Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, … they realized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13.
After the crucifixion of Christ, the disciples were a helpless, discouraged company—as sheep without a shepherd. Their Master had been rejected, condemned, and nailed to the ignominious cross. Scornfully the Jewish priests and rulers had declared, “He saved others; himself he cannot save.” …
But the cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The disciples rallied; their hopelessness and helplessness left them. They were transformed in character, and united in bonds of Christian love. They were but humble men, without wealth and with no weapon but the Word and Spirit of God, counted by the Jews as mere fishermen. Yet in Christ’s strength they went forth to witness for the truth and to triumph over all opposition. Clothed with the divine panoply, they went forth to tell the wonderful story of the manger and the cross. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence that shook the world.
Those who had rejected and crucified the Savior expected to find the disciples discouraged and crestfallen, ready to disown their Lord. They heard with amazement the clear, bold testimony of the apostles given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The disciples worked and spoke as their Master had worked and spoken, and all who heard them said, “They have been with Jesus, and learned of Him.”
As the apostles went forth, preaching Jesus everywhere, they did many things that the Jewish rulers did not approve. The people brought their sick and those vexed with unclean spirits into the streets; crowds collected round them, and those who had been healed shouted the praises of God and glorified the name of Him whom the Jews had condemned, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. Jesus was now extolled above priest and ruler, and there was danger that the doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute, for the apostles were even declaring that Christ had risen from the dead….
“Daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”—Signs of the Times, September 20, 1899.