This morning I am very excited to start us off on a new journey! Over the last 13 months, we have worked our way through the book of Acts – studying the early church and the first disciples as they began to carry out their Jesus-given mission of being His witnesses and bringing the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. And I trust that you’d agree with me in saying that it’s just been a real encouragement to us to watch how Jesus transformed those early disciples. I mean, they were just regular men and women like you and I, but God did some amazing things in and through them that totally transformed their lives and at the same time, also transformed the world around them.
Of course Paul is the poster-boy for people who were radically transformed for Christ – being a murder transformed into a missionary – but I think for a lot of us, he’s a little hard to relate to. Most of us don’t have such radical stories of transformation – nor do we really want to! I’m glad that I didn’t have to get saved from a life of crime or some other sensational life-disaster! While that is some people’s story, for the majority of us, we’re a lot more run-of-the-mill!
We probably relate more to guys like Peter and John – just regular, average folks who weren’t murderers or extortionists or anything like that. I mean, maybe they were a little rough around the edges – I can imagine Peter having a bit of a temper and maybe some self-control issues. But on the whole, I imagine they were both probably pretty decent fellows even before they met Jesus. They were hard-working fisherman – good jewish boys who tried to live good, decent lives… Much like all of us!
But you know, even these good, decent, Jewish boys still required a radical transformation. And as we follow their stories through the pages of the Scriptures, we see that this is exactly what happened.
We won’t trace their whole story this morning, but I just want to point out one little verse that kinda captures their transformation.