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From Fear to Faith: Peter’s Stand for Jesus

Description: Having denied Jesus at the crucifixion, disciple Peter was transformed by the Holy Spirit. His testimony gave rulers a challenging problem.

From Fear to Faith: Peter’s Stand for Jesus

Introduction: Peter’s Stand for Jesus

The transformation of Peter (one of Jesus' closest disciples) is truly remarkable. Around forty days earlier, Peter had been so frightened of being identified as a follower of Jesus, he’d denied knowing him three times. This same Peter now stood boldly before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, accusing them of stage-managing the death of the only person who could offer salvation to all.


How did this situation arise?

The trigger for this dramatic confrontation was a beggar (Acts 3:1-10). This man was over forty years old and unable to walk from birth. Every day, people would carry him to the temple gate (named ‘Beautiful’) and every day he would beg from those going into the temple courts. It was a good spot and, almost certainly, he was well known.


Even so, most people probably passed him by with hardly a glance, but on this day, everything changed. Peter and John did not walk by indifferently. Instead, they looked directly at the man and asked that he look at them. The beggar didn’t need to be told twice, no doubt assuming he was in for a generous hand out.


The beggar’s miraculous healing

It must have been disheartening for the beggar to discover that Peter and John had no money to offer. However, the apostles were seeing beyond the man’s immediate needs. After calling upon the name of Jesus, Peter took the beggar’s hand and helped him up. Instantly his feet and ankles became strong, and he leapt up, able to walk with them into the temple courts, jumping and praising God.


Not surprisingly, this public spectacle quickly drew a crowd to Peter and John. As people recognised the beggar, they became openly astonished, eager to hear what the apostles had to say. Peter didn’t disappoint. He seized the opportunity and spoke boldly about Jesus and the resurrection, convincing many, leading to a significant number of believers (Acts 4:4).


Peter’s arrest and interrogation

Peter's powerful testimony did not go unnoticed by the temple authorities. They were far from pleased. Teaching about Jesus and the resurrection was a direct challenge, especially since the Sadducees, who held significant power, denied the resurrection. Consequently, Peter and John were arrested and spent the night in jail.


Despite this early setback, Peter and John did not lose their resolve. Their appearance before the Sanhedrin next day became a God-given opportunity to testify about Jesus. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they spoke with courage and conviction, recounting the miracles they had personally witnessed.


Astonished leaders - Peter's stand for Jesus

The boldness of Peter and John astonished the Sanhedrin. The disciples were unschooled in religious matters, just ordinary men. Here they were, fearlessly proclaiming that the Jesus their leaders had crucified had been raised from the dead by God, and it was by his power the beggar had been healed. Confronted with the undeniable evidence of the healed man and many witness testimonies, the council faced a problem.


Unable to refute the miracle, all the Sanhedrin could do was command Peter and John to stop speaking about Jesus. But the apostles' response was fearless. They asked them to judge for themselves whether it would be right in God's eyes, to listen to them or to God, and added that they couldn’t help speaking about all they had seen and heard.


Conclusion

Peter's transformation from fearful denier to unflinching proclaimer of Jesus' resurrection, is a powerful testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter’s courage and conviction were rooted in faith and the guidance he received from the Holy Spirit.


This story, detailed in Acts 3 and 4, inspires us to seek the Holy Spirit's strength to overcome fear and to boldly live out our faith. It’s remarkable how brave we can be when the Holy Spirit is guiding us, and all we have to do is ask for his help.



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