November 9 (Daily reading: Matthew 26; Mark 14) Looking ahead in the life of Peter, we find him saying to the Sanhedrin to explain how a crippled beggar had been healed: “(It was) by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead” (Ac. 4:10). When they told him to stop speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus, Peter responded, “We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Ac. 4:20).
Was this the same man to whom Jesus said in Matthew 26: “This very night…you will deny Me three times” (v. 34). Was this the man to whom Jesus said: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” because he could not stay awake and be with Jesus in the greatest struggle He had ever faced (v. 41)? Was this the man who responded with an oath to the allegations of a servant girl that he had been with Jesus: “I do not know the man” (v. 72). He had impulsively shown bravery by cutting off a soldier’s ear with his sword, but he wavered before a servant girl!
How can we explain the change in this man Peter? He had been forgiven and commissioned by Jesus (see John 21:15-19). He had been filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Ac. 2:4; 4:8), and he had become in the words of my seminary professor Huber Drumwright, “a preaching machine!” This man who had been afraid to admit to knowing Jesus later wrote: “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Pet. 4:16, NIV).
We too will find courage and calling when we are filled with the Holy Spirit: “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). Jesus said, “The Spirit of truth…will testify about Me, and you will testify also” (Jn. 15:26-27).
– Al Gary