These men are drunk! This was the reaction to the power of the Holy Spirit as it came upon the apostles in Acts chapter two. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue; wherein we were born? … And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? And others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:4–13).
Imagine those next few moments as Peter boldly stands and preaches the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The response was even more astonishing than the message! The church in Jerusalem grew from 120 to over 3,000 in one day! How thrilling would it have been to associate with men like Peter, who unashamedly stood in the face of adversity and declared the life-changing message of the gospel?
I have often wondered if Peter’s boldness from Pentecost on was motivated by his cowardice earlier. I’ve wondered, too, what became of the people who were present in his time of failure. Did the little maid who heard Peter curse by the fire, ever come to Christ? Did Malcus or any of the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane have a desire to know Christ after watching Peter flee from the scene when they took Jesus away? Were other fishermen on the Sea of Galilee the night Peter said, “I go a fishing” and went out and caught nothing? Did they wonder why this disciple of Christ suddenly went back to his previous occupation after three years of ministry?
Peter had his moments where he was a shame to the gospel rather than unashamed. Even Jesus one day had to rebuke him, “Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). Peter was not the only Bible character who in a moment of weakness caused shame to the name of God. Perhaps the most grievous words of Nathan to King David after his sin with Bathsheba were these: “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14). Paul seems to have this account in his mind as he warns the church at Rome about hypocrisy: “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you” (Romans 2:24).
No doubt, there will be someone in heaven one day because of you. Your testimony had impact on their life in some way and as a result, they trusted Christ as Savior. Because you were unashamed to speak or live for Christ, you were that “epistle known and read” that opened their eyes to truth. But here is another important question: Will there be anyone in hell because of you? It’s a question I ask myself too. Has a word, action, or reaction on our part been the reason for someone rejecting Christ? Like Peter or David, in that moment when our testimony mattered the most, did we lived ashamed of Christ?
While no one is capable of living a perfect life, we must ask the Lord daily to help us live unashamed. Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 6:3: “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed.” The blood of someone’s soul could one day be on our hands for not only being ashamed of Christ, but for being a shame to Christ. Live today neither a shame nor ashamed.