Acts 2:14 (with context: Acts Chapter 2)
Missing the sports scene? Me too. Any sport will do, but baseball is my favorite to watch, to play, to talk about. But, maybe spirits can be lifted with a story about this year’s home opener for my alma mater – Columbia International University (CIU Rams). It was a nail-biter that ended with an extra inning win for the home team! No surprise that the home team won, right? Usually. Perhaps you didn’t know that 2020 is the first year CIU fielded a team – and most of the players are freshman. Changes the tone a little, huh?
Due to some unfortunate fielding errors, the Rams found themselves behind by one run in the bottom of the ninth inning – with two outs looming over them. Now what? A new team, new coach, mostly inexperienced players, and a few blunders to prove it. It would be easy to succumb under that pressure, but not CIU. A clutch hit over the fence provides the tying run, forcing extra innings. Then, in the tenth inning, a pinch-hitter off the bench drives in the winning run. Rams win! You cannot make this stuff up.
Never discount an underdog when something big is at stake!
Here’s a story about another pinch-hitter working against the odds – Peter. The book of Acts is a historical account, documenting the beginnings and expansion of the Christian church. At this point, Jesus has been crucified, buried, came back to life, gave his final instructions then ascends to heaven. His inner circle is left behind with solid instruction and some OJT, but little experience. Who will guide them now?
Jesus had the answer already prepared. Stay put and wait in Jerusalem for the helper – the Holy Spirit. Peter and the others waited anxiously, wondering what to expect. Well, the Holy Spirit came with a bang and rocked their world!
The neighborhood was startled by the noise and came running to see what happened. Suddenly, the people of this international metropolis heard wonderful things about God – in their own language. No one expected Jesus’ students, a bunch of country folk from Galilee, to speak in a way they understood. It alarmed them – bewildered, amazed, and astonished is how the Bible describes it. The scene was so unbelievable that they began to brush it off.
Peter boldly steps forward to set the record straight. Makes sense, right? After all, he is part of the inner circle that hung out with Jesus. One would think this is expected. Usually, but Peter had a few blunders of his own to overcome. He is the one who bailed on Jesus in his darkest moment – and denied knowing him during the beatdown. Even Peter’s final face-to-face exchange with Jesus was a tad uncomfortable. Despite the odds, Peter comes off the bench with a clutch hit to drive home a winning message! Thanks to the Holy Spirit, Peter finds the courage to speak and thousands come to praise God and trust Jesus – that’s not just a home run, that’s a grand slam!
If you’re feeling like an underdog, let Jesus be your example. It is sure to change you forever!
We all face unusual circumstances. It might be work, or school, or home, or life itself. Sometimes it is our own blunders that bring them about. Jesus is here to help set your record straight – if you let him. His example provides insight on how to overcome life’s unusual circumstances – and the courage to do it.