Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Everyone knows of Peter’s most shameful moment, when he denied even knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. But by the time of this First Reading, this same cowardly man transformed into a person of deep faith and conviction despite the mounting dangers and persecution. This same cowardly man, who once claimed that Jesus was a stranger to him, became someone who proclaimed Jesus as the true Messiah. And Peter, though initially refusing to accept Gentiles as Christians, soon opened himself to Paul’s missionary activity among the Gentiles.
In this reading, Peter begins his speech by reminding his listeners of John the Baptist, the forerunner, and how Jesus carried out his ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter implied that God was working through Jesus’s own person and work, for though Jesus was crucified (as his listeners know well), God raised him to new life. God shows the truth of the Messiah’s message, that only divine power can overcome the rule of sin and death.
Peter emphasizes that those who hear his proclamation are receiving the word of witnesses to the life, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus was brought through death to new life, so these witnesses are transformed like Peter from fearful doubters to fearless witnesses to the Risen Christ.