Unity, power, courage, new territory, miracles, authority, confidence, salvations. These are the words that come to me when studying Act chapters 1-7. When I read these chapters, I can’t help but think about Peter and who he was and who he becomes. His hot temper. His betrayal. His shame from his mistakes. His faith to walk on water and his doubt when he sank. Pete is an excellent example to us of what it looks like when we lean into Holy Spirit and accept ALL that is believed about us and we let go of our past failures and our self-doubt.
Peter stood and preached with boldness. The people he failed in front of, he is now valiantly declaring the truth. Peter's zeal was tempered, not reduced, and then all that passion was funneled to outrageous moments of authority. Jesus breathed on Peter, and he received and believed what was promised. In chapter three, I think of the story about a crippled beggar who was lugged far enough to plead for help. This poor soul was carried just outside of a temple. He sat on the outskirts of its gate called Beautiful, a place that should have made room for him, should have seen his need, and should have carried him the rest of the way to the sanctuary. Those who walked by to enter into the gates of Beautiful should have been compelled to help, yet his disability and lack of perfection caused them to ignore him. (We can be such jerks sometimes, huh?)
This sounds a little like a few churches today. They have become museums rather than hospitals. A place to show our Sunday best, but not our true selves. But Peter and John saw the man. They heard his cry. And they acted in faith. Before I share the rest of the story, let me share this short tale:
A small village was in a horrible drought. The people decided to pray for rain together. They all gathered in the morning to petition the Lord but only one brought an umbrella.
And now the rest of the story.
“But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.” Acts of the Apostles 3:6-7 NLT
Did you catch that part in this verse- “Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened”.
The man was healed when Peter took his hand AS HE DID. Here is my theory: Peter is quite familiar with a few moments like this when His master had to do the same. When his friend and savior had to lift him, help him, and find him when it appeared all was lost. Peter knows all too well what it means to sit outside of the gate Beautiful and not be good enough to enter. But there was one who loved him enough to beckon him to walk the waves, knowing he had enough faith to try. There was one who searched for him after he failed miserably. There was one who told him to cast his net again. Peter was taught by the best to not wait for the results of the prayer or declarations to manifest to know they were answered. He was trained to believe in the unseen, and that the impossible is possible. He brought his umbrella, so to say when he reached down and helped the disabled man up. Before his feet and ankles were whole, similar to the way o’l Pete stepped out of the boat before the waters were hardened.
The first few Chapters of Acts give me such hope. Hope for courage after cowardice behavior. Hope for faith after fear. Hope of authority after anxiety. Hope for redemption after ruins. Fire falls on sacrifice. This is why Jesus could confidently call Peter a rock because Simon Peter had a genuine revelation of who Jesus was! And after multiple failures, Peter awakened to who Jesus saw in him; He was called to bring fire and set fire to the church.
Let’s take our cue from these first few chapters, allow His Spirit to blow over us, and blow away any failures, insecurities, or self-doubt. And instead, breath into us courage, authority, wisdom, and “pack your umbrella” faith!