Acts 3:16 “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”
Peter could hardly have been accused of being subtle! Every record we have of him speaking he pulls no punches. To us today it seems almost surprising and unnecessarily harsh for him to have been so accusatory toward his hearers in the three verses just before this, but he was establishing their need for repentance, which is sadly lacking in most preaching today. “Political correctness” is certainly a tool of the devil! We don’t know exact numbers, but verse 4 of the next chapter indicates that there were a lot of conversions that day. As an American evangelist told me over 40 years ago, we can’t save anybody; our job is to help them understand they are lost. When we are so careful not to offend, that’s not likely to happen. We aren’t to offend needlessly, but all too often fear of offense muzzles the truth and even denies it. Peter was far from being a trained orator; he was an exemplar of the “ignorant country hick.” That’s why it was so astounding to the members of the Sanhedrin that he spoke as he did. (4:13) Education and training are certainly not bad, but they are no substitute for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, even though, sadly enough, they are often taken to be so. It is a travesty that some denominations require academic testing before they will license and ordain someone to preach. Peter would never have passed such testing! When we substitute human criteria for the calling of God, we are guaranteed to fail at advancing His kingdom.
I have always been blessed and encouraged to read about Peter and read what he wrote. I am amused that the first letter with his name on it is used for teaching Greek because it is so beautiful and grammatically correct, but 2nd Peter is the opposite, showing that it was written directly by him rather than being “grammar-checked” by Silas or some other trained scribe. (1 Peter 5:12) That said, 2 Peter 1:9 has been enormously helpful to me personally. We all need the “unvarnished truth” much more than we like to admit. Coming from an academic family and being a seminary graduate, my “credentials” don’t have much in common with Peter’s, so I’ve got to be careful not to rely on gifts or training, but rather on the Lord my God. My gifts and training can be useful tools, but they are worthless and even counter-productive if they aren’t totally submitted to God.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the example of Peter, who had some of the biggest failures but also was used by You gloriously to bless countless generations of believers. Help me likewise take my eyes off of myself and fix them on You, to walk on water as called for and draw many into Your kingdom, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!