I have to admit, there were times in high school I didn’t pay the closest attention.
I was at a large Christian event being held at the Philadelphia Spectrum in high school, and I found myself sitting next to, and being distracted by, a group of girls.
Not paying attention at all to the speaker, as he started talking louder, I started drawing in the little notebook they gave us for “notes.”
It was coming to the end of the message time when suddenly the girls around me stopped passing notes and started paying attention. Suddenly the girl I was “interested” in got up and started walking down to the front of the stage. Not being one to miss out on an altar call, or the opportunity to pray with a girl, I started walking down towards the front as well. I thought it was mildly strange that there were a lot of girls going down, but I pressed on.
So I get down to the front and they have us stand, not kneel around the alter. You know, they wanted everyone to see publicly that you were ready to commit to what the guy up front was preaching about.
I have my eyes closed and I’m looking down and the speaker from up front says, isn’t this incredible? “Look at the response we have had here today. We even have one man who has come down to take this stand,” everyone claps. So I look up to see who’s the guy, and you guessed it, I look on the huge jumbo tron and there I am, big as life, standing in the middle of all the girls that were going down front to take a stand in favor of dressing appropriately, not wearing so much makeup, and resisting the temptation of getting physical with boys. I remember thinking, “you’ve got to be kidding me!”
So what did I do? I stood there, like I was meant to be there. And the speaker addressed all those young ladies, and one young man, about the dangers of dressing inappropriately and heavy dating with boys. And I just stood there.
Take a Stand
What do you stand for? Maybe a more important question is, who do you stand for? Today we have the opportunity to read about one of the greatest moments in human history, Pentecost. The day when God’s Spirit penetrated earth and baptized his believers with fire. Just like John the Baptist said he would. But in the midst of this monumental occasion is a really powerful moment for one disciple.
After being given a second… third… no, fourth chance, Peter is among the believers who experienced Pentecost together. The question for Peter would be, would he stand up?
Looking at Peter’s life should give us great hope. Here’s a disciple who had quite the topsy-turvy existence up to this point.
- Peter walked on water, but sinks moments later
- Peter calls Jesus the Messiah, but minutes after is rebuked for not believing Jesus
- Peter cuts the ear off a high priest’s slave in the garden, but doesn’t show up at the cross
- Peter denies Jesus three times, but later will be restored by Jesus, three times
So it wasn’t a given here on Pentecost Sunday that Peter would lead as Jesus hoped. I’m sure there was an eager anticipation for what Peter would do in this moment. We have to remember that Peter always had a choice. We’ve seen his power of choice over and over again in his story. This would be no different. As the Spirit was falling, people were preaching, devout Jews came running, and with all of heaven watching… Peter would make his choice. This was Peter’s moment of truth!
In my opinion, one of the most powerful moments in the history of the post Pentecost church, Peter stood up! Not to belittle this moment, but it reminds me of the line at the end of Top Gun, “Maverick’s reengaging sir!”
Peter stood up, and the rest as they say, “is history.” I can only imagine for Peter the words and thoughts that swirled through his mind. “Upon this rock…” “Ye of little faith…” “You will deny me three times…” “Do you love me…?”
The question for us to consider today is this: Peter stood up, will you?