Getting Acquainted With Peter, 8: The Power of the Spirit
- Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Not too long ago I was reading the beginning of Acts. For you to understand my Word-Reading habits, it’s important that you know that as a writer, I look for the hidden items when I read the Word. No, I’m not saying that God is trying to keep anything from us (much…), rather what I’m speaking of is the human elements we often miss as we read.
Take, for example, the fact that within the early chapters of Acts the Twelve (minus Judas but plus a few others now) are back in Jerusalem (for Pentecost), the very city where they’d cowered away not too terribly long before. Why were they there? Surely for more than the Feast of Weeks (see Exodus 34: 22). Indeed, they were there because this is where Jesus had commanded them to be.
Reading on, I chuckled a bit as I read the details of the events surrounding the raining down of the Holy Spirit.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (Acts 2:1-4)
Later on, we read of Peter’s stand—yes, in the very city where he’d screamed, “I don’t know Him!”—and of his telling everyone who could hear his voice the story of the Christ. My smile truly broadened as I thought, “Well, one good fiery act deserves another…”
The Holy Spirit Brings Ability
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" (2: 5-9)
Years ago I both choreographed and danced with a mime-drama troupe. Every other weekend we performed Keith Green’s Prodigal Son Suite before hundreds of people across the southern part of the United States. With every performance, all thirty-five members of the troupe felt more assured of what we had been called to do for that season in our lives.
Then, after one such performance, a word of prophecy was spoken over us. “You will dance before kings…and before many nations.” I have to tell you, I my emotions were caught between giddy and terrified! Sure enough, within a few months, our troupe was called to dance on the streets before the Parliament building in Nassau, Bahamas. Surrounding us were hundred so people…tourists…from many nations!
Was I nervous? You’d better believe it. Yet, moments before the music began, the Holy Spirit filled me to overflowing, giving ability to my trembling legs to dance and bring glory to God in the hundred-degree heat. The people were moved to tears, many giving their lives to the Lord.
How Peter must have trembled in the early moments before he cleared his throat and began to speak. These were the very people he’d run from only 50 days before…the ones he’d hidden from in the dark hours after the crucifixion. And not only is he speaking to them, he’s speaking in their language!
Time and again in the Word of God we read of God calling those without ability and then giving them the ability they needed to carry out His will. With so many people in Jerusalem during the Feast of Weeks, it was imperative that the Disciples be able to communicate with them. Peter was suddenly right smack dab in the middle of God’s ultimate purpose for his life. What a moment that must have been!
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