Like most of us, Peter had no end of opportunities to understand his own limitations.
Peter was the disciple of Jesus who reminds me of me. Peter could go from brilliant to idiot in ten seconds, an amazing ability if that was desirable in any way…
The Christian life begins on the Hill of Resurrection, but as life moves forward the battery that powers our souls begins to drain. We are three parts: Spirit (made alive by the entrance of the Holy Spirit within through faith in Jesus’ resurrection), Body (obvious), and Soul (mind, will, and emotions).
Our bodies can have all sorts of problems, but most of our issues come from soul-problems. This is where we fight for what we want, commit sin, face addictions, and generally spend most of our efforts trying to align to God’s will throughout our lifetimes.
Peter fails his own personal Gethsemane, which he must.. which we all must, and finds himself sitting in deep failure of soul while at the same time wishing his intention to follow Jesus were actually possible in his flawed self. He waits on pins and needles to see if Jesus would rise from the dead, and then goes to Galilee to meet Him. What follows is an intimate time with his resurrected Lord.
Following his journey to the Hill of Resurrection, we find a strange account in Acts 1 where a timid and insecure Peter stands up in the midst of 120 disciples and replaces Judas in their number. I’ve read this account dozens of times and only lately stopped to ask myself “Why on earth is this even in here?”
Jesus gives the commission to the disciples to go and turn the world upside down, and that begins in Acts 2, but this account of the smallest measure is recorded right in front of it. Why?
I think it is to show us where Peter was at. From mighty words to betrayal to the smallest leadership act requiring the smallest amount of power, we see a road we have walked on our entire lives. We want to do mighty things for God, but this is all we’ve got. Shaking as he betrayed Christ, and undoubtedly shaking as he addresses the 120, he is made aware again of something you and I don’t think about but probably should.
Much Christian doctrine has somehow left what happened to Peter behind, and we have been powerless to fulfill the commission because an uncharged battery only lasts so long.
Peter was standing on the hill of resurrection with his sins forgiven when he replaced Judas. But we find that Jesus Himself gave a crucial command that most North American Christians have not educated themselves about, to our detriment.
In our relatively soft countries (speaking of the very real and terrible persecution facing so many in other places), we can actually attempt to serve Christ in the strength of our own souls… some of us for many years. Imagine being told to fly and rather submerging ourselves underwater and trying to accomplish the same distance? It can’t be done.
The Resurrected Jesus said: “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised…. in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes UPON you.”
We’ve missed it.
How on earth could we miss it? Here’s something that’s going to hurt…
If I was the devil and couldn’t keep you off of the Hill of Resurrection, I would keep you off of the next hill for sure. Jesus Himself says “Don’t leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes UPON you”
Of course the Holy Spirit had to come within you to rebirth your spirit, creating a spring of water coming up inside of you for eternal life… for yourself.
Jesus Himself tells us that the Spirit must now come UPON you in what clearly appears to be a separate experience, to provide rivers of water flowing out from you to the world. (John 7:38)
Days after his replacing of Judas, Peter is endued with POWER from on high, stands up and preaches a sermon that clearly should have preceded his own crucifixion by many of the same crowd who had killed his master, and 3,000 souls are added to their numbers in one day.
What happened to Peter? Not what… WHO. He within, who had saved his own life had now come UPON, empowering him for service. Don’t leave Jerusalem oh Christian until the Holy Spirit comes UPON you!!! It is commanded by Jesus.
I know if you’ve grown up in church that your daddy may have believed something different than your Heavenly Father is trying to teach you in this moment. The accounts in Scripture cannot be argued with, only accepted or rejected.
Peter says to the crowd “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, AND be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (and this is where most of us stop, but pay close attention now…)
“THEN (translated AND, ALSO, BUT, EVEN) you will received the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
To receive literally means “to experience, not to refuse or reject, to admit, to reach after, strive to obtain, to claim, procure for oneself, to make one’s own, to receive a person, give him access to oneself, to take in order to carry away”
Boil it down to this: “Seek and you will find. Ask and you shall receive.” These terms are not one-time in nature, meaning: keep seeking until you find, keep asking Dad until He gives you the Holy Spirit!!
“But wasn’t Pentecost a one time thing?”
Peter continues “This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away”
“But don’t only some people receive it?”
Peter continues again “This promise is to.. – ALL who have been called by the Lord our God”. This included YOU.
“But after Pentecost doesn’t the Holy Spirit comes UPON every new believer?”
Acts 8:14-17 “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen UPON none of them. They had ONLY been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
An uncharged battery only lasts so long folks.
Friends, I have had those professing Christ stand in front of me and arrogantly proclaim “I have Jesus and HE is enough for me!!! I don’t need or want this gift!”
I have heard that I “need to be careful about asking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit because you might be opening yourself up for demonic influence!”
So I’m asking my Father in heaven for bread and He will fill my mouth with stones?
So I’m asking my Father in heaven for the Holy Spirit to come UPON me and it will somehow allow the devil to give me a demon? (Luke 11:13)
These things are in direct disagreement to Jesus Himself and neither honor Him nor our Heavenly Father.
It’s time to call a spade a spade and admit that we are either ignorant of God’s will, or have rejected it for the following reasons ….
“But I don’t believe that!”
Neither did Peter, but he desperately needed to.
So says your neighbour about your salvation, and is doomed in his decision.
“But so and so is a marvellous Christian and they have not experienced this!”
When so and so can predict his own resurrection and fulfill it, then he can be the team captain and we’ll do what he says.
“But my daddy never believed this!”
That’s his problem, not yours.
“I don’t believe!”
Neither did Peter until it happened.
Former Peter would probably let you believe whatever you want to because his flaws of soul would determine his power and he’d be afraid to disagree with you.
But Peter AFTER looks you square in the eye and says “I’ve been to the Second Hill, I’ve come back to take you there with me. ARE YOU COMING??!”