They couldn’t take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realised these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education.
So I'm reading this in the Message in Acts, and I get to thinking about Peter. Not John so much. He always strikes me as being the one that has it all sorted. The quiet, faithful, groovy one. I always think of John of being a bit like Jazz music or Jimi Hendrix or something. Can't help you with why that would be.
Anyway, back to Peter, it's that phrase, "standing there so confident" He's a man perfectly at ease with himself and with his God. He's doing great things. He's like McFaddyn and Whitehead and there ain't no stopping him now. Yet not so long ago, he was broken. He had so messed up. Made himself look a fool. He declared undying love and devotion to Jesus and then couldn't follow it though. He let Jesus down - big time. He knew it. He accepted it.He was ready to leave the life of God behind and go back to fishing for a living. So what made the difference? Well lots of things, you know about the sort of things,the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus' calling - all the epic stuff.
There was, I think, also a quieter, more personal thing. Peter was able to receive his forgiveness. It is obvious to us that Jesus forgave Peter for his behaviour. It was done with as far as he was concerned. But then there is the next step in forgiveness. If you are forgiven, you need to BE forgiven. You need to act it, take it, do it. If it's gone, it's gone - move on, get on with the life you have been given. It does not honour God to keep dragging events back up that he has dealt with. It can be a bit self indulgent if we are not careful. God had stuff for Peter to do. He needed to be preaching and healing and getting bolshy with religious leaders and standing next to John while people got their astonished faces on. Even with God's power, he couldn't have done that if he was all "woe is me."
In truth, I don't know if Peter wrestled privately with what he had done in the past, but it didn't seem to let it affect his purpose and the way he lived his life.
Being forgiven is supposed to make us feel good - if we let it.