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I am repeating a series on the book of 1 Peter that was first run in 2009, but first some thoughts about the author, the apostle Peter.
About-Him.Com Devotional 10-29-2016
The Apostle Peter
We remember that Peter was one of the first apostles to be called by Jesus (Mt. 4:18). The gospels show us that he had an impulsive nature. He was rash and often spoke before thinking (Mt. 14:31). He was privileged to be with the Lord on the mount of transfiguration See:The Transfiguration. He had the revelation that Jesus was the Son of the living God and he was given the keys to the kingdom See:Peter‘s Confession of Christ. Peter used these keys on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and in confirming the Samaritan believers (Acts 8), and in opening the doors of the church to the gentiles at the household of Cornelius (Acts 10). Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him at the judgment hall but then added, “ But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (Luke 22:32).
After the crucifixion, Peter had run to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty (John 20:4). The Lord appeared to him and the other apostles through closed doors, and showed His nail scarred hands to those assembled there. Jesus breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit and commissioned them for their ministry as apostles. This began a transformation in their lives (John 20:20-23). They didn't run out and start preaching immediately but over a period of forty days between the resurrection and ascension, they received commandments from Jesus of things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
At the ascension, Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). They obeyed the Lord’s command to wait in the city of Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father and were endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49). We can accomplish a whole lot more with a few Spirit inspired words, than the most finely crafted sermon that we are able to produce from our own efforts.
When the Spirit descended with tongues of fire at Pentecost (Acts 2:4), Peter confronted a mob. Some mocked while others were receptive. He boldly preached to them, quoting the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32) and Messianic prophesies of the Psalmist David (Ps. 16:8-10). Many in the crowd were convicted and cried out, “What shall we do?” Peter, under the inspiration of the Spirit, was quick with an answer that he no doubt had heard from Jesus during that forty day spiritually intensive seminar when Jesus gave commandments of things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
Acts 2:37 ¶ Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Later, Peter and John healed a lame beggar by saying, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). When the man was healed, a crowd assembled and began to ask questions. Peter began to boldly preach (Acts 3:10-25) and told them that they had crucified the Just and Holy One, but that God had resurrected Him from the dead. Faith in the name of the One they had crucified had made the lame man perfectly whole. Don’t you know that His name still has power and moves heaven and earth?
While Peter was still preaching, the rulers of the temple appeared. They were angry that resurrection of Jesus was being preached. That still upsets folks today. They put Peter and John in jail until the next day. However five thousand men had already believed and were converted by the Holy Ghost inspired preaching of Peter. The rulers asked, “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” (Acts 4:7). That was all that Peter needed to start preaching again. His points were: The man had been healed by the name of Jesus Christ, whom they had crucified but whom God had raised from the dead. He was the stone that they had thrown out but whom God had made to be the chief cornerstone (Acts 3:11; Ps. 118:22).
Peter boldly proclaimed that there was no other name under heaven by which men could be saved (Acts 4:12). The rulers of the temple were taken back and took note that Peter and John were uneducated, but that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). Do men see that in us today? I pray that they do.
Peter and John were threatened and commanded to no longer preach in the name of Jesus. Peter answered that they were bound to obey God rather than man, and that they could only tell the things that they had seen and heard. That is a compelling testimony, I trust that if I am ever in a similar circumstance, I will have the same answer.
Upon their release, Peter and John returned to their local assembly and told them all that had happened. These folks only had one reaction, they lifted up their voices in prayer, a prayer that moved heaven. In their prayer they rehearsed the scriptures pertaining to the resurrection. I believe that it pleases God when we rehearse His word that pertains to our petitions. They prayed that God would take note of the threats and counteract them by performing signs and miracles in the name of Jesus. God answered by shaking the foundations of the building where they were and filling them anew with His empowering Spirit.
Surely Peter’s credentials cannot be disputed. He was with Jesus from the beginning and beheld His glory. He experienced a thorough transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit and became perhaps the most effective preacher of the New Testament.
Next week, we’ll began in the book of I Peter and see where it takes us.
Song: My God, My King and My Redeemer
"I Thank God that the kingdom of God is not divided into areas for big, important people and areas for little, unimportant people. Every one is just as needful in God's sight as any other!" A.W. Tozer
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