Only God Could Do That!
The Aurora Borealis (a.k.a. Northern Lights) were out in spectacular brilliance last night! My wife and I stood outside and watched for 10 minutes as the green lights danced and waved across the sky. We have seen them before, but never in multi-colour, so when we saw some red as well we were super excited! The song “God of Wonders” came to my lips. The sky was filled with nighttime light that stretched across continents. Only God could do that. Man’s best attempt to inspire awe with nighttime light (grand fireworks displays) pales in comparison.
In our study of Acts, last Sunday we reached the narrative of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41). When we read parts of Scripture, especially familiar texts, we tend to breeze through it and fail to be awed like we ought to. Much of Scripture describes for us only things that God can do; these Scriptures ought to inspire awe in us. Details within the Pentecost narrative ought to fill us with amazement. I want to consider one such detail for this blog post.
Let’s consider the main speaker-Peter. In the gospels we see he is both impetuous and cowardly. He lets uncontrolled anger steer him (i.e. cutting off an ear in the Garden of Gethsemane-John 18:12), and makes impossible promises (Luke 22:31-33). After his boastful declaration of undying loyalty, he denies Christ three times in history’s greatest betrayal (Luke 22:54-62). Do you remember what Jesus told Peter in Mt.16:18? “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Jesus knew that he would transform this man into a steady force. In the Pentecost narrative we see the fulfillment of that prophecy. Peter preached the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and 3,000 people were saved! Jesus’ words were not a prophecy that Peter would be the first pope; His point was that Peter would be the tool that Jesus used to begin building his church. Was Peter of Pentecost the same person as the man we read about in the gospels? No! This extreme makeover was something only that God can do! He was the same person only in name. But the Holy Spirit transformed him into a completely different person!
In Christ we are new creations (2 Cor.5:17)! If you don’t feel or look like somebody different than your old self, you are not living in the Spirit. The message of the book of Acts is that we are tools Jesus wants to use to continue building His church, but we can only do that as the Holy Spirit fills us and works through us. May you seek the Spirit’s filling often (Eph.5:18), and keep in step with the Spirit (Gal.5:25). Then we will live with supernatural power to fulfill our call to be witnesses to King Jesus. May others marvel at our Kingdom representation and provide us the opportunity to declare that it’s only something that God can do!