Never Be the Same Again

Acts 4:1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

5 The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family.  7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them:

By what power or what name did you do this?”

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Could this be the same Peter?
The same Annas? The same Caiaphas?
The same “other disciple” John?

John 18:12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people. 15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. 17 “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” 18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. 19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” 22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. 23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

never be the same smThat rooster crowing was the low point of Peter’s life.

But the grace of God, the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit change people.

This is the very same Peter who’d denied Christ three times and yet, once restored in love, redeemed by his Savior, and filled with the Spirit of God, Peter boldly says what the religious leaders didn’t want to hear.  What he should have said the last time.  Having been forgiven, Peter would never be the same again.

For some of us, preaching the Good News burns in our bones.  We can’t help ourselves.  We know what it’s like to be hopeless in sin.  We know what it’s like to experience both grace and forgiveness.  And so we can’t shut up about it.

When we truly appreciate what it means to be forgiven such a mountain of debt we have no ability to pay, we will know that this Good News is so good that we will want to share it.

Questions for pondering:

  1.  Can you relate more to Peter before his reinstatement by Jesus or the Peter who boldly goes where Jesus leads him?  John 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
  2. How does Peter deflect all the glory from himself in the Acts 4:1-12 passage?   To whom does he give the credit?
  3. Why might Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family have asked “By what power or what name did you do this?”  If they had been listening to Peter and John’s teachings, do you think they probably already knew the answer?  Why then did they ask?
  4. In Acts 3, a crippled beggar is healed.  How does this healing form a turning point for people to believe and other people to get angry at the Gospel?  How is faith the hinge, the dividing point, on which the message turns?

Carol Me, Christmas (2014 Advent Devotional Series) will begin November 30th.  If you haven’t signed up yet, you can receive these devotional studies in your email throughout Advent 2014 by entering your email address on the home page in the space provided in the sidebar.  Or “Like” the SeminaryGal Facebook page to access them there.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on November 28, 2014

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