Transformation by the Spirit
“And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 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. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.’”
– Acts 3:12-15
This is the same Peter that Jesus rebuked as Satan, the one who denied Jesus three times, the one who heard the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and did not believe but hid for fear of the Jews. What happened to our well-intended disciple who so often faltered and failed?
The day of Pentecost is what transformed Peter from a well-meaning disciple of Jesus to one who stood before thousands to proclaim that Jesus Christ was and is the promised Messiah of Israel and now the world. Peter and John had just healed the lame beggar who sat at the gate of the temple. This grateful man followed Peter and John leaping and praising God. All those who saw him recognized him as the lame beggar they saw day after day, and they marveled at what God had done.
As the people gathered at the portico of Solomon’s temple, Peter boldly spoke about Jesus. Knowing that his audience was primarily comprised of Jewish people, Peter referred to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This was the God of the Old Testament, and the God of Israel who had promised to send a prophet who would be even greater than Moses. Jesus came as that fulfillment. Instead of receiving him and believing in him, these Jewish people rejected the Son of God and handed him over to be crucified.
Jesus was from the beginning with God. Or, as Peter stated, Jesus was “the Author of life.”
As one who was with God and was God, Jesus was not defeated by these evil works of the Jews. Instead, the Father raised him up on the third day. Peter could speak this with full authority as he had seen the resurrected Jesus. It was this Jesus who healed the lame beggar, not Peter and not John. Peter would call these people to continue to marvel in this healing but to recognize who had done the healing – it was Jesus Christ, the one they had betrayed and crucified.
Peter directed all people to the one who saves and heals. He never sought the glory that rightfully belonged to the Lord but clearly saw himself as the disciple. A disciple was one who had been taught and had now been sent.
Today, we are called to follow this example of Peter. We see our sin and the many times we have failed the Lord. Yet, those sins and failures are not who we are. Instead, we are now the disciples of Jesus Christ. We are the ones who have received the message of salvation, who have been cleansed and healed, and are now entrusted to proclaim who Jesus is to all people. They, too, can come to believe in this one who can make the lame walk, the blind see, and the deaf hear. More importantly, they too, can come to believe in the one who offers them not just the forgiveness of sin but eternal life with the Father and the Son and life abundant through the gift of the Holy Spirit.Reflection:
How have you been emboldened by the Holy Spirit, and how are you proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Lord longs to use you as his disciple so that you may teach the Gospel, so that you may proclaim the good news, and so that you may be part of the healing of God’s people.
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