Recognizing the Greatness of the Resurrected Savior
(Gaining a Boldness Like Peter's, Part 2 of 3)

 

Looking up amongst tall redwood trees into a blue sky


Sometimes I clam up when it comes to openly talking about Jesus and claiming Him as my Savior and Lord outside of Christian circles. I bet I’m not alone in this. Somehow the gospel of Jesus doesn’t always roll naturally off the tongue, even from tongues of seasoned Christians.

A year ago, I pondered this question: How did Peter transform from denying Jesus at the cross to boldly preaching the gospel to people across social, economic, cultural, and political classes? So, I launched into a personal exploration of his story which grew into a 9-session series in our work Bible study. Any one of us could’ve been Peter, an everyday, hard-working fisherman earning a normal living and spending non-work time with family and friends. By the end of the series, we recognized Peter as a man who loved Jesus more than he loved himself, and who died a martyr because he wouldn’t stop declaring Jesus as the Savior of the world.


In a series of 3 blog posts, we look at what made Peter the outspoken Apostle of the Acts and his New Testament letters. Take some time to read Part 1 where I confess my own self-preservation at the expense of sharing the good news of Jesus. We centered on the hope that is inside us – a hope that helps us approach others with eternity in mind.

Here in Part 2, we will explore how Peter was recharged by the resurrected Savior. Jesus rose victoriously from His grave, but Peter didn’t quite believe it at first. Though he raced to the tomb when he heard that the women had seen Him, he was confused (Luke 24:11-12). But perhaps this was the spark he needed to set ablaze his boldness, for not long before this, Peter looked into Jesus’ eyes with bitter anguish after denying that he had known Him.

Peter eventually understood that his Messiah was alive. Read his words in Acts 2:23-24:


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.


Imagine Peter as he became more and more convinced that Jesus did in fact rise from His grave on the 3rd day, just as He said He would. Each time he saw Jesus, he understood God’s plan with more clarity. With each meeting he gained confidence in God’s purpose for himself. He grew to the point where he was so vitalized by the living Savior that he jumped into the sea from his fishing boat and rushed to shore to be with Him (John 21:6-7). Peter was Peter again because Jesus was alive! He was energized by the resurrection, and his zeal to proclaim the gospel afterwards is proof of it.


Peter was Peter again because Jesus was alive!
He was energized by the resurrection, and
his zeal to proclaim the gospel afterwards is proof of it.

***


Before Jesus left the earth, he asked Peter to confirm his commitment to Him. Allow me to paraphrase John 21:15-19.

Do you love me, Peter? Do you really love me?
You need to love me with sacrifice and commitment
because I want you to lead my people.
You must shepherd them, teach them, lead them,
for I have given you a mission,
as I have given to all my disciples:
to reach the nations with my gospel.
Teach and preach with clarity
and be sure that those who follow me
get grounded in God’s truth
so that they, too, can tell others
about the eternal life that I offer.
This is what I chose for you to do,
and you will be martyred
as you carry out your labor of love for me.

  

Peter received his purpose for life directly from our risen Savior and he fulfilled it. By recognizing the presence and charge of his resurrected Lord, Peter gained purpose, focus, commitment, and courage to share the good news of Jesus to all who would listen. 

Are we moved by the resurrection of our Savior? Do we really believe that Jesus is alive, all powerful, and in complete control? Do we believe He is present – that He is with us today and always?

Does the resurrection of Jesus give us courage?

It should. It represents the ultimate victory. Jesus defeated death.

Peter recognized (just as he preached in Acts 2:22-41) the greatness of our resurrected Savior. He understood that Jesus died because it was part of God’s plan to free us from the penalty of sin. He realized that He rose from his grave. He knew that Jesus was no longer in the tomb and His body would not see decay. He was not abandoned in the grave and neither are we. When Jesus returned to His Father in Heaven, He gave us the Holy Spirit who will never leave us.

Do we believe that death cannot defeat Jesus, and that He has all authority (Matthew 28:18). Do we believe that He’s given that authority to us (Luke 10:19)? Do we believe we will accomplish greater things than Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit (John 14:12-14)?

Yes. Greater things. Those were Jesus’ words. We’re to reach the world with His gospel truth, His gift of eternal life for anyone who will hear and believe. We have the privilege to share His good news with the worldwide masses, in scores more than Jesus ever did. We are many and we have much at our disposal. We have magazines and books. Our sermons are broadcast on radio and TV. We produce podcasts and videos. We have telecommunications, social media, and other software systems on the Internet. We can make a phone call and send a text. We have resources, and when we use them for the sake of the gospel, the gates of Hell will not prevail because Jesus gave us all authority. We might be challenged and thwarted, but we won’t be defeated.

