When we began our study of the book of Acts back in early summer, I mentioned to you that the title of this book may not be the most accurate. Of course, the author Luke didn’t name this book – it was written as a letter to a man named Theophilus. But today in most of our Bibles, this book is commonly referred to as ”The Acts of the Apostles”.
However, for the last several chapters that we’ve gone through, the story hasn’t revolved around the Apostles at all! We’ve seen God do some amazing things through the lives of guys like Stephan and Philip. These two were not apostles, but rather were administrators in the church – their job was to make sure all the widows and orphans and those in need were taken care of! But of course, that certainly didn’t discount them from sharing about Jesus wherever they went – and as we’ve seen – God used both of these guys to spread the Gospel far beyond the borders of Jerusalem!
And then last week, we were introduced to three new characters who all played a very significant role in the growth of the church! Most obviously, we saw the Holy Spirit totally transform Saul from being a murderous zealot trying to destroy the church into a passionate evangelist who would do more than most to build and strengthen the church! And in addition to Saul, we also met Barnabas & Ananias – again, not apostles, but just faithful men led by the Holy Spirit – and who played significant roles in the salvation and transformation of Saul.
So it really isn’t a book about the Acts of the Apostles – but rather it’s a book about the amazing Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles and the many other faithful men and women who yielded themselves to the Spirit’s leading.
Which leads us now into today’s passage. Today the focus shifts back once again to the apostle Peter. And while we are going to see the Holy Spirit do some amazing things through Peter, perhaps more significantly, we’re going to see the Holy Spirit do some amazing things in Peter!
Because just like how Saul needed to be transformed from the inside out – so did Peter! And so do you and I!
All of us need the Holy Spirit to radically transform us to become more and more like Christ! And certainly that process had already begun for Peter some time ago, but we’re going to see another significant step in his journey towards Christ-likeness today.
We finished off last week with Saul being sent to his home town of Tarsus. He’s going to hang out there for a while – growing in his understanding of the Gospel and in his relationship with Christ – until Barnabas goes to find him in Acts chapter 11. And at that point they’ll go on to minister in Antioch and help start the first church there!
But until then, the story shifts back to follow Peter for a while. And there are three incidents in the next couple of chapters that are recorded for us from the life and ministry of Peter at this time – two shorter ones first – and then a much longer and more detailed one.
And it initially seems like the three are just a selection of snapshots – just some random examples of the ministry that God was doing through Peter at this time. But I think Luke is doing more than just that. He’s writing about these particular events in the life & ministry of Peter for a reason. I believe he wants us to see, not only how the Holy Spirit was working in the world, but also to see how God was working in Peter’s life – transforming Him into the likeness of Christ. So let’s take a look.