On this Memorial Day, let us remember the countless men and women of the Armed Services who gave life and limb to keep our nation free. May we honor their sacrifice with our grateful hearts.
Today, I offer a follow up reflection on the power of Pentecost. May you and I, today, step out with a faith fueled by the power of The Holy Spirit.
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say… “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 2:14,22-24 – NIV
You know I love Peter. I’ve told you that before. I love his human frailty. He has the best of intentions, but sometimes he falls short. Just like me.
Yet, the Peter we see in Acts 2 is a different Peter. The Peter of Pentecost is a new man altogether. Gone is the Peter who looked down at the waves. Gone is the frightened man on the boat. The Peter who denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed has vanished. This is a new Peter.
This is the Peter who has seen the risen Lord. This is the disciple who sees clearly now. This is the Peter, so emboldened by the absolute assurance of the resurrection that he is ready and willing to take a stand for Christ. This is the beloved Apostle who now knows the truth that has set him free.
Before Peter was a follower. Certainly he believed Jesus was the Messiah. Still, his eyes were not fully open. His understanding, not crystal clear.
But on the day of Pentecost, everything changed. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, the helper Jesus had promised. The Spirit brought him the light of the Truth and it changed his life forever.
Peter was set free from fear, from worry, from doubt. He became a man on a mission, a man destined to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel far and wide, to anyone with ears to hear.
This was truly a different Peter. This was the Peter that Jesus was talking about once upon a time. This Peter was the very rock upon which Christ would build His church. That rock showed up in Acts 2 and life was never the same again. Peter had The Spirit.
I don’t know about you, but I like this new Peter. I want to be like that Peter. I want to fix my eyes on Jesus and not look down at the waves. I want to know the Truth. I want to let the Truth set me free, free from fear, worry, doubt, selfishness. I want to be that Anita.
The Spirit did not just come to Peter. He came to dwell in all who receive the love of Jesus into their hearts. He came to be our Comforter, our Counselor, our Companion. He came with the power to set us free, to equip us for the work laid before us.
Today, let us embrace the Holy Spirit and find ourselves forever changed.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32 – NIV
O Holy Spirit, we welcome You this day. Take up residence in our hearts. For we know the resurrected Jesus. We know His love, His forgiveness, His grace. May we also know the power of the Holy Spirit, that this same power might show us the Truth, and that Truth might set us free.