Then Peter stood up
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.”
Acts 2:14 (NIV)
The story of Peter is the story of God turning failure into success. Jesus called Peter a rock, but for much of his calling he was anything but. He tried walking on water and sank (Matthew 14:30). He attempted to rebuke Jesus and was told in no uncertain terms, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23). At the Lord’s Supper, he point blank refused to let Jesus wash his feet. And after speaking the immortal words, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” (Mark 14:31), he promptly denied Jesus three times.
But when the Holy Spirit rested upon him like a tongue of fire on the Day of Pentecost, everything changed. This rough and ready uneducated fisherman from Galilee, of all places, stood up and preached a powerful impromptu sermon. As far as we know, Peter had never spoken in public before, yet 3,000 people were baptised that day!
Later, we see a new Peter striding boldly through the pages of Acts. Healing people, raising a woman from the dead, miraculously escaping from prison, even though bound in chains, and preaching Jesus throughout much of the Gentile world.
On the Day of Pentecost everything changed for Peter. But God is not a respecter of persons; what he did for Peter, he did for all of us. God loved the world so dearly that he sent his son Jesus to die for us all. Then Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, fulfilling the prophecy of Joel that the Lord would pour out his Spirit on all people (Joel 2:28). And fulfilling his own prophecy in Acts 1:8 (NLT) that: “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Peter’s story is also our story. The unbelievable, yet true story, that God is for each and every one of us. And if God is for us, who can be against us?
Let’s share that story as Jesus’ witnesses to the ends of the earth.
Loving Father, we thank you that, like Peter, you have the patience to work with our worst failings and bring out our best potential. And that through your redemptive work for everyone you are able to make a success story out of anyone. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Study by Peter Mill
About the writer:
Peter Mill is a minister in Grace Communion International and joint Regional Pastor for Scotland, Ireland and Northern England.
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