"These who have turned the world upside down have come here too."
In the early days of Jesus' ministry, He chose 12 men to follow Him as His inner circle. They were many that followed Jesus on a regular basis. We are told in John 6 that after some difficult teaching some of Jesus' disciples left Him and followed Him no more. None of those that left were part of the 12. Even after Christ's ascension there were about 120 in the upper room waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit. The 12 were not alone, but they were hand picked to personally learn from Jesus so that they might carry out the ministry after His death, resurrection, and ascension.
It is obvious with just a small amount of study that none of these men were perfect. Each of them had their own flaws. Of course, we know that Judas was known by Christ as the betrayer from the beginning, and he was eventually replaced by Matthias. When we look at some of the others, we see their flaws front and center. We often refer to Thomas as doubting Thomas. Peter often spoke before he thought. James and John wanted to be the greatest in the kingdom at the expense of every one else. It is clear that each of them were normal men with their own personalities and their own set of issues. However, when we come to the book of Acts, something miraculous happens. This group of normal misfits is credited with turning the world upside down. They have turned over the apple cart of man's religion and are powerfully teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thousands are being saved and professing that the executed "criminal" Jesus is their Messiah. People who fearfully once filled the synagogues are now boldly preaching in the streets. In a society where people once questioned who their neighbor was, men and women are sharing of their resources with complete strangers. The 12 who once hid in an upper room for fear of their lives are now standing before magistrates boldly proclaiming Jesus at the risk of death.
There are two things that are pointed out in Scripture for this miraculous transformation. First, these believers are now indwelled by the Holy Spirit. They are doing none of these things apart from the power of the often forgotten member of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit has confirmed to them the teachings of Jesus, and He is empowering them to stand boldly as sheep in the midst of wolves. So many times we think that living this Christian life and proclaiming Jesus is all up to us. It is only when we put our lives in subjection to the Holy Spirit's power that we will be able to do great and mighty things for the kingdom of God. Second, these believers determined to daily walk with Jesus. On one particular occasion the disciples were arrested and brought before the council. The council determined that they were unlearned and ignorant men, but there assessment did not stop there. They also determined that these men had been with Jesus. How fabulous it would be if we walked so closely to Jesus that it would be noticeable even to the lost world! There is a great need for us today to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the fellowship of Christ.
May you determine to live according to the example of Jesus' disciples!