“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:13

What if you had lived in the first century, and were chosen by Jesus to be a part of His team? What would it have been like to walk with Jesus? It must have been quite an experience. How would you have felt if you had been asked? Elated? Proud? Excited?  Maybe the original twelve felt that way?

On the day of  His resurrection from the dead, Jesus had an encounter with two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). The men did not recognize the resurrected  Jesus, but accepted the company of this “stranger,”most likely for reasons of companionship. As they walked, the duo talked about the events that had taken place only a few days before; events which included the death, burial and reported resurrection of Jesus.  The “stranger” questioned the men  about their conversations: “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” They in turn seemed surprised that He did not know what had taken place: “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”  He then asked: “What things?” The men answered: “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people…” They went on to explain how the Chief Priests and rulers had delivered Jesus to be condemned and crucified,  and now three days later some of the women were reporting that He was seen alive.
 
Jesus  gently chided the men for being “slow of heart to believe,” then began to explain to them how the scriptures had to be fulfilled, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” When they reached the village the men asked Jesus to stay with them fo awhile since it was late. Jesus remained with them a while longer and during a meal He blessed and broke bread with them. The manner of His blessing opened their eyes to who the stranger really was. The men, would say of their experience later: “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”  
 
Scripture records that the first disciples left what they were doing to follow Jesus (Matt. 4:20). Some of them had heard a little about Him;  Andrew had heard Him speak; others heard about Him from their friends, but mostly they took Him on faith.  The Disciples had no way of knowing exactly what they were in for. They had no clue as to what would happen after they responded to His call. In fact, most of them died without really understanding the impact that they  had on the world. But in spite of their lack of information, the Disciples enjoyed their walk with Jesus, and their experiences were so life changing, they literally turned the world upside down for His cause.
 
Today we know a lot more about Jesus.  We have a complete canon of scripture with four whole books  (the Gospels) covering His days on earth.  We know of his birth, his life, his death on the cross, his resurrection, and subsequent ascension into heaven. In addition we have a number of letters, some of which were written by the same disciples who walked and talked with Him.  These men had an opportunity to spend quality time with Jesus. Their relationship to Jesus both before and after the cross gave them a unique perspective that allowed them to clearly formulate the words of Jesus into a format from which the major doctrines of the church would be derived.
 
We also have the writings of the Apostle Paul, a man specially chosen by God (Acts 9), and to whom special revelation was given regarding the teachings of Jesus (2 Corinthians 12). Paul was not an eyewitness to the events of Jesus’ life, but with his background in Jewish law and history as a Pharisee  (Philippians 3:4-5), he was able to incorporate the teachings of the Old Testament into a New Testament context.  The doctrines of the Christian faith were not codified into any particular form until Paul came on the scene. As the early church grew and issues arose, letters would be dispatched to Paul asking him pertinent questions. Paul would answer in the form of his own letters (see 1st and 2nd Corinthians). Most of Paul’s writings, along with the writings of the other apostles, form the basis of the New Testament and the foundation of the Christian faith (1 Corinthians 3:10-14). On top of all of that, we have a wealth of commentaries, books, periodicals and sermons that serve to give us deep insights into the life of Jesus.

Spending time with Jesus will change your life. Consider some of the people who were a part of Jesus’ inner circle. Peter was a fisherman with a vile mouth and a hot temper (John 18:10). Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector (Luke 5:27-29), a profession considered the worst imaginable, and he was hated because of it. Thomas, after spending years with Jesus, still harbored deep seated doubts (John 20:24-29). Brothers James and John were nicknamed Boanerges  (Mark 3:17) which means “Sons of Thunder,” possibly because of their explosive temper. Judas was a thief (John 12:6) who eventually betrayed Jesus for money (Luke 22:3-6). With the exception of Judas Iscariot the lives of these men were made better for having been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 gives a clue to the change wrought in the lives of Peter and John: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”  

The next 40 days will introduce you to a deeper walk with Christ. You will be asked to read, and memorize scriptures. The material presented is not exhaustive but delivered in bite sized chunks to make it easy for you. In addition, there are  suggestions for practical things that may make your walk meaningful.  Though your walk with the Lord is essentially an exercise in faith, there is also a ‘doing’ component. Jesus said: “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

 
I hope that as you study, and draw close to Jesus your heart will burn within you and that you will be motivated to accomplish God’s purpose in your life.  

PRAY

Dear Lord, I want to make this 40 day journey with You, so I am asking you to help me overcome the obstacles that stand in my way. May I learn more about You Lord; may I follow in Your ways, and become a true disciple. I pray also for others that are making this journey with me. Bless them O Lord and may Your kingdom grow as more people are reached for Your honor and glory. Amen

ASSESS

As you reflect on your personal walk with Christ, determine where you are  and circle the one on the following list that  best represents where you are. Make a conscious decision to improve in the next 40 days.

Daily Bible Reading   
Very Satisfied – Somewhat Satisfied – Not Satisfied
Consistent Prayer      
Very Satisfied – Somewhat Satisfied – Not Satisfied
Worship Attendance  
Very Satisfied – Somewhat Satisfied – Not Satisfied

MAKE A PERSONAL COMMITMENT TO WALK WITH JESUS FOR 40 DAYS

Download a commitment page here. Sign and post conspicuously as a reminder.
Personal Commitment Page