“When Peter saw it [the reaction to the lame man being healed], he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?” (Acts 3:12)
Do you remember (of course do, especially since I am going to remind you) that Peter denied Jesus three times during his trial before the Jewish & Roman leadership? See now the “new” Peter who takes this opportunity to preach to the assembled crowd and point out to them who Jesus was, what they did to him, and they should do now.
“The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” (Verses 13 – 15)
Not only does this passage have power and impact because Peter is now rising up to the defense and to declare Jesus. And aligning himself with Jesus. Of course the assembled people there knew who Peter and his comrades are. And it was quite probably know that they followed Jesus. Yes, even Peter.
Back in the gospel of John there is a wonderful interlude between Peter and the risen Jesus where Peter is given three opportunities to pledge himself to the risen Lord. He does so. Peter also spoke out at Pentecost (we will read of that later) to the assembled and puzzled crowd when they heard their native tongues being spoken.
“And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. “And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,” (Verses 16 – 19)
Again, Peter is the perfect person to preach this sermon. Think back, beloved reader, over all the missteps that Peter made during Jesus’ lifetime.
I was talking to a co-worker this day about one’s work being reviewed, audited, and assessed. She said she hated the process; but if she learns something, the experience can be redeemed. Peter, I am sure, had much time to think back on the places he took a wrong turn. His intent was always good and pure, but sometimes he flubbed up and had to learn from his mistakes. Such learning made him stronger, and a strong preacher. Jesus said that people such as Peter are who the church will be built on.
I hope and pray, beloved reader, that we can be like Peter. Learning as we “fumble” along, but when life and opportunity call us out – we will be ready! Shalom & Selah!