Friday, April 10, 2015

Prison Musings

By Colleen O’Sullivan

They brought (Peter and John) into their presence and questioned them, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders:  If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed.  He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”  (Acts 4:7-12)

I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.  (Philippians 4:13)

Peter’s musings as he and John spend the night under guard:
I have no idea how this will turn out.  Do a good deed, heal a crippled man, and you find yourself locked up!  This has been quite a day.  I didn’t know I had it in me to speak like that in front of a crowd.  You always said we might be persecuted and despised but not to worry, because you would give us the words to say.  Jesus, I miss you so much, but through your Spirit, it was like you were whispering in my ear.

What a journey this has been.  I remember the day I first met you by the sea.  I was contented with my lot.  Fishing with my father and brother wasn’t such a bad way to spend my days.  But there was something irresistible about you.  You were so enthusiastic and convincing, I felt compelled to follow you.  Could that really have been just a few years ago? 

It’s actually only been a little over three years since that day, but I think I’ve lived several lifetimes worth of highs and lows in that time.  I knew you were special from the start.  I guessed that you were the long-awaited Messiah, but, looking back, I had no clue what that meant.  I had stars in my eyes and lofty, earthly visions of grandeur for you and us.

I loved you more than I’ve ever loved any other human being, but I made a bumbling mess of things on more than one occasion.  I was shocked when you so strongly rebuked me, because I couldn’t bear the thought of you suffering.  I wanted to curl up in embarrassment, but I truly didn’t want to see any harm come to you.

I honestly always thought I would lay down my life for you if necessary, but it turned out exactly the opposite.  You laid down your life for me, for all of us.  And all I could do was deny I ever knew you.  That was the low point of my entire life, when I realized what I had done to my best friend.  I was overcome by sorrow and overwhelmed with gratitude and humility that you forgave my betrayal.

We all took your death hard.  I wanted to die myself from the grief that came over me.  You being nailed to a cross wasn’t anything I ever envisioned.  What joy filled my heart when I realized you had come back to us three days later!  Your rising from the dead is the best thing that’s ever happened in my entire life!

I hope I don’t ever let you down again.  Continue to give me the words to say, Lord, because there are a lot of angry people in Jerusalem, who don’t even want to hear your name spoken aloud.  On my own I wouldn’t know what to do or have the courage to do it, but with you, I know I will be empowered to speak the truth.  I want all the world to know who you are!

Peter is my favorite of the disciples.  Whenever I ponder all the twists and turns of his life, I am filled with hope.  He was far from perfect, just as we all are.  But, if we live in Christ, as Peter did, God, through the Holy Spirit, can empower us and use us to accomplish far greater works in his name than we ever dreamed possible. 

Which disciple is your favorite and why?

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