Here at Revival Coffee, we believe in the power of testimony. We believe God’s power is displayed in the lives of his people, so we wanted to share some stories of how God has used ordinary people in extraordinary ways. We call these people Revivalists. We want to share some of their stories with you, in hopes of encouraging you to seek more of God in your life, because He always has more to give, and wants to love us in new and more powerful ways.
This month: The Apostle Peter.
Revival is often defined as a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit. So, it is only fitting to talk about Pentecost, the first outpouring of God’s Spirit on His people. Before Pentecost, in the Old Testament, we see people who are given God’s Spirit for a specific task, like the judges of Israel who are filled with the Spirit to speak on God’s behalf. But God’s presence dwelled primarily outside of people- in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, in the fire by night and the cloud by day. Then Jesus comes, and is filled with the Holy Spirit after his baptism (Matthew 3:13-17), and before his death, He begins telling his followers about the promised Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31).
Acts 2 tells the story of the Holy Spirit falling on the believers as they met together. “Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a might windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability” (Acts 2:2-4).
While everyone is freaking out and wondering what’s going on, Peter stands up and preaches to the crowd. And what he has to say is pretty good- only God could’ve told him these things. He ties in the old prophecy from Joel when God says that He will pour out his Spirit on all people in the last days (Joel 2:32). He explains that Jesus was the son of God, tying in some of King David’s words about God’s Holy One (Psalm 16:8-11). Then he recalls Jesus telling his disciples that he would give them the Holy Spirit.
The crowd, touched by Peter’s words, asks what they should do. Peter replies “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38-39). And the Bible tells us 3,000 were saved and baptized that day.
What a beautiful picture of revival! God’s people, gathered together, receiving gifts of the Spirit, preaching about Jesus, seeing new believers added and baptized. And all of this is facilitated by Peter, the one who denied Jesus three times, even after Jesus warned him that he would and he swore he wouldn’t! That’s the power of the Spirit, overcoming our weakness and our sin, the kindness of God, calling us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Peter could never have known, after the grief of denying Jesus, that on the other side of that sin lay a great move of God that he would get to be a part of. We know Peter’s story doesn’t stop there. The book of Acts is filled with stories of Peter, filled with the Spirit, healing, raising from the dead, preaching, and imparting the Holy Spirit to others (Acts chapters 2-12). Peter was the first to believe Gentiles could also receive the Holy Spirit, not just Jews. So, many of us have Peter to thank for spreading the Gospel to us Gentiles as well!! I am thankful God revealed to Peter that the Spirit does not discriminate, but is a free gift to all who believe. I pray today that God would give us the grace to be as willing as Peter- to desire more of His Spirit, and to say yes when He calls us to step out in faith. Amen.
To read more about revival, check out these sources: