When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. —Acts 4:13
You know, there’s just something attractive, captivating, and fascinating about a true Christ Follower. People notice something different – life-transforming – about a Christ Follower. Peter and John were recognized as Christ-followers; Acts says that the people around them “took note that these men had been with Jesus.” With means to be in close association with a person; to participate in what he is and does—to transfer or sequence1 that person’s qualities to other people. It’s more than being physically present with a person; it’s being transformed by taking on his/her characteristics. With means a particular order in which related things follow each other2 —his presence transforms who I am. The fact that Peter and John had been with Jesus made them so confident, so sure of themselves, that there was no question that they were related to him; his character was sequenced into their lives—Christ-followers!
We have a sequencer, a digital recorder that you can play a midi keyboard into, and it records (sequences) whatever we play, every note, piano, strings, trumpets, drums. When you play it back, there’s no doubt that it’s your recording. If you heard the live and recorded versions, you couldn’t tell the difference. That is what Christ Followers are: we live so closely to Jesus that his thoughts, attitudes, motives, desires, and actions are played back or sequenced through us. When Jesus was ready to select his apostles, to whom he would entrust the planting of his church that would grow and thrive throughout time to bring people to him, Mark says, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3:13–15). They were with him so they could participate in his plans; He could sequence into them his God-breathed Word, unconditional love, goals of evangelism and disciple-making, life-transforming power, and unending resources to fulfill his plans.
When the people saw their courage, they couldn’t take their eyes off them standing there so confident, so sure! They were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus. When people meet us, are they astonished and do they take note that we have been with Jesus? Do they see us as sequencers, channels of his God-breathed Word, unconditional love, goals of evangelism and disciple-making, life-transforming power, and unending resources to fulfill his plans?
I’ll never forget that night. A group of men who met weekly for Monday Night Football at the Trail’s End Saloon, on a ranch just outside town, said, “Sam, we invited you here because there’s something different about you, and we want to know what it is. You don’t push us; you just live it, and we know you care about us; we want you to help us understand more about it.” In the coming years, around the campfire, with plates full of hickory-fired steak and sausage, God sequenced his love and life-changing power through me to a group of men who noticed that I had been with Jesus. This is not about me; it’s about Christ in and through me. Transforming Hearts…Transforming Lives!
Lord, I want to be with you like that. Use me as your sequencer to transfer your God-breathed Word, unconditional love, goals of evangelism and disciple-making, life-transforming power, and unending resources to all you bring across my path. Thanks. Amen.3
Dr. Sam Bruce, President, Sam & Sandie Bruce Ministries; Pastor, Hope Point Church, Pearl, Mississippi; Online Instructor, Mid-America Christian University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
1 Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, WordSearch Bible Program.
2 Oxford University Press Dictionary, Corel WordPerfect.
3 Bruce, Samuel K. Your Life Repeated in My Life: Story Devotions for Christ Followers. Unpublished.
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