An Unfair Advantage?

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13

‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:5-8

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
 ‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.’

John 16:7-15
It is easy to imagine that Peter and John had an unfair advantage over us. After all, they had been with Jesus when he lived on the earth as a human being. For three years they had walked, eaten and slept alongside him. They had heard him speak and witnessed the amazing things that he did. No wonder they had such compassion and boldness. No wonder God performed such powerful miracles through them!

Yet Jesus said that it was better that he went away because only then would he send the Holy Spirit. He made it clear that even though he was physically going away, his words would remain, and he even promised that, in a very tangible way, his followers would experience him with them always (Matthew 28:20).

It is true that Peter and John occupied a unique moment in history. They could say they had been with Jesus; they had heard his words, seen his example and known his presence. The wonderful truth is that all of these blessings are still available to every believer living on the Earth today. Read your Bible, not just occasionally but so that it truly “remains in you” (John 15:7). It contains Jesus’ words and describes his example. Surround yourself with the community of Christlike brothers and sisters God has given you and that example will become even more tangible.  Ask for him to fill you with his Spirit as he promised and wait expectantly until he does.  In the words of Spurgeon, “Oh! my brethren... If we could live like Peter and John; if our lives were living epistles of God, known and read of all men; if, whenever we were seen, men would take knowledge of us, that we had been with Jesus, it would be a happy thing for this world, and a blessed thing for us.”
  1. Close your eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind some of Jesus’ words that you have read before. Don’t worry if you can’t remember the reference or the complete verse (Google can help you track it down later!).  Let Jesus’ words challenge, instruct and comfort you afresh today.
  2. Is the example of Jesus made even more tangible to you by the community of Christlike men and women around you? If it is, then thank God for them. If it isn’t then ask God to help you to become part of such a community.
  3. Ask your Father in Heaven to fill you with his Holy Spirit again today so that you can truly know the presence and power of Jesus with you. If you don’t understand what this means or feel stuck in some way, ask your Life Group leader to help you.
Dear Jesus, I thank you that you that by your Holy Spirit, you are present with me right now.  I thank you for your words that are available to me in the pages of my Bible and for the community of your people that I am part of. Help me to be diligent in taking full advantage of all the ways you have provided to enable me to be with you. May this be evident to the people I interact with today. May they take note that I have been with Jesus! Amen
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by David Featherstone, who leads our Sutton venue.

If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.

Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

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