3:11 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. 12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?"
God woke me up this morning with a song as He often does. Today it was "Abide with me, fast falls the eventide, the darkness deepens, Lord with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless O abide with me."
Then this line came to me over and over:
"I need your presence every passing hour. What but your grace can foil the tempter's power?"
His presence and His grace foil the tempter's power...
Then I read in Acts starting from the beginning of chapter three and ending with the verses quoted above. It seems He gave me the song to prepare me for His Word.
Peter. This is Peter. The people see a crippled man now leaping and praising God and clinging to Peter. In that man's eyes Peter is a hero. Peter is his hero. But that man doesn't know what Peter knows. Peter knows he is far from anyone's hero. So before the man or the crowd gets carried away by hero worship Peter states the facts as they are: "Why do you marvel at this? Why do you look so intently at us as though by our own power or godliness we made this man walk?" The man and the crowd may have had delusions about Peter's greatness. At one point so did he but that was before the cross. That was before the courtyard, the charcoal fire, and the questions.
We judge quickly don't we? Peter judged himself loyal and strong. Then after falling and failing so miserably and completely only hours after being told he would, he judged himself worthless. Now after one miracle strangers have judged him a hero. Peter knows better and he refuses to allow their delusions another moment to thrive or grow.
"It's not my power or my godliness." Well what is it then? Not just anyone does what Peter just did so what is it?
Grace. The unmerited favour of God. The realization that at our worst His love is not diminished in the least. "I need your presence every passing hour. What but Your grace can foil the tempter's power?"
Temptations to judge falsely. Temptations to give up on ourselves or others. Temptations to take credit for things when the credit does not belong to us. Grace can do all that?
Love is powerful. Undeserved love is infinitely more powerful. Yesterday I read the testimony of a young preacher. Not married very long his wife confronted him with the Internet history on his computer. He was deeply addicted to pornography but thought no one knew. Now he was exposed like Peter in that courtyard. His mind raced. He thought it was over. She was going to leave. She had every right to leave. He was a liar. A cheat. Two faced. A fraud. She didn't. Instead of judgement she offered grace. She prayed with him and for him. They went to counselling. She told him she loved him and that they would work through it. The combination of being exposed yet still loved broke the power of the addiction. "What but grace can foil the tempter's power?"
Peter knew his own power. It collapsed under pressure almost instantly. He came to know his own godliness too. It was just a mirage. How could he stand in front of this lame man and the crowd and take one ounce of credit for what just happened. He could not. He did not.
Why was Peter in center of His power? Abide with me... Peter was positioned in the center of His grace. He remained in His presence every passing hour.
I want to be like Peter. Keenly aware of my nothingness and abiding in His grace.