Have you ever met someone who totally blew you away, only to discover later that it’s someone who you knew in a long-forgotten time and place? Maybe it’s an acquaintance from high school that was an also-ran then, but now is a famous actor. Maybe it’s a former co-worker that somehow made it big. I had one of those moments the other day when I saw that a guy who used to work for me is now the Vice President of Finance at a multi-billion dollar company. Who knew? The “what-happened-to-you” syndrome. It’s as if you are meeting someone for the first time.
It reminds me of Peter. Peter was a big, burly fisherman who generally had foot-in-mouth disease. He was a ready-fire-aim sort of guy. There are some definite bright spots in his ministry with Jesus (his famous confession of faith, walking on water – briefly, etc.), but when it came to interaction with the religious authorities of his day, Peter was surprisingly silent. Not a word spoken. And the tail end of Jesus’ time on earth was particularly rough on him. He went from this marvelous confession of Jesus as the Christ and witnessing the transfiguration to the horrible events of Jesus’ death and denying Him three times. Even after the resurrection and Peter’s restoration, he has to get away to do some fishing. He’s gone through a roller-coaster of emotions. And then He sees Jesus ascend into the air. His hopes of experiencing the coming kingdom seem to vanish.
And then…Peter and a group of friends are in Jerusalem for Pentecost, and the Spirit comes like a rushing whirlwind distributing tongues of fire, and Peter is changed. The crowds who have come from all over the Mediterranean hear the disciples proclaiming the wondrous acts of God in their native languages and are confused. Someone stands up to speak, and behold, it’s Peter the also-ran. But something is different. His confidence and boldness are a far cry from the hot and cold, brashness and timidity of the gospels. This Peter is filled with the Spirit and is not afraid to bring a strong rebuke, not only against fellow countrymen, but also the religious leaders for their part in crucifying Jesus. This Peter proclaims the gospel in a mighty and fearless way. This Peter is one of the great pillars of the church. And the religious leaders are confused…they have the “what-happened-to-you” syndrome. And they recognized that he had been with Jesus. What an amazing statement! And for Peter, that made all the difference. So what about you, how has your life been impacted by the presence of the Spirit and your time with Jesus?
Until next time…stay salty.