Peter had just healed the beggar when he and John were going into the temple to pray. All the people who were there came running to see because they were so amazed at what had just happened. Peter uses this chance to preach to the crowd of Jews who had gathered.
Here’s my interpretation of what he says to them:
Why are you so shocked by this? We didn’t do it. Remember that guy, Jesus? The one you denied? The one you killed? The one God raised from the dead? Yeah, him. He’s the one who healed this guy. And you just saw it with your own eyes. God’s been telling you about this for centuries. Moses told you about him. Samuel told you about him. Every single prophet since then told you about him. So when are you going to believe it? How many times does he have to tell you? Put your faith in him so he can wipe away your sin and refresh your spirit.
OK, so that’s a loose interpretation, but you get the gist. God had a mission for them, but they’d never be able to do it until they actually listened to what he’d been telling them over and over and over. And their failure to listen didn’t change what God was telling them. The truth of Jesus didn’t change or go away just because they didn’t want to listen. And neither did what God wanted them to do.
Does this sound familiar to you at all? Because it sure does to me. I feel like I’m stuck right in the middle of this story. Peter could be preaching the exact same message to me right now. There are some things the Lord is asking me to do, and he has been for a while. He’s told me over and over and over. But, I’m just being stubborn and I’m not listening. And while I was reading this today, it’s like he was asking me the same thing he was asking that crowd in the temple: How many times do I have to tell you, Stephanie?
I can keep refusing to listen, but that’s not going to change what he’s asking me to do. I swear, sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. Things would be so much easier if I would just listen the first time!
So, how many more times will he have to tell me? Honestly, I can’t answer that. I’d love to be able to say that I’m going to start right now in this moment to perfectly obey the things I’ve been resisting. I can definitely try to do that, and I will. But the reality is that I’m not perfect and I never will be. And praise Jesus I don’t have to be!
I am so thankful that he knows how imperfect I am, and he’s already given me a solution for that. Jesus was perfect for me, and he gives me new grace every single day, even when I’m refusing to listen to him.
But, today I heard him loud and clear.
Listen to Jesus.