Let’s picture an award-winning astronomer

He has wild hair, red eyes, disheveled lab coat; ten pens stuck in the plastic protector in his breast pocket.

This man has discovered things that no man has ever seen before.

He has a constellation named for him and three comets named after his kids.

It’s now, 9:00 in the morning and he has just spent ten hours peering into his telescope and another two hours finishing up some paperwork.

And as he steps outside the door to his observatory, he says, “Hey, the sun is shining.”

Does a person have to be an award-winning astronomer to know that the sun is shining?

Not only doesn’t he have to be an astronomer, but he doesn’t even have to be able to see.

A perceptive blind person can know that the sun is shining by the direction of the warmeth on his face.

Peter and John, along with many other disciples, had spent over a month with the resurrected Jesus.

They had been filled with the Holy Spirit, Who had been promised and sent by the Lord Jesus.

They were wowed by the miracles on the Day of Pentecost.

Peter and John had been involved in the healing of a notable and long time invalid,

And they had clearly declared both before and after . . .

That it was through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that he was healed.

And now they were standing before the Jewish Supreme court telling then learned judges and lawyers:

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,

Whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead,

Even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”

And do you know what those Jewish geniuses concluded?

“Hey, the sun is shining.”

“They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

I hope that you don’t get too tired with me taking baby-steps through the Book of Acts.

(That could make a great title to this series: “Baby-steps through the Book of Acts”).

It seems that as I develop one message, I see a couple of points that don’t directly relate to that message.

They lead to another message, but that one is only a baby-step from the previous one.

Tonight, let’s think about “Association with Jesus.”

But I’m going to approach the subject through the eyes and hearts of the Sanhedrin.

What does this astronomer think about the brightness of the “SON?”

First, notice what they HEARD and SAW.

If they didn’t hear Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, and I’m sure that many of them did,

And if they didn’t hear Peter’s sermon just inside the Beautiful Gate, and I’m sure that some of them did,

Then at the very least they heard his defense before them in the council chambers.

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

If we … be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,

Whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead,

Even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Do you suppose that they heard Peter’s words without hearing what he said?

Every married person in this room knows that this is quite possible.

If they didn’t hear it, it was because of one, two or three things:

Because they didn’t want to hear it,

Or they couldn’t hear it because spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

Or they didn’t hear it because it was spoken by someone without proper credentials.

Herein is a lesson that we all need to learn:

Every once in a while someone from the other camp can say something that our camp needs to hear.

Every once in a while a Democrat is going to say something that the Republican needs to consider.

And once in a while the Methodist or the neo-evangelical is going to say something that is true.

The Arminian has some good lessons to teach the Calvinist.

And the Independent Baptist can learn from the Southern Baptist once in a while.

Sure these were scribes, priests and the learned elders of Zion, but they needed to hear what Peter was telling them about their Messiah.

And what was it that they SAW?

“And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.”

They saw the effects of the miracle, and their mouths were shut.

This was not the only miracle that they had the privilege of seeing.

There was also the transformation of the First Baptistic Ecclesia of Jerusalem.

There was the change and empowerment of the church in Jerusalem.

I know that we had a message on Christian courage, but let me emphasize and add a couple of thoughts:

Their boldness incorporated several other characteristics:

Calmness – Peter and John were cool, calm and collected – unflappable.

Faith – They knew that the Lord could get them out of this fix.

Truth – they told the truth, nothing but the truth and much of the truth.

Holiness – there was nothing sinful in their attitude or their actions.

And zeal – perhaps zeal is the best synonym for Christian boldness.

The Sanhedrin looked at these men and saw courage, character and Christian conduct.

And what was the SOURCE of these things that the Sanhedrin heard and saw?

These people obviously, had been with Jesus.

It’s difficult to get a good tan while living in a cave.

Obviously, these men had been out with the SON.

Second, think about what the Sanhedrin THOUGHT and what they HATED.

“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.”

The study of language is a marvelous hobby, and one of which I hope never to tire.

