I was thinking about Peter today Lord…how he must have felt after failing You…like he was such a failure. However, that’s not really the part that got my attention. The part that captured me was about how you gave him another chance and not only did you forgive him Lord, you put him in a position of leadership.
I don’t want to fail you Lord, more than I already have… but there are times when I can relate to Peter...I have failed you like Peter...
Peter boasted about how loyal he was to you, he even dared to try to take over your position of leadership when they came for you in the garden that day. Then, after you surrendered yourself to the soldiers, he abandoned you... ran away like a fearful boy in a man’s body. He left you, after swearing he never would.
Now, after your crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension...out of all the disciples who were in that upper room praying and being filled with your Spirit…you chose Peter.
Acts 2:2-4 explains how You sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples in your place...
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the words…
You had told the disciples earlier in Acts 1:4
And while staying with them he (Jesus) ordered them (the disciples) not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which he said, “you’ve heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…”
And a few moments later You said in Acts 1:8
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…”
When the Holy Spirit came into that room where the disciples were praying, filling it with Your Presence…tongues of fire… came and rested on each one of them. Why fire Lord? Is it because You are an All Consuming Fire? Yes...maybe so. It's as if those tongues of fire are actually little pieces of You…and You took up a place within each one of them that day...empowering them.
And now…Peter…now he has a piece of that Fire – of You, in him.
But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea…let this be known to you, and give ear to my words…”
Peter had never spoken to a crowd before– he hadn't had time to prepare a speech – he didn’t have a power-point presentation or handouts for his audience. No one was there to introduced him to people anxiously awaiting to hear his message – he just…he just took his place of leadership and spoke whatever came to his heart.
Was he afraid of what people would say when he told them the truth about what they had done?
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst…this Jesus, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
This is his first public speaking event! I can’t even begin to think about being that courageous!
Was Peter worried he would hurt someone’s feelings when he shared with them that they had murdered the Messiah? Was he intimidated by those who were more spiritual? He was a fisherman for heaven’s sake! Yet, he took a position of leadership…finally Peter would take his place as a leader for Christ, in the right way.
He became a leader that day above those who were wealthier than him (he was homeless for all practical purposes at that time). Above people with more religious education than he had – he was a manual worker. Over people with generations of training in the Laws of the Torah – compared to them he was really a nobody.
He didn’t have any education to speak of, no degrees, no letters behind his name (Peter the Fisherman; MAF Masters in Fishing?), no authority really whatsoever, except...he had those flames of God Himself, which are now burning inside him... these same flames burning inside you and me...can you feel them?
Perhaps the burning was so intense inside Peter that every other distraction – every fear, every insecurity he had were simply drowned out by the force of the flame blazing within. The white hot burning of Your Spirit – the Mystery of God, which is Christ in us.
Colossians 1:25-27 …to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them (his saints) God chose to make known... the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Peter began to speak. I think he had to speak, speak or burst. What if no one listened to him? What if they ridiculed and mocked him? Or worse stoned him? After all there was a man named Saul who was out to destroy all those who professed faith in Jesus... What if they killed him? Didn’t matter. Peter had to speak.
Now, here’s the part that really blows me away Lord.
What had previously been a weakness of Peters...remember back in the garden when the soldiers came to seize You and Peters impulsive reactions? He pulls out his weapon, his sword, and cuts off one of the soldiers ears…then again his weakness...his temper flares at the woman who accuses him of being “one of those Jesus followers”…his anger is inflamed by his fear and he curses her and denies You; denies You the Messiah...denies who he is.
So here's where the miracle takes place: these weaknesses of Peters, these attributes which had been a detriment to him days ago, were now, with Christ in him, being used as a strength! An instrument to pierce the hearts of those listening to a message of truth – of hope!
Acts 2:41 So those who received his word were baptized and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
His past weaknesses, were now through Christ, a powerful strength! And you had great plans for this new strength! Christ used Peters strength of spontaneity and passion that day to bring 3,000 people to salvation. Do you see? The Spirit of Christ used the characteristics of Peter, which had earlier caused him to sin and had brought despair and failure into his life, as weapons of warfare for Christ!
2 Cor 12:9 "My grace... my power, is made perfect in weakness."
What weaknesses do I have Lord that cause me to curse myself? What weaknesses do you have that breed self-contempt in you? What weaknesses do I see in others which make me want to condemn them?
But that these weaknesses would become our strengths through Christ! Each one of us can experience a miraculous transformation...in fact, its His will that we do! He wants to give us each a dramatic make-over which reshapes our present weaknesses and short-comings and molds then into powerful, glorifying strengths.
If we will yield our lives to Him, and trust Him, he will even use our sins as a vehicle to display the splendor of the glory of God! Oh how worthy of our trust He is!
Will you give your life over to the Mystery of God, which is Christ in you?
By Lisa Gomez-Osborn
Copyright 2011 by Lisa Gomez-Osborn www.LisaGomezOsborn.com