‘The next day John was there again…’ (35).
For a preacher, there is something important about consistency – that you keep turning up, faithfully doing the job you’ve been given (35), and preaching the same Biblical Gospel (36). As with a bowler on a cricket team, who consistently keeps to a good line and length, there is likely to be a breakthrough at some point. Just keep on ‘putting the ball in the right place’. It will happen. It may not necessarily involve big numbers, but it’s the reality of the conversions that matters – and the further waves made by them.
Here, then, is the power of preaching: John ‘picked up a couple of wickets’ (37). As a result of John’s ‘sermon’ these two began to personally relate to Jesus (38, 39). It was all that John wanted. A sermon does not need to be long to be effective, but it does need to have sound content. There is no greater theme than Christ crucified.
Someone said about Andrew’s action (41, 42), ‘It was as great a service for the church as anyone ever did.’ Here you see some of the potential ‘knock-on’ effects of a sermon.
Preaching is ultimately about pointing to Jesus and getting people to Him. He then does the work of transformation on them (42). The changing of Peter’s name indicated Jesus’ authority over him. Under the Lordship of Jesus, the ‘reed’ would become the ‘rock’.
Don’t ever under-estimate the importance of consistency/dependability in a preacher – the being ‘there again’. He may not be the greatest preacher in the world. Or, he may be having an off day. He may be low in the spirits. Things may not appear to be going too well in the church. Perhaps he’s feeling below par. But he’s there. Others may be bunking off church. Some may forsake the assembling with other Christians on a regular basis. But he’s there – at his post. He’s there with the eternal gospel in his heart and on his lips. And although he may keenly feel his weakness and lack confidence; though he may be feeling depressed and thinking of many others who can ‘do it better’, God’s Word is ‘mighty, releasing captives’. That Word does the work.
Preacher, you have the greatest job in the world. Don’t lose heart. Stay on duty.