The book of Acts opens at a really interesting point in the lives of the apostles. Jesus has been crucified, he’s been resurrected and has been moving among them again – as a resurrected body – for many days. To think what their minds have had to stretch to accommodate is beyond me. And then they then see Him raised up and ascended to Heaven. At this point they are so dumbstruck it takes two angels to rouse them. Days later they are all in a room together and tongues of fire come and sit on them and they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Each part of this story amazes me, but the part that I love the most is Peter.
Peter, who is so confident from the beginning when he is initially walking with the alive Jesus, declares boldly and yet Jesus knows all along that these things Peter declares will be his downfall. His boldness will lead him into a valley that he has to find bravery to move out of. The words he so confidently declares, that he would never deny Jesus, actually do happen. In the midst of Jesus’ arrest Peter finds himself doing the one thing he swore he would never do and instead of following Jesus, he follows his fear.
Days later, after the resurrection, Peter finds himself sitting with Jesus and that boldness returns…almost as exasperation. He now knows what it’s like to follow fear versus following Jesus and he finds forgiveness and grace in the words of Jesus.
Then Pentacost comes. He’s followed Jesus on both sides of the resurrection and he knows what it is to walk away from Him. He knows what it is to walk towards fear instead of grace. And he stands in front of a crowd, armed now with the Holy Spirit and a new kind of boldness enters. He stands with courage, but also with humbleness, as one who has walked through the valleys and also the peaks. He’s touched the scars, heard the words of love and now speaks them with confidence.