THE JUNCTION | 7.6
PETER & THE HOLY SPIRIT
Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.
This week we are starting a new series, looking at Bible stories that help us deal with our response to fear. This is so relevant right now as the lockdown rules change, some can return to school and college, some can begin to go to work and others prepare to leave for uni or move into the next chapter of life. Uncertainty can lead to fear and worry. We are going to pick up where our last series left off because the events of Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit, brought about a change in Jesus’ followers. And there was one in particular that helps us with fear… that is the disciple Peter.
Check out this Bibe Project video and pay attention to Peter.
Peter Addresses the Crowd (Acts 2:14-41)
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. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
“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. David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Peter is a colourful character and a rough fisherman. Before Pentecost he always had something to say that got him in trouble or was wrong. You might remember the story about Peter denying even knowing Jesus, let alone being one of his closest friends. But when he receives the Holy Spirit at Pentecost something changes in Peter. He is able to speak clearly about Jesus; so clearly that thousands gave their lives to be followers of Jesus too.
What does this have to do with fear?
Well, all the disciples were fearful at this point. Remember thier friend Jesus had been killed on the cross and, although they had seen him alive and risen from the dead, they were anxiously waiting. Waiting for the next thing to happen.
I’ll be you know what that feels like… “why can’t I just fastforward to…?” “can’t this day just hurry up?!” “When will this lockdown be over?!” Well it’s comforting that the disciples know that feel. So, they are waiting as they’ve been told to do.
Then the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost and fills them all and it’s Peter, who has a little problem with saying the right thing, who gets up and speaks. The Holy Spirit has many effects in our lives and one of the main ones is to witness to God (that means to point people to him.) He still does that in us today. Helping us to speak of God when we don’t have the words. When I say speak, I mean more than just words… our whole lives can witness to God’s love.
In the second letter to Timothy we can read this…
It’s not that bad things won’t happen to you anymore when you are a Christian… They do! But when we are filled with the Spirit we have God’s strength in us to help us when we are afraid. This verse from 2 Timothy reminds us that it’s God’s Spirit that helps us to deal with the presence of fear.
What are you afraid of?
How can you work on those fears?
What would it look like to ask God to help?
Dear God, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit at Pentecost and for promising to keep filling us today. Please help me when I am scared and anxious. May you keep filling me with your spirit of power and love to be a witness for you when many others are fearful and worried about things. We pray for those that are making decisions for about the lockdown and world health that they don’t make their decisions from a place of fear. Amen.
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