Lately, I’ve been reading about Peter in the book of Acts. His life before Acts and in Acts are both quite fascinating and drastically different. Peter is one of the first disciples of Jesus. All throughout the gospels, Peter is seen as the ever-curious, awkward person who wants to do things for Jesus, but is not quite able to accomplish that. Despite his fumbles, he always strived to please Jesus and to understand Jesus. In the mount of transfiguration, Peter was overwhelmed seeing the transformed Jesus with Moses and Elijah. The others 2 disciples were too dumbstruck to speak, but Peter spoke up, albeit what he said is not at all relevant to the circumstance. “Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be her; if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” Matt. 17: 4. Peter’s suggestion was one that was selfless and humble. We see Peter as a simple man in the gospels. He was a fisherman, with not much education; but he was hard working and wanted to remain loyal to Jesus.
We see Peter’s lowest point, when he denied knowing Jesus and being his disciple after Jesus was bound and taken to the officials. This was the same Peter who tried to defend Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane by taking up a sword and accidentally cut off the servant’s ear. Later on, after he denied Jesus, the heart -breaking scene of him being remorseful and weeping takes place. “ …and he went out, and wept bitterly.” Matt 26:75. After the crucifixion of Jesus, we see a seemingly lost Peter. He went back to the sea and to his profession as a fisherman. When the resurrected Jesus finds Peter, we see the innocence of Peter, where he answers Jesus’ question of how much he loves him.
In Acts chapter 2, the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2: 4. On that day, a new Peter was born. The Peter, after he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, is radically different than the one prior to that. He was no longer the awkward man who didn’t know what to say. He was no longer the confused, singled out disciple, who was too scared to admit that He knew Jesus. The new Peter was bold; the new Peter was articulate; the new Peter was a leader; he spoke with the same authority of speech and clarity of words that Jesus possessed. The priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees, when they heard Peter as well as John speak, they were amazed by their speaking. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4: 13. On the day of Pentecost, the one sermon of Peter caused three thousand people to be saved. Imagine the power of God that was flowing through peter and the power of his words, to have caused that many people to accept Jesus as their Lord on that day!
The day of Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s courage failed him and he could not speak up for Jesus. But, after he received the power of the Holy Ghost, he was no longer afraid. The high priest and the chief priest threatened Peter with his life and forbid him to speak of Jesus. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5: 29. Peter was imprisoned and the night before Herod was to put him to death, we don’t see a scared Peter. After all, he would know Herod was serious in his threat, as he had just killed James. But “Peter was sleeping was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains…” Acts 12: 6. He found peace in Christ even when his death sentence was written.The transformation of Peter is a testament of the change brought on by fully trusting in Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit can bring about. If God can use Peter and change peter into a history changing man of God, he can use us as well.