Acts 4:13 NKJV — “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.”

To marvel, according to Merriam Webster — surprise, wonder, to be astonished.

When you really think about it, “marvel” is really a marvelous word (no pun intended). This is not only true when you consider the life of Christ, the mighty miracles accomplished in His name, His ability to endure all that He endured including the cross and then the power to rise again on the third day.

We marvel at that!

There is a distinct uniqueness in the verse under consideration today. While Jesus walked the earth He performed miracles to help the individuals in need, but also, perhaps more importantly, they were to validate who He is, thereby equipping us with the ability to believe the unbelievable.

Faith! Without it, it’s impossible to please God (He said that, not me).

In this verse the Greek word for marvel is θαυμάζω or thaumazó. From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (they have a free app for your phone by the way) we see it defined as — thaumázó (“a wonder, marvel”) — properly, wonder at, be amazed (marvel), i.e. astonished out of one’s senses; awestruck, “wondering very greatly” (Souter); to cause “wonder; ... to regard with amazement, and with a suggestion of beginning to speculate on the matter”

Nope, they weren’t marveling over the healing of a terrible disease nor the sudden calming of a life-threatening storm. As marvelous as it was for the lame man to suddenly begin leaping and praising God, it wasn’t what caused these onlookers to marvel.

If it wasn’t a spectacular demonstration of God’s power, then what was it that caused these men to marvel?

Well, it seems that Peter and John were noticeably “bold” and by the way they were dressed and carried themselves one could easily conclude that these guys weren’t seminary grads pursuing a life in the pulpit. Those truths were flamboyantly recognizable but were insufficient without the final ingredient mentioned here.

The final deposit in this verse points out the reason why these scribes and Pharisees marveled. They took notice that they (Pete and John) had been with Jesus. Then ... it finally happened — they marveled.

Today, if you want your life to make others marvel, don’t walk the path of the spiritual superhero, don’t focus on reproducing the big miracles. Just spend time — meaningful time — with Jesus every day.

You yourself will grow in amazing ways. Others, well they will take notice that you have been with Jesus.

My dear friend, that’s the best impression you can make!

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Dr. Dennis Cagle is the founder of Xaltm LLC who has been a pastor for 36 years and currently works as a church consultant. He is a former resident of McMinn County and current resident of Tellico Plains. He can be contacted at

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