by Christopher Harbin

Why Stare at Us?
Christopher B. Harbin
Acts 3:12-19

It is too easy for us to forget how far we've come and the things we found hard to grasp. Once we actually learn a concept, it is hard to recall how difficult it used to be. In similar fashion, it is often hard for us to see how someone else has changed based on their having learned, grown, or matured from an earlier time and place. We tend to see people as stuck in our previous experience of them without giving them the benefit of growth over time, the same growth with which we have struggled ourselves.

It is rather startling to us to see Peter in Acts chapter three. This does not seem to be the same person to which Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have introduced us all along in the gospels. One might think that at least Luke would have kept a consistent presentation of Peter from his account in Luke through what we find in Acts. The problem, however, is that this Peter in Acts is a changed person. He has been transformed at this point with his newly discovered understanding of Jesus in light of the resurrection.

Earlier in his story, we saw him forever with one foot in his mouth. It would seem that throughout the gospels he was always speaking before thinking. He was forever slow to understand Jesus' message, when more to the point, when he spoke, Jesus took the opportunity to redirect him and the other disciples so that they would be closer in line with the purposes of God. Peter had been the leader among the disciples, but as such, he had more often than not been the one to vocalize what they as a group were thinking. The others did not understand Jesus any better than Peter. He was simply the first one to put into words their corporate understanding, which Jesus would then often correct. Now with Jesus physically out of the picture, Peter is the logical one to step into the central position of leadership. As such, he is also called upon to recall Jesus' teachings and lead in accord with the way Jesus ...

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