You Have Been With Me
July 3, 2022
And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning (John 15:27).
Why had the witness of the disciples been so powerful and convincing after the ascension of Jesus into heaven? Of course, it was greatly affected by the Holy Spirit, but there is no denying that it was also greatly affected by their ‘being with Jesus’. (Acts 4:16-21) "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.
When the disciples continued to preach and teach the Gospel in the name of Jesus, the Sanhedrin met again to decide what further action they could take against the disciples. In the course of their debate (Acts 5:34-39), one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: "Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it - lest you even be found to fight against God."
Theudas and Judas of Galilee had not been with Jesus, and Jesus was not with them in their ‘witness’. But the disciples had been with Jesus, and clearly Jesus was with them. The counsel of Gamaliel was indeed wise, and I believe was led by the Holy Spirit even though Gamaliel was not a believer in Jesus Christ.
Note carefully the witness and example of the Holy Spirit in the disciples. Neither hostility nor hatred, threat of death or death itself, could quench the passion of these men in their ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were bold, not fearful; clear, not confusing; consistent, not inconsistent; simple, not complex; faithful, and not compromising in their spiritual walk and witness concerning Jesus. Truly they had been with Jesus and continued to walk with Jesus all the way into glory. May it be said of us in our ministry of His Gospel to our generation, that we have been with Jesus. Amen.