Before and After
BEFORE JESUS’ RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION:
Following Jesus’ arrest, Peter followed “afar off” and one of the bystanders came and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away” (Matthew 26.73).
AFTER JESUS’ RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION:
When Peter and John taught, the Jews “were astonished at the confidence with which they taught and recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4.13).
In both instances, Peter’s speech connected him with Jesus. In both instances, we see boldness in Peter’s speech. Yet, there is a glaring difference: fear of death. note a change in Peter’s fear of dying. What prompted it?
Notice also the change in Peter’s own reaction to his speech. In the “before” instance, Peter “went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26.75). Why? In the “after” instance, when threatened, Peter rejoice that he “had been considered worthy to suffer shame for his name…and…kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5.41-42).
What about those whose speech connects them to Jesus? Is their speech dictated by fear of death? How can change in your fear of dying take place? It will be the same as with Peter: when your desire to obey is stronger than your fear of the consequences for obeying. Obedience comes with a cost. Peter said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5.29). Do you believe this?
The apostle John wrote, “There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4.18). John wrote that to know Jesus is to love Jesus and to love Jesus is to keep his word (1 John 2.3-5). God’s love is perfected in his children in this way (John 14.15).