Today’s devotion is based on the sermon of June 5, 2022. Listen to it here!
Speak up or stay silent?
Just 50 days earlier when confronted about his connection to Jesus, Peter said, “I don’t know the man!” Three times when given a “crowd” to speak to, he cowered and denied his connection to Jesus.
Has this ever happened to you?
Given an opportunity to speak to the truth of the Lord…but then cave? Or speak the exact opposite than a clear witness?
I know I have.
Like Peter, afterwards you feel as though you have let your Savior down when you deny him, or at least fail to speak up for him. It is crushing as Jesus promised and warned:
Matthew 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
So what changed over the next month and a half that at Pentecost he spoke boldly to the crowd the Lord gathered?
Jesus could have let Peter in his despair after the denial and the voice of Peter’s witness could have been silent. Yet Jesus did not want Satan to win, but rather to unleash the power of the Spirit through Peter. So before he went back into heaven, Jesus spent time directly with Peter to reinstate and reaffirm the purpose Jesus had for him – “Feed my sheep!”
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)
Then just a short time after, the Spirit of God filled Peter to speak with boldness to the crowd that was gathered in Jerusalem.
What does that mean for us? Jesus does not want a failure in witness to silence our witness. Jesus went to the cross for the times we remained silent. The Spirit of God recorded Jesus’ conversation with Peter so we too could hear Jesus’ heart that builds on the forgiveness he gives to send us out once again to be his witnesses.
And, like Peter, he doesn’t send us out without the promise that the Spirit of God would be with us. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… (Acts 1:8) While this promise was first directed at the original followers of Jesus, the promise is given to all who are witnesses of the word and work of the Lord and desire to proclaim it to others.
So, speak up! The Lord has given you experience with his love and grace. Speak boldly! The Spirit of God is with you!
Apply: What is your story of grace? A witness speaks to what they see and hear. What difference does it make that you have faith in Jesus?
Prayer: Thank you Lord for your forgiveness when I fail to witness. Thank you for your Spirit who empowers me to witness. AMEN