Do we have that vision? We go forth with the life-giving power of our resurrected Savior. Because He lives, we live not only eternally, but with confidence in His promise to meet every need, even while society throws ridicule, insults, and punches at us. We can feast in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23). And we can invite others to the table without fearing enemy attacks because all attacks are far less potent than our resurrected Jesus. Because Jesus lives, we can speak up for Him with confidence.


We go forth with the life-giving power
of our resurrected Savior.

***

I’d love to hear about your experiences reaching others with the gospel – in mass and person by person. Feel free to also share about your struggles to share about Jesus. Use the comments below. We all have the same charge as Peter and we received it from our resurrected, living Savior.

 

 

Continue to Part 3...


If the gospel and the Great Commission is new to you and you want to learn more about it, please email me at authordlv@att.net or visit the Good News page on my blog. Jesus is alive and preparing a place for us in Heaven while we serve Him until He comes back for us.

Read more blog posts here.

 

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Comments

  1. Great post Stephen. We are called to share Christ and once you start to share, it gets easier. I remember doing a construction mission in Argentina. We never spoke with our driver (too early and too late in the day. We were exhausted). Yet, he asked us about faith because he watched our actions. Pray and God will lead us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a good story, Yvonne. Our actions are our testimony and we can follow them up with words. Yes, if we pray, and if we follow with the sensitivity and guidance of the Holy Spirit, God will lead us to those He wants us to speak with. I'll write about the Holy Spirit in Part 3 of this series.

      Delete
  2. So good, Stephen. The message of the cross should be transformational, in my opinion. We should learn this truth and then it should move us to a changed heart. That's why Peter changed so significantly. As you say, "By recognizing the presence and charge of his resurrected Lord, Peter gained purpose, focus, commitment, and courage to share the good news of Jesus to all who would listen." Amen!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jessica. So much of who Peter was is a result of how convinced he was that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world who could not be contained by death. You might say his confidence caught up to his zeal.

      Delete
  3. Such convicting questions. Do I really believe? Because if I do, nothing else is as important. But the reality is, regardless of whatever I say I believe, my actions will always reveal what I really believe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actions definitely speak louder than words, Ava. If we really believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He rose from His grave, we would follow with more confidence and passion.

      Delete
  4. Stephen, I've enjoyed this series on Peter. If he can be transformed by the resurrection of Jesus, there's hope for anyone and everyone. I love is thought, "we’re to reach the world with His gospel truth, His gift of eternal life for anyone who will hear and believe. We have the privilege to share His good news with the worldwide masses, in scores more than Jesus ever did."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you find this series meaningful, Karen. I appreciate and I'm encouraged by your bold testimony for Jesus, to reach the world with the gospel truth of Jesus and His resurrection. May we never hold back in sharing the gospel.

      Delete
  5. As always, a powerful message, Stephen, with an examination of the truths of Peter’s thoughts and emotions as he encountered the resurrected Christ. It easy to forget the reality of the human side of Jesus’ disciples, but they were just like us with their own doubts and fears. They were real people just like us, and they came to trust Christ’s resurrection as a fact for they had seen it with their own eyes. You brought that to life. A great post, Stephen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Melinda. Experiencing things in real life have a profound effect of people, but the amazing thing is the effect never faded with the Disciples. They continued to preach and teach, leading people to Jesus and starting churches. I hope my zeal will not dwindle but instead increase with each passing day. Jesus is real and He's alive. May that fact move us to fulfill His wishes for us.

      Delete
  6. Fantastic post, Stephen! “Peter was Peter again” is the transformation we all experience. You stated that so beautifully. It hit me in the solar plexus like a punch!. We are made His, forgiven, restored, rebirthed by the Holy Spirit! Like Peter, we are our true, best, uninhibited, loving, and kind selves. Thanks be to God!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, Melinda! We can be who God made us to be when we're rebirthed by the Holy Spirit and recognize that Jesus is alive. As Paul expressed at the end of his discussion on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, "...thanks be to God! He gives us the victory... Therefore...stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." Because of the resurrection of our Savior, we can be who God made us to be. We can be ourselves with confidence.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Goliath!

A Gift for Jesus (A Short Poem)

Yielding to the Holy Spirit to Accomplish Great Things
(Gaining a Boldness Like Peter's, Part 3 of 3)