Sure I was afraid! You would have been afraid, too. I had just seen the most powerful man I had ever known bound and beaten and dragged away like a common criminal, worse, like a stray dog. If HE couldn’t stop them, what could I ever do?
What’s that? Yes, you’re right, He renamed me Peter, the Rock. But that night, there was nothing in me but sand. Sand runs and so did I. I denied Him three times with nothing more than a vagrant or a servant girl to challenge me. I could never have stood against the soldiers or the Pharisees.
Later, after He came back to us, He forgave me. Three times He asked for my love and I pledged it to Him forever. Can you imagine what it was like having Him back with us after we had seen Him dead and buried? Wonderful is too weak and beggarly a word. It was…everything…all at once…each time He appeared to us.
But then He went away, four hundred of us saw it, and as breathtaking as the sight of Him ascending into heaven was, there was also a vague sense of the cold unreasoning fear I had known the night they took Him. We all felt it. What would we do without Him? What would happen to us without Him?
Wait! Remember what He said? He told us what to do…go to Jerusalem and wait for power from on high…from where we had seen Him go! So we did. We gathered together and waited. Some gave up and left us. About one hundred and twenty of us stayed with it. As the Feast of Pentecost approached, something powerful began to happen. We began to sense a unity of mind and heart and purpose. We were determined to receive what our Master had said He would send.
On the Day of Pentecost we were one! We heard a sound like a rushing powerful wind and the sound filled the room. And then fire appeared over our heads, but there was no fear of the fire. In amazement we watched as the fire separated and, do you know, there was a flame for each of us, resting on each of us.
But, listen to what happened next! At first I thought it was just me, but in a moment I could see that just as we were all as one, we were all experiencing the same thing. Let me try to explain…it was from within…you see Jesus wasn’t just in the clouds…He was in here, in our hearts. Each of us had an overpowering awareness of His Presence, of Him, and we began to praise Him. The Holy Spirit was making Jesus real to each of us. I remembered that Jesus had told us at our last meal together that this would happen! And it was happening!
All of us were praising and worshipping Jesus and we knew that He was there with us as never before. As the Holy Spirit gave power, we began to praise in new languages. It was strange but it was right, somehow!
It wasn’t long before that little room would hold us no longer and we were out in the streets shouting our praise in all these new languages. And do you know, there were Jews there from all nations and they heard about Jesus in their native tongues! They knew we couldn’t have known all those languages. I saw an opportunity and do you know, there was no fear in my heart!
The words of the prophet seemed to explode in my spirit and I knew that this was what Joel had said would happen. So I told them that. This was the day of salvation and of God’s power poured out on all men and women. And I told them about Jesus! He is the Salvation of God! Thousands of those people repented and believed in Jesus!
That was a long time ago but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever! By His Spirit, He wants you to know Him in your heart. He wants His Word to flow out of you like a river of truth and healing. Yes, the promise of the Father is to you! This is your day to be filled with the Spirit and set apart for ministry. Don’t give up like so many did.
He has a flame of fire for you!