Peter had walked with our Lord throughout His 3 year ministry on earth; he had seen the miracles, he had daily heard the life-giving words, and was present on the mountain as Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah when His appearance:
…underwent a change in their presence; and His face shone clear and bright like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light. (Matthew 17:2)
At that time he clearly heard the voice of God say:
This is My son, My Beloved, with Whom I am [and I have always been] delighted. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5)
When our Lord asked His disciples who the world said that He was, and who they said He was, it was Peter who replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus gave credit where credit was due for that revelation:
…Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood [men] have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:17)
And yet this is the same Peter who denied Jesus three times and then wept bitterly over his weakness and betrayal. Despite the foundation that Jesus had laid down in Peter’s life throughout their three year ministry together, in his own strength, operating only out of his own ability, Peter was found to be woefully lacking in spiritual resolve.
That was the “before” Peter – Peter operating in the flesh. Peter attempting to do this walk in the Spirit without the assistance of the Spirit – for He had not yet been poured out. Contrast that with the Peter we see in Acts 2. Through his life-giving sermon, 3,000 people were added to the church that day as he:
…solemnly and earnestly witnessed (testified) and admonished (exhorted) with much more continuous speaking and warned (reproved, advised, encouraged) them, saying, Be saved from this crooked (perverse, wicked, unjust) generation. (Acts 2:40)
Throughout those dangerous times – for the church was experiencing relentless persecution – Peter’s testimony concerning the Lord never wavered. His was a powerful witness that led many to Christ. This extraordinary transformation occurs in every life when we recognize that we are unable to correctly represent and obey and serve God effectively without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The work is His and the extraordinary life that we are meant to live in Christ, the ongoing testimony of blessings, and the recognition of the reality of the spiritual realm relies entirely upon His work in the life of each believer.
God’s Word on the subject:
Matthew 26:33-35 Acts 2