In today’s story, we read about how Peter used his power to perform a miracle: healing a lame beggar.
3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
What a transformation from a few weeks ago? My last post was about Peter’s denial. Now, we see Peter using his power and not shying away from being known as Jesus’ follower.
Let’s think about this transformation a bit more. Just like Tracy mentioned in her Follow Jesus post this week, Peter was a fisherman by trade, working to make a living. He was an regular man, with a wife, living a regular life. Now, we see him become a fisher of men during the day and continue to be a fisherman at night. He was the one who tried to walk on water. He was always engaged, asking tons of questions, sometimes not thinking about what he was asking or saying, but we knew he loved Jesus with all his heart and with all his soul. He was eager, bold and outspoken. In the book Twelve Ordinary Men, he is referred to as double-minded, unstable. He was one of the few who experienced the Transfiguration. He reacted quickly and radically to Jesus wanting to wash his feet. He also slept while Jesus went off to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane trying to be ever faithful, but failing. When he awoke and the soldiers arrived, he immediately defended Jesus, even going so far as to cut off the ear of a soldier!
In the Bible, Peter is mentioned more than the other disciple. He is the first name on all the lists about disciples and apostles. As Jesus was on Earth, Peter was viewed as Jesus’ right hand man as he is ever prominent in stories. He stood out as the leader and spokesman for the twelve. He was in the inner circle. He was also the one the Lord named: Simon (whom he named Peter) Luke 6:14. Peter, in Greek, means “Rock”. Sometimes we saw him act like a rock and sometimes not so much! Jesus refers to him as both Simon and Peter. Simon may represent him as the person before he met Jesus. Then over time he, Peter, transforms, especially in the book of Acts, demonstrating how he truly became a leader.
So far in Acts, Peter has been the one taking charge. He has developed into the leader God wanted him to be. He appears to be more in control of what he says and what he does. He determined they needed to replace Judas with Matthias. He was the one who started interpreting the tongues and understood this work as one of the Holy Spirit. He also demonstrated courage as he delivered his sermon on Pentecost in yesterday’s reading and he continues his newfound confidence by deciding to heal the lame beggar. He did not hesitate or ask questions this time; he used his reactionary nature for the good of another.
How was this transformation possible? I believe Peter finally understood what Jesus was telling him. Even with Jesus foretelling the story, did Peter truly believe? Maybe, but it was not until it happened and then after he denied him three times, the truth rang out. Peter was not perfect; he finally understood God’s plan for him. He kept developing as a person.
Can we see everything in black and white before we believe or do we have to really experience it before we believe? Do we react too quickly in certain situations? Do we take the time to listen to what is being said so that we can transform ourselves and have the confidence to believe without seeing? Simon’s transformation into Peter may seem like a big jump, but this is just another example of God’s power and patience. He has a plan for all of us, and all we need to do is trust him.
For your reading pleasure: Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master shaped his disciples for greatness and what he wants to do with you by John MacArthur.