Four Hundred and Forty Four Chances... and Counting (AI90D)
ACTS IN 90 DAYS!
A reading for Monday, May 11, 2020: Acts 2:14-36.
"Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, 'Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem,
let this be known to you, and listen to what I say."
We believe in a God of second chances... and third and fourth, and so on. No matter how you have lived your life up to this point, you have another chance right now to do something different. That's the lesson of today's scripture from Acts.
Peter was the apostle that was always out of step with Jesus, saying the wrong thing more often than the right one. He wanted to walk on water, but was overcome with fear and sank once he was out of the boat. Peter was the one that denied Jesus when our Lord needed his friends and disciples to stay with him the most during the crucifixion. It might be said, Peter failed to be faithful more times than he got it right.
But now filled with the Holy Spirit given by God earlier in chapter 2, Peter is suddenly has the gift of oration. He speaks to the gathered crowd and speaks with eloquence and conviction, providing evidence from Hebrew scripture (remember he is speaking to Jews in Judea) that Jesus is the Messiah. From the law to the prophets, by the authority of great King David, Peter tells those that gathered who and why Jesus lived and died and was resurrected.
Imagine for a moment that Jesus had given up on Peter. Who would give this speech? Perhaps another apostle, but what if this was the moment Peter was born to live into. God never gave up on Peter, maybe because he was the one to act in such a powerful way in this moment. Peter was given chance after chance to be faithful. Maybe Peter will again fall from faithfulness, but in this moment with God's grace he was perfect.
What about us? Like Peter, even if we have failed to be faithful more times than we want to admit, today is another day. God has not given up on us and we should not give up on God. Maybe today is our moment? Or maybe it will come many years from now? Sometimes we don't even know how the actions we take today will affect someone else. So live into your second chance... or three hundred and thirty seventh or four hundred and forty-fourth. We believe in a God who never gives up on us.
Thanks be to God.