As we learnt earlier in the week from Lynette we know Peter the disciple to be impetuous, with a big mouth and big heart, quick to jump to conclusions but equally capable of brilliant Spirit-led flashes of insight into who Jesus was. We know that at the beginning of Acts Peter steps up to the mark and begins to take the lead as the disciples wait for the promise of the Father – the Holy Spirit – and begin their ministry and establish the early church. We also know that Jesus called Simon ‘Peter’, the rock on which He would build His church, and Peter’s journey ended in Rome where he was crucified by Nero and became the first Bishop of Rome, or Pope. There are two letters attributed to Peter, though modern scholarship generally rejects this.
However most sermons and teaching about Peter usually focus on Simon the disciple rather than Peter the Apostle, his wisdom and teaching evidenced in the early chapters of Acts and the two letters and, as we also learnt earlier this week, Mark’s gospel which it is believed was heavily influenced by Peter’s teaching’s and eye-witness memories.
Peter’s actions in the first 12 chapters of Acts are mostly concerned with preaching the gospel and performing miracles – doing what he had seen Jesus do – initially to the Jews, but increasingly as the Spirit led him to the Gentiles, and this is where we see his wisdom, in realising that the message wasn’t just for the Jews but was for all people, and encouraging the other believers to spread out and spread the gospel across the whole of the known world. Try reading the first 12 chapters as if you were reading a novel (ignore the chapter and verse breaks), it won’t take long to read the story and get a picture of Peter and his wisdom in leading the early church.
Father, fill us with Peter’s enthusiasm, excitement and wisdom as we preach your word to those unbelievers who need to hear it. May we be able to perform miracles as Peter did, to help to spread your precious word, and give us Peter’s strength and wisdom to cope with the opposition that we might face as we do so. Amen.