“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 Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The promise Jesus made to his disciples that he would abide with them forever if they were to abide in him had conditions attached. The conditions of discipleship laid down by our Lord are straight forward and true: (1) You shall receive power, (2) The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and (3) You shall be witnesses unto me. The men and women that he is going to use in kingdom work are those that love him personally, passionately and are devoted to him beyond anything on this earth. The conditions of discipleship are firm, but they are powerful.
Jesus had plans for Peter but he had to prepare him for the work ahead. He pointedly questioned Peter’s love in the presence of his peers and it must have been painful. Jesus did not ask “Do you love me?” one time but three, I can imagine Peter feeling like the unfaithful spouse on the witness stand. To drive home the suspicion of infidelity Jesus told Peter “before the cock crows thrice you will deny me.” Simply put Jesus was saying I hear you, but I know the truth. Jesus was not trying to embarrass Peter he was provoking him to do some serious soul-searching, to think before he spoke and he requires the same from you and me.
Before God puts power in your hands He has to be assured beyond a doubt, reasonable or otherwise, that you are going to be able to handle it. The work ahead requires a different level of truthfulness, loyalty, faithfulness and devotion to God if you are to witness unto the His Son. Peter, the cowardly disciple, standing with the eleven, was about to explain to the men of Judea and Jerusalem what they were witnessing. Peter had “received power from on high” through the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The coward had been given “the keys to the kingdom of heaven” and was ready to use them as he boldly rebuked the crowd defending their charges of drunkenness by the men filled with the Holy Ghost.
“Now when they heard this they were pricked to their heart and said unto Peter and
to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) What Peter said hurt the feelings of many of his fellowmen. The truth—the Gospel truth—has a tendency to hurt. Putting his concern for their feelings aside he told them what they already knew. A devoted love and passion for Christ is the only way to experience the power of the Holy Ghost. Peter did not speak with words of cowardly denial, He spoke with power and authority as he witnessed to the same Savior he had fearfully denied.
“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 Spirit” (Acts
2:38). Peter finally understood that God had invested everything in Jesus Christ to save a sinful world, now the time had come for Peter to invest his all in absolute confidence in Him. There are places in our lives where that level of faith has not been reached as of yet, places untouched by the life-giving, soul saving, and courage filling power of God. There were no such empty places in the life of our Lord and Savior, and are to be none in Peter’s
life or ours.
Salvation and power come by way of Jesus of Nazareth, there is no other way. God had divine foreknowledge that men would reject Jesus, take him, crucify him and slay him. But by his power He raised him up, loosening the pains and chains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it. The same God, with the same power, raised Peter from cowardly to courageous as Jesus had promised and He is searching for men and women to pour out His Spirit upon. Faithful Christians have to be witnesses to Jesus Christ “both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This is the will of God this is the application of power.
“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” (Acts 2:39). The real meaning of eternal life is a life with power that gives confidence, a faith-based confidence that allows the believer to face anything that comes their way without wavering. Peter adopted this point of view, and his life was filled with many glorious opportunities to see the wonders of God in all things in devoted kingdom service. God is disciplining us, as Jesus disciplined Peter, to get us to a place of spiritual power. “This is life eternal, that they may know Thee.” Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- “In Jesus’ Name” What That Really Means (barebonesgospel.wordpress.com)