Summary: How did Peter go from Fearful to Fearless
Have you ever found it hard to share your faith?
On Tuesday evening (17th April 2018), coming back from Hamburg I was on the Stansted to Cambridge train.
I struck up a conversation with a couple of young people by asking them if they knew where the plugs were on the train for charging up my mobile phone.
As I got talking to them it turned out that - although they didn’t know each other - they were students at Cambridge University and both at Selwyn College.
They shared about what they were doing at college and then they asked me about myself.
I said I was a vicar and the girl replied that her parents were missionaries in India.
I then asked the young man more about his course when he said he was doing an economics course linked with ecology and I asked him to explain his course.
When he came to the part where he said he would be studying law, I told them that I used to be a patent attorney before I was a cleric
The young man asked me why I had made the change.
I started off by telling him that I’d been a Christian since the age of 16 and he asked me how that happened.
So I told him my conversion story.
And I also said that I believe God had called me to be a patent attorney first and how I had found my first job.
I then told them how I had worked in Switzerland and met my wife there and how God had given me prophetic words to come back to the UK about 15 years later.
And then I told them of the prophetic words given to me by a complete stranger to me in the evening service at Bridlington Church just before the national Selection Conference. And I told them that confirmed my call to be a clergyman.
As the train drew in towards Cambridge I suggested to them that they should go along to the Cambridge University Christian Union (known affectionately as CICCU (pronounced Kick You) as a good way to get to know people.
The girl said she went and had got involved and how good it was
And so they then arranged to meet up to go to the next CICCU meeting.
WHY am I sharing this story:
By telling my Christian story, it gave the young Christian girl the chance to invite this young man who she had never known to come to a Christian meeting at CICCU
It is not easy to share your faith but when someone else does well it makes it easier for others to do the same.
Looking at our New Testament reading today from the book of Acts, Acts 4, we see a changed Peter.
Peter who at Jesus’ trail and subsequent Crucifixion had denied Jesus three times before the servants of this High Priest.
Here in Acts 4 we see Peter speaking BOLDLY before the High Priest himself.
Look at the exchange between the High Priest himself and Peter (who was the spokesman for the Church)
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.
6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family.
7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus
Why the change?
I think the key reason was that Peter had become a changed man
When he denied Jesus twice before the cock crowed thrice - even before a servant girl of the High Priest- Peter was ACTING in his own strength and so was scared because it could well cost him his life.
Because the servants of the High Priest could have reported Peter and he might have had to carry his own Cross like Jesus to the Roman place of execution – The Place of the Skull or Calvary as we call it today.