“…multitudes of men and women were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them.” ~ Acts 5:14-15
The disciple with the foot-shaped mouth. That’s what we call him. Maybe deserved…but I have a soft spot for Peter. Probably because he reminds me of someone I know…
Peter hit some pretty deep lows in the narratives we have of his life. He had some conversely high moments as well, but we tend to remember him for those valleys. Our nickname for him attests to that. I gotta feel bad on that account, because as I study Peter’s life I see more and more that his is a story of grace revealing.
He did have a habit of saying anything that came to mind, and often it was the wrong thing.
He did receive some forceful rebukes from Christ because he had his eyes on the wrong prize.
He did fold in a moment of truth, denying the one to whom he’d sworn his life.
Peter would be the disciple that, based on his many failures, you would think he would be the least effective in Kingdom work. He was terribly flawed, and it seemed he lacked the sense to keep those foibles under wraps. And yet, Jesus gave him the name Peter—Petros, which means ‘rock.’ That’s interesting, isn’t it?
We see in Peter’s life that living in Christ and walking in obedience is a day-by-day exercise. We also see that failure gets mixed up in there. Thinking about that, something powerful struck me when I was reading Acts this week. In our verse today, Peter is in a precarious human position. People are bringing out their sick in hopes that even just his shadow would fall over them and they would be healed.
Whoa there. That’s something. And our hopelessly flawed character, whom we may expect to puff out his chest, begin boasting that he is God’s right hand man and that Jesus had “given him the keys to the Kingdom,” what did he do?
He preached Christ. Even went to prison for it. And then started doing it all over again.
Renewed can have a host of different meanings. Fresh strength. Clean spirit. Joy. In Peter’s life, I see all of those. But I see something powerful undergirding them all. God took those flaws that we like to keep track of and used them—He built humility into a big mouth, took his unique boldness and made it useful, and didn’t let his failures keep him from his Kingdom call.
Renewed means that God takes the good and the bad, and he makes it his, revealing his grace through lives in ways that are unexpected and amazing.
Lord, please make me renewed.