‘Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.”’ (v14) Acts 2:14–21
I’ve worked for twenty years as a professional mediator. Whilst my call is to prayer and nurturing faith, this provided my income for a long time. Mediation (working with people to resolve real conflict) requires a lot of active listening. In this context, the word ‘listen’ means to hear, heed and obey; three actions.
So Peter says, ‘listen carefully’. Often when mediating, the conflicted parties can only hear what they expect to hear. They’re incapable of heeding the intention and purpose behind what’s being said. They are glued to their perspective, seeing the other person as the problem.
Now, it’s important to realise that we can never forcibly change another person. We can only ever change ourselves. Peter hears from the Spirit, heeds His word and obeys. He addresses the crowd and says, ‘Listen, we’re not drunk and Jesus is more than an executed felon. He is in fact risen, alive and offering an eternal relationship.’
Filled with the Spirit, these first disciples heard, heeded and obeyed. They became God’s voice to overturn false perceptions of Himself and create opportunities for faith by making peace with Him, our Creator.
The Spirit still empowers Jesus’ disciples, you and me, for the same purpose. Are we willing to stand up alongside those first disciples? We have the opportunity to challenge false perceptions about God by hearing, heeding and obeying.
Related Scripture to Consider: Deut. 13:1–5; Prov. 16:17–25; Matt. 7:24–27; James 1:19–25.
An Action to Take: Learning to listen – hear, heed and obey – takes time. Commit to listening to God’s voice in Scripture, in the Church (past and present) and in prayer. Live the God-life.
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, I want to listen. Speak clearly as I’m surrounded by so many calls on my time and energy. I choose to follow and live for You alone. Amen.’
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