The Apostle Peter: A completely new man
What happened to Peter that he was so radically changed, in such a short time?
These are a few things that we know about the Apostle Peter:
- His faith was so weak that he almost sank beneath the waves because he was afraid. Jesus said to him: “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31.)
- His faith was so great that he regularly performed miracles in Jesus’ name. (Acts 5:12.)
- When Jesus was crucified, Peter denied knowing Him three times, because he was afraid of the consequences. (Matthew 26:69-75.)
- Peter preached the name of Jesus so boldly and powerfully in Jerusalem that about 3000 souls were added to in one day. (Acts 2:41.)
It almost seems like we are talking about two different men here. What happened to the Apostle Peter that he was so radically changed, in such a short time? Quite simply, he was baptized with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit took control
Jesus said to His disciples before He was taken up into heaven: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8. Peter, who was so weak, timid, and powerless, was filled with boldness and power when the Holy Spirit took control of his life!
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18. This is the promise that Jesus makes to His disciples.
We can see from several stories about him that Peter did not always do things perfectly. For example, when he cut off the servant’s ear and had to be rebuked by Jesus. Or when he fell asleep in the garden of Gethsemane instead of watching with Jesus while He prayed. So, it’s not how we begin that determines our ending. It’s not our background, or who we are by nature. It’s what we allow the Holy Spirit to do in us. If we allow Him to lead us, if we are obedient to Him, then He will lead us into all truth and wisdom. (John 18:10-12; Matthew 26:37-41.)
The same man who once tried to convince Jesus that He could avoid the sufferings that He had to go through later wrote: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13. (Matthew 16:21-23.)
The Apostle Peter: One of our greatest examples
So, the Apostle Peter is one of the greatest examples that we have of a disciple life. Yes, we have a human nature with all of its tendencies and weaknesses. But we don’t have to be bound by this! These are not actually the things that dictate how our lives will go. God gives the Holy Spirit to all who obey Him. (Acts 5:32.) If we walk in the Spirit and live in obedience to His promptings, we will receive all the power in heaven and on earth to carry out God’s good and perfect will for our lives. We will be driven by the same powerful engine that worked such a remarkable transformation in Peter.
- One who is bound by worry about what people think about them can become free and bold.
- One who is bound by anxiety and fear can come to perfect rest and peace in Christ.
- One who is inclined to complaining and dissatisfaction can learn thankfulness and contentment.
- One who is a slave to their lusts can become free and pure.
And the list goes on. We all know for ourselves where our individual battles lie. With the help and power of the Holy Spirit we can completely overcome anything and everything that is holding us back!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a strong mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” 2 Timothy 1:7-9.
If this article about the Apostle Peter’s transformation inspired you, you may be interested in reading more on our topic page about The Holy Spirit, or in these articles about other examples from the Bible:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.