The folks who develop the Lectionary really knew what they are doing when they scheduled the readings for the weeks after Easter. I particularly like reading the beginning chapters of Acts right after Easter as I feel that I can relate to these new Christians. It reminds me of baby animals in the Spring, learning to walk and stumbling around.
Here we have a group of people, including the disciples, who are so frightened right after the crucifixion takes place, and so puzzled about the resurrection. They see Jesus, he gives them their marching orders, and that gives them a little more direction. But it isn’t until they are filled with the Holy Spirit in the Acts 3 that they get their “full legs” so to speak and can begin to walk straight. What a miraculous few days!
Also in Acts 3, Peter cured a crippled man who had begged in front of the Temple every day. In today’s reading, the same priests and Sadducees who crucified Jesus are questioning Peter and John about that miracle. They realize that there is little they can do about what Peter and John have done because everyone was so amazed at the miracle. When asked what kind of power Peter and John have, Peter, who just a few days before had denied his relationship with Jesus, courageously and assertively replies that it was only through the salvation of Jesus Christ, whom they had crucified, that this power is given.
Whenever I feel weak in my ability to walk the Christian way, as instructed by Jesus, I think of these early Christians. Many of these folks were waffling. They were the ones screaming for Barabbas one day, then kneeling in awe of a miracle performed by the disciples another day. In Acts 3, Peter spoke with these people and gave them an out. He explained that they acted in ignorance, but now they had the chance to repent and be blessed forever.
How often do you waffle in your faith? Just remember these verses from Acts and the story of how these early Christians learned to walk the walk and take comfort that others have walked this path before you.