Weekly Reflections

Peter: the same or different? 14 Mar 10

The same or different?

Did Peter really change? Was he any different after Pentecost? You can still see the same abruptness and determination in his encounters with others in the Acts of the Apostles. He tells the Sanhedrin (Acts 4) that they can say what they like, but he is going to do what God has called him to do.

If anything the change is more of the same. Peter becomes more like Peter. But something has changed. The energy and passion is more focused, and more willing perhaps. The vision of the unclean animals and the visit to the Gentile Cornelius (Acts 10-11) still shows the rough edges, but also shows a very clear alignment with what God says over against both his upbringing and the power group in the church in Jerusalem.

But something has changed in Peter.

He is now a powerful speaker for the message of Jesus. He performs great acts of power. He leads the church with decisiveness and God’s Spirit (Acts 5.3). What happened?

 

Four things: He saw Jesus crucified. He saw Jesus risen from the dead. He heard Jesus explain the meaning of his life, death and resurrection from the Old Testament (Lk 24.45). He was filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. And perhaps a fifth: He had a personal conversation with the Jesus he had denied who commissioned him as a shepherd as well as a fisher of people (Jn 21).

These four things can change us also. We weren’t there to see the crucifixion or the risen Jesus, but we have the report of those events. And we certainly have a detailed and thorough explanation of the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus provided by a few of his apostles.

Someone in one of the groups last week commented on how much Peter seemed to have grown in his understanding of Jesus by the time of the day of Pentecost.  The reason is that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the scriptures”. And then he taught them.

Here is a place to start (or continue). Pray that God will, day by day, open our minds to understand the scriptures. Then apply our minds to understanding them, especially the meaning of the death and resurrection of Christ.

And pray that God the Holy Spirit will fill us every day both to understand and to speak for him. With our mind full of the scriptures and our lives full of the Holy Spirit, we won’t become more like Peter, but we will become more like us, more like God has made us to be (Eph 2.10).
Dale