By Nick Batzig
Ours is a society obsessed with “before and after.” Advertisers know this about us, and they use our curiosity to their advantage, displaying then-and-now photos for any and everything. We love to see transformations, and we want to know how we, too, can be transformed.
Scripture has its own collection of striking “before and after” pictures. That of the pre- and post-Pentecost Simon Peter might be one of the most significant—and significantly overlooked—transformations in the Bible. Before Pentecost, we see Simon Peter denying the Savior, while warming himself at the fire outside of the High Priest’s palace. But after Pentecost, we find Simon Peter boldly proclaiming Jesus and the resurrection inside that very same palace.
What changed? What happened to bring about this radical transformation? In short, it was the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus applied by the Holy Spirit to Peter’s heart.
Peter tasted the grace and redemption that is found only in Christ when Jesus restored him (John 21:15-19). After his restoration, this man who had been so timid and fearful to bear witness to Christ was emboldened to proclaim that same grace and redemption to everyone he met. He was now unashamed of the fact that “there is salvation in none other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) because he himself had become an object of that salvation.
When we have our souls restored by Christ, we are eager to proclaim His excellencies for the salvation of those around us. Rather than seeking to please ourselves, we seek to bring glory to the One who alone is qualified to be the Redeemer.
The healing of the lame man was the event that sparked Peter’s sermon to the rulers who arrested him (Acts 3). Peter, together with John, told the people and rulers that God had performed this miracle through them as an attestation of the resurrection power of Jesus. Just as Jesus’ own miracles proved His Messianic kingdom and power, so too did the miracles that Christ worked through His apostles.
The end result of the healing of the lame man was that it brought glory to Christ by highlighting the essential fact that salvation is found in Him alone. This is always the end result when God works through His people. Peter and John had not performed that miracle by their own wisdom or power. They had not even received formal theological education. But they had been with Jesus, and that was all that mattered!
If we have tasted and seen that the Lord is gracious, we too will be eager to tell others about Christ. When we recognize that the One who has saved us by His grace is the only Savior of sinners, we will want to tell others where they too can find this salvation.
Our own experience of redemption in Christ should fuel our zeal to hold Christ forth as the only way of salvation. May God use the “before and after” pictures of our lives to bring glory to the only Savior of men.
Written By Nick Batzig