11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant[b] Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you deniedthe Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus[c] has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
At first glance the existence of John in this story seems almost pointless. He doesn’t seem to say or do anything. However, what we can know from his presence is that early in the life of the church, life was done in community. This would include ministry. Peter acted with John present. They were a team. There are lots of lone wolf ministers in the church today. People in the Protestant tradition start up churches and form ministries that rely very heavily on one person. However, the church in the Book of Acts got along with each other. There was unity. The church in the west needs to know how to focus on the work of the Spirit without so quickly seeing the need to divide.
Although the power of the miracle draws a crowd, the response of Peter is thoughtful and reasoned. He appeals to the body of knowledge which all of his listeners knew. We too should be reliant on the Spirit but smart. Many Christians don’t know their Bibles well today and don’t know how to engage with current thought or culture.
In talking with my friend Bill from church today, my heart is stirred to pray that God would move in us powerfully. Our churches are crippled and struggling and our culture is aggressive against our faith. It is time to admit that, like Peter and John, we may lack material resources, but we do have the power of the Spirit.
Oh God, let us have opportunity to speak lovingly and powerfully to the lost. They assert that we have no truth, but your truth heals and sets free. We are crippled Christians limping toward heaven. Show us ways to move in power so that your love and wisdom may be known.
- How would you outline what Peter said?
- What is John’s role?
- Where does such boldness of speech lead?
- What opportunities do we have in our world to share our faith?
- How can we copy Peter’s style?