Out of the Comfort Zone

Acts 2:14-41, Part 2

Pentecost, the birth of the Christian church, is an enormous change for the followers of the Jesus faith community.  On Easter Sunday the followers are cowering behind locked doors for fear of the Jews.  On Pentecost, shortly later, we see that “suddenly” a violent wind, tongues of fire, and speaking of languages of all people present signals the presence of the Holy Spirit in a new, surprising way. The outside people are confused about what is happening.  Are the followers drunk?  A new explanation of the nature of God is about to be shared.

         Peter speaks to the Jewish monotheistic (one God) people.  Peter starts explaining.  Jesus has lived a life revealing the character of this God they believe in and claimed to be that God, was crucified by them and rose again.  Jesus is alive and is God.  Now this, the Holy Spirit.  This experience was predicted in Jewish history of the Spirit of God inspiring Jewish believers. Their knowledge of God is expanding to what we now call Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Three in One  He also explains the people’s role in crucifying Jesus and many are convicted of their error and repent.

         The idea that intrigues me about this is not the putting together of history but the spiritual growth of Peter.  I pondered if the Holy Spirit just overwhelmed Peter and used him to speak truth or are we seeing an example of genuine spiritual growth?  Traditionally we put the question as whether we have inborn gifts when we become believers or does God gift us for special tasks?  In the Gospels, Peter has often been the first to speak but often putting his foot in his mouth. Now he begins to emerge as a gifted leader of the group of followers, no longer denying Jesus, but openly explaining what has happened.  He is growing spiritually.  He is no longer in his comfort zone because of his speaking to a mass of people but he is using own personality in new and more powerful ways.

         So as we look back over our lives, can we identify arenas where God has helped us grow?  I do note that the passage focuses on growing in Peter’s ability to bring glory to God, not himself, and a growth in being more integrated within himself and with others.  Perhaps your love for drawing has grown into an ability to make cards to encourage others, or scrapbooking of memories.  Our cousin used his woodworking skills to raise all the furniture my husband sits on just that bit higher so my husband can stand up easier.  We are not all speakers like Peter but we all do have the Holy Spirit in us and can bring glory to God in our own unique way and setting.  The saying, God don’t make junk!  Blessings as you use your gift.

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