Spending some good time in Acts. I’m always amazed, encouraged, and sometimes shamed as I read what happened in the lives of the apostles and the Church as a whole in those early days. They had such amazing boldness and courage, and experienced some crazy results.
Today I was looking at chapters 3 and 4 which is when Peter and John healed the lame beggar at the Beautiful Gate in Jerusalem. Scripture says they fixed their gaze on the man…staring at him intently to capture his absolute intention…and talking to him with complete confidence and boldness to what Jesus was about to do through them. Then Peter spoke complete, physical healing into this man’s life. Dude, this is Peter. PETER! The guy that couldn’t seem to get anything right earlier, now totally transformed. I’m thinking, “Man, I want to be like that.” You know, to have the kind of power that pushes back and overcomes darkness like that. Why don’t we experience that? A question I’ve pondered a lot and don’t really have the answer, though I have some idea. I will save that for another post perhaps.
What really struck me today was what happened after they went on into the Temple. When confronted by the authorities, Peter started boldly preaching again. Unless something really extreme had happened, what Peter said next was nothing less than hypocricy on steroids. In 13 and 14, Peter said this:
13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, (15) and you killed the Author of life…”
Did you catch that? Twice Peter said that they had denied Jesus. Helloooo, excuse me, Pete, but do you not remember where you were at about the time these little people were denying Him?? Peter had run away like a scared little girl from, oh, yeah, a little girl who had accused him of being a follower of Jesus. Three times he had denied knowing Jesus! It’s like now he had totally forgotten what he, himself, had done. How does that happen? What right does Peter have to be accusing others of denying? None…unless something had happened to him. Perhaps Peter had experienced some extreme Grace.
Need some? Check out Part 2 tomorrow.