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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