), and the iron gate opened (12:10). In Acts 16, Paul’s chains fell off (v 26) and all the prison doors were thrown open (v 27).

The difference between the two stories is in what happened next. Peter walked out of the prison because the angel told Peter to follow him (Acts 12:9). But there was no angel giving instructions in chapter 16, so Paul stayed put. And this staying put-ness had such an impact on the jailer that he and his whole family became believers (16:31-34). Not only did Paul not leave when all the cell doors popped open, he refused to leave the next day, when the magistrates tried to make him go away quietly (16:35-36).

There are some great lessons in these two stories. The first is the role of obedience. Peter obeyed by doing what the angel told him to do. Paul obeyed by not doing what he had not been told to do.  Even though the circumstances were nearly identical, obedience would look different because God’s purposes were different. God’s purpose in Acts 12 was to save Peter. His purpose in Acts 16 was to save the jailer.

The challenge is to listen to what God is saying to you in your particular situation, at this particular time, for His particular purpose. While it’s always helpful to hear from other people who have faced similar circumstances, don’t assume that you are supposed to do exactly the same thing. Watch for how God is working in your circumstance, and rejoice at how He is accomplishing His purpose through you.

Day 326: The Prayer Offered in Faith (James 5:13)

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Through the Bible: James 1-5

In February of 2020, just before the pandemic shut the world down,  I went on a mission trip to South Asia. Now, as my wife would quickly tell you, I tend to be a bit of a last minute planner. But with this trip, I actually thought I was ahead of the game when, three weeks before, I went to where I thought my passport was…

…And I couldn’t find it.  My wife and I had searched the house top to bottom and we still couldn’t find it.

So with two two weeks to go, I called Passport Control to schedule an appointment to get a rush passport. I was already within the timeframe where even an expedited passport would be impossible without going to the office in person. The first available appointment would be January 30. Two business days before departure.

Then came the matter of trying to rush a visa. It is possible to get a visa within three days of travel, but not two. Which means the only way to get the visa would be to show up at a passport office before my scheduled appointment and hope they would take me as a walk in.

Up until the week before I was to leave, I had told just a few people about my predicament. I was embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I had been so irresponsible. But at our church’s Wednesday night prayer meeting, I stood in front of my church and admitted my foolishness. Embarrassed that a member of my search committee, the chair of the deacons when I was called, and at least two people who had provided financially for the trip were going to hear their lead pastor admit to such boneheaded procrastination. But I asked them to pray for me.

The next day, I went home for lunch and realized there was one closet upstairs I had not looked through.

And there it was. Sitting on top of a box. Right in front of the door. It might has well have been propped up on an easel with a spotlight shining on it.

So two things I learned from this. First, prayer works. Duh. I was teaching  a series on prayer during this whole episode, but it took this debacle to teach me this.

But second, prayer works when we humble ourselves enough to admit we need it. Too often, our prayer meetings are filled with requests for other people, and occasionally the tentative hand raised for “an unspoken request” (which is often code for something we are embarrassed to mention). Is it possible that God waited until I admitted my need to my faith family before graciously answering it?

If there is something you are in need of, even if it is embarrassing to admit it, admit it anyway. Maybe there are some prayers that don’t get answered until our need for help outweighs our need to save face.

Day 322: Just Deacons? (Acts 7-8)

Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1526), Sermon of St. Stephen

56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:56-59)

In yesterday’s reading, we read the story of the first church conflict. The Hellenists (Jews from a Greek background) complained to the Hebrews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. The twelve apostles convene the first church business meeting, and say, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables” (Acts 6:2). Which had always sounded a little arrogant to me, until I became a pastor myself. Then I began to realize firsthand how the tyranny of the urgent can often bog me down and keep me from focusing on the one thing that I was called by the church to do: preach the word.

The apostles propose a solution: Choose seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty (Acts 6:3). And that’s just what they do. Significantly, all seven men that were chosen have Greek names, so they were probably Hellenistic Jews themselves. These seven men became the first deacons. As a result of their appointment, the widows were taken care of, and the word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly.

The first two men listed were Stephen and Philip, and we read about their stories today. Stephen became the first martyr, and Philip became the first missionary. Through these two men, the promise of Acts 1:8 began to be fulfilled:

You will be my witnesses… The word for witness is marturia. Jesus told the disciples that they would be His martyrs, and Stephen was the first.

…In Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Through Philip, the gospel first came to Samaria (Acts 8:5). Then, through that same Philip, the gospel spread from Palestine to Ethiopia (Acts 8:26-40).

Neither man ever said, “Hey, I’m just a busboy. I’m just a waiter. You need someone to preach a sermon? That would be Peter. You want someone to take the gospel to Samaria, pick one of the apostles. But not us. We’re just deacons.”

The Holy Spirit has a funny way of expanding job descriptions, doesn’t He? Under His leadership, no one is ever “just” something. Peter, Andrew, James and John might have started out as just fishermen, but they didn’t stay that way. Matthew started off as just a tax collector, but he didn’t stay that way.

The Holy Spirit wants you to be more than just a stay at home mom. More than just an accountant. More than just a police officer. In obedience, will you allow Him to expand your job description today?

Day 321: A Couple of Idiots (Acts 4:13)

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

Through the Bible: Acts 4-6

Other than any season for my beloved Atlanta Braves, the 2004 Boston Red Sox are my favorite team ever. This was the year they won the World Series, breaking the 86 year “curse of the Bambino.” This was the year they came back from 0-3 against the hated New York Yankees (which included a humiliating 19-8 loss in Game Three).

And this was the year center fielder Johnny Damon gave his team the nickname, “The Idiots.” He explained the nickname in an interview. In the interview, he was being asked about how his team was responding to the longest drought between World Series championships in baseball history, to their collapse against the Yankees the year before, and to the pressure of delivering a championship to a baseball-crazy fanbase that was starved for one:

“We were our own team. We had our own identity. Well, shoot, we weren’t even around. Why do we feel this pressure? That’s why I was like, ‘We’re a bunch of idiots, we don’t care about any of the stuff that’s happened before.’ We knew then that our job was to go out and win right now. [1]

Without even realizing it, Johnny Damon was describing the call of every disciple of Jesus. Paul said that we are new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) who are “forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what is ahead… pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phiippians 3:14-15).

As for the “Idiots” part? Look at Acts 4. Peter and John had been arrested for boldly proclaiming the name of Jesus. They were brought before the Jewish council, who demanded to know by what authority they were saying and doing what they were doing. Peter gave them one of the clearest expressions of the need for Jesus in the entire New Testament: “Salvation is found in no. one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).

Verse 13 says that the members of the council saw the courage of Peter and John. They knew that they were “uneducated, common” men, and so they took note that they had been with Jesus.

In the Greek, the phrase “uneducated, common” is agrammatoi idiotai. Agrammatoi: without grammar, illiterate. Idiotai: Common. Ordinary. It’s where we get the word idiot.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John, and realized that they were a couple of illiterate idiots, they took note that they had been with Jesus.

Lord, I would call it a blessing if the only thing anyone took note of about me was that I had been with Jesus! That I could be an illiterate idiot, who nevertheless would stop worrying about my past or the pressure to impress, or any of the stuff that has happened before, and just get out there and win someone to Jesus.

Help me just to be an idiot today.

[1] “Genius Moniker: Origin of ’04 Sox ‘Idiots’”, Accessed 18 Nov. 2021.

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