Reading the Acts of the Apostles
with Michael Rubbelke
Director of Adult Faith Formation
 You Will Be
My Witness

Peter Witnesses to the Risen Lord
(Acts 1:1-2:47)
Witnessing life’s most profound realities can change you. I am not the same person I was before watching my wife give birth or sharing my mom’s last moments on Earth. These events transformed how I spend my time, what I prioritize, what I depend upon.

Being a witness to Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection is the ultimate life-changing event.

In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke sets the theme of witnessing at the center of the early Church’s story. Before ascending into heaven, Jesus promises His friends: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The rest of Acts is the story of how Jesus keeps this promise. The Holy Spirit comes in power on the community, compelling them—especially Peter and later Paul—to witness to the risen Jesus first in Jerusalem, then the surrounding areas, and finally in Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire!
Let’s focus on Acts’ first great act of witnessing: the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and Peter’s preaching in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-41). We know the highlights: tongues of fire descending, different languages being spoken, Peter proclaiming the Good News to strangers.

Yet pause for a moment: who could have guessed this would happen?
Less than sixty days earlier, Peter was an “anti-witness.” His weakness led him to deny knowing Jesus three times to strangers in Jerusalem (Luke 22:54-62).

What changed? 
Three decisive things happened to Peter that are also essential for us:

Encountering the crucified and risen Jesus in His Church: Peter witnessed to Jesus as his friend and his Lord, who had called him to share in His mission in a community (Luke 5:1-11). As Catholics, we do not witness to someone we have never met. Through the sacraments, Scripture, and prayer, we meet and come to know the risen Christ. We witness to Jesus as the living One, active and alive in His Church.
Experiencing God’s faithfulness in Christ: Peter’s witness focuses on how the death and resurrection of Jesus fulfill God’s promises to Israel. We too experience God’s faithfulness to us in Christ. For two thousand years, the Church has never stopped proclaiming the Gospel, sharing the sacraments, and raising up saints. In our personal lives too, God is faithful: who can finish counting the gifts God has shared with us?

Receiving the Holy Spirit:  Peter can only witness to Jesus after he receives the Holy Spirit. This Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism, anointed His whole ministry, and was yielded to the Father on the cross (Luke 3:21-22; 4:16-21; 23:46). The Holy Spirit draws us into the life ad mission of the Father and Son, impelling us to share that divine life with others. In Confirmation, we too receive the Holy Spirit, Who gives us the grace to be “true witnesses of Christ” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church , n. 1303). 

Like Peter, our vocation as Catholics involves witnessing to the crucified and risen Jesus. This is not optional: it is at the heart of our faith! This week, how can you more consciously witness to the risen Jesus?

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!

Come, Spirit of Christ: let me encounter the risen Jesus more fully!

Come, Promise of the Father: let me know Your faithfulness more truly!

Come, Spirit of Power: let me witness to Jesus more boldly!
Send forth your Spirit, Lord, and we shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the Earth. Amen


How and when have I encountered Jesus? Where in my life do I need to ask for the grace to encounter Him more deeply? Do I live as a witness of Jesus?

How have I experienced God’s faithfulness in my life? When have I grown in trust and faith with the Lord? Where do I need to ask for deeper trust in my life?

How have I experienced the Holy Spirit in my life? Where in my life do I need to invite the Holy Spirit to act more boldly?

Peter noticed and witnessed to Jesus’ action in his life.

This week, we encourage you to do the following:

  • Take ten minutes to reflect prayerfully on a time when you felt the Lord acting in your life. What happened? What helped you notice the Lord’s closeness and concern for you? What effects did it have? Give thanks for this grace. (If you don’t feel like you have such an experience, take ten minutes to ask the Lord to act in your life!)
  • Witness to this action of the Lord by sharing it with someone in your life. We become bold witnesses like Peter through practice under the Spirit’s guidance. (Throughout Acts, Peter practices witnessing too, giving four more proclamations like the one at Pentecost!)
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Saint Pius X Catholic Parish, dedicated to renewing all things in Christ, is committed to evangelization through prayer, service, sacrificial giving, faith formation, and community.
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