A new thing I learned from reading about Peter was when it said, “These men were well trained in tact, patience, watchfulness, perseverance and courage.” I had never considered any of these things when it came to fishing. I just thought that you cast your net, pulled it in, and then cast it out for another try, over and over again. I always thought that tact was a relational thing, but I find that it also can mean someone having sensitive mental perception. As a fisherman, Peter had to be watchful to know when to catch them, when they were feeding, when they bred, and so on. He had to have patience when the fish weren’t biting and to persevere until they did without giving up and coming back to shore when they weren’t. And he had to have the courage to fulfill such a dangerous job that fishing in a small boat could be. Peter also needed all of these to evangelize to the Jews and the Gentiles. I believe that Peter’s greatest asset in all of these things was his courage to come back to his brothers after denying Jesus those three times in the courtyard. It took courage for him to admit that he had done this and his humbleness in the matter made him a stronger man by far.
The other insight I gained was when the reading said, “They had learned their lessons well in the hard school of experience.” Fishing could not have been easy. If we look at TV shows like Deep Catch and other deep fishing shows, we see that it can be quite dangerous. Peter and the others really had to know what they were doing out in their boats. If they didn’t people died and didn’t come back home at the end of an expedition. Everything Peter had learned from fishing all of those years were used in fishing for men. His leadership and boldness made sure that his friends made it back to shore after a long day of fishing, especially a day when the seas were high and rough and courage and leadership was needed to survive. Peter’s boldness and leadership also made sure that people made it back from Hell, as he boldly told them about how they had killed their Messiah, and turned them to His salvation and mercy. Peter knew how to fish; Jesus knew how to reel them in.
The new insight I gained from the life of Stephen was how boldly he spoke to the people and how he stirred them up without really caring how they felt about it. Try speaking to people today the way he spoke to his people in verse 51 (“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You resist the Holy Spirit!”). In Stephen’s day they only had stones to throw; you can run away from stones. Today people carry guns, knives and bombs. You can’t run away from them as easily. I think that’s what scares a lot of Christians who want to evangelize, but don’t because of being physically hurt. This is where giving our lives totally to Jesus is where Stephen was strong. His zeal for his people, the Jews, to know who Jesus really was, allowed him to speaking in a way that showed that he thought nothing of his own life and was willing to give it up for the sake of Christ. If only we could get passed the fear knowing that, if anything did happen to us, we would be with Jesus seconds later. The rewards and blessings from Jesus would be to see His Glory, as Stephen did just before he closed his eyes and died.