It’s mysterious and marvelous; challenging and changing.

For example: the Greek word for “unlearned” is just what you might guess it to be:

“Ignorant” is the Greek word “agrammatos” ( ag-ram-mat-os ).

“Grammatos” is the source for the English word “grammar.”

Grammar is the study of how words and their component parts combine to form sentences.

The prefix “a” is negative.

Agrammatos” means that these Christian preachers were not grammatarians.

But I said that the study of language is mysterious as well as marvelous.

There is no reason to believe that Peter and John were illiterate.

They could quote Isaiah, Psalms and the books of Moses, because they were reading those books.

The Sanhedrin was only saying that these two preachers had not been schooled in their colleges.

They didn’t have that Ivy League, Boston academic accents to their voices.

They had GED degrees instead of PhD’s.

Secondly, can you guess what is the Greek word for “unlearned”?

It is …….. (drum roll) – “idiotes” – ( id-ee-o’-tace ),

The priests of Israel called Apostles of Christ ignorant idiots.

Were they imbeciles or mentally retarded?

Of course they were not.

But the point is: neither were they graduates of Southwestern Theological or Union Theological Seminary.

Every once in a while I stand in the presence of someone with a graduate degree from some big University.

And on other occasions it’s a person with a Doctorate of Theology from this seminary or that one.

This man graduated from Dallas Theological, or Bob Jones University, or Tennessee Temple.

And they ask me where I received my theological training.

“Oh, I graduated from the three year course at Baptist Bible College, Springfield.”

And no, it’s not Springfield, Mass., or even Springfield, Ohio.

I went to Springfield, Missouri where the State animal is a mule, and the state motto is: “Show me.”

But, you know, the inferior quality of my outward education has not given me an inferiority complex.

As far as I know, no one has called me ignorant or an idiot, at least to my face,

But people did use the words “ignorant” and “unlearned” in describing men far greater than I am.

Education doesn’t mean salvation; nor does it mean spiritual elevation.

University degrees do not mean instant access to the eternal decrees of God.

Intelligence is not necessarily a hindrance to faith, but can certainly divert a needy heart.

Turn to I Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

But unto them which are called, both Jews & Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

That no flesh should glory in his presence.

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Those priests and scribes looked down their intellectual noses at Peter and John.

They despised them for their low standing and position in the world.

But they hated them even more that now they had the ear of the rest of the ignorant and unlearned residents of the city of Jerusalem.

As we’ve said before these priests were jealous of the disciples.

They were jealous about the effect, but certainly not about the cause of the disciples’s popularity:

These two had been with Jesus.

But the Sanhedrin, for the most part, had turned their backs upon Him or spit upon Him.

Third, let’s notice what they CONCLUDED and DID.

The Sanhedrin heard the preaching and saw the former crippled man, but they had no natural explanation.

Obviously, their power didn’t come from the Jews, or their education, or their natural abilities.

And for some reason they didn’t even attribute it to Beelzebub.

So they properly concluded, that these had been with Jesus.

What Jesus of Nazareth had possessed before they executed Him, He had somehow passed on to these disciples.

These men had been standing in the light and now their faces radiated the glory of God.

And the point is:

What we might lack as human beings, can be more than overcome by the omnipotence of Jehovah.

There was a widow with a small boy in the midst of a famine, and the immediate future looked black.

She had nothing but a few ounces of oil,

But what she lacked in oil, the Lord made up in grace.

Neither she nor her son ever went hungry.

Jonathan and his armor-bearer were only two men against the Philistine Sanhedrin,

But those two had the garrison surrounded,

Because they had been with Jesus – so as to speak.

Gideon had only 300 against the Midianite and Amalekite hords, but what are so many against so few?

These two disciples had been with Jesus;

They had spent more than three years with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

And the omnipotence of God makes up for any lack in His human servants.

So the Sanhedrin did just about the only thing that they could – they threatened and then retreated.

In other words: it pays to be with Jesus.