One holy, apostolic and Catholic Church.
That phrase is a mouthful. Imagine being the screwed up guy commissioned to be the manager at its foundation (not the Head or King but a humble steward).
That’s our guy Simon Peter. He was a long-term work in progress by Jesus and did not stop being worked on and worked through after that. And so are we.
Before I get too deep, don’t worry, the apostolic is addressed already in chapter 1 of Acts. Peter had received a renewal of his commission by Jesus to be His guy in the foundation of His church in a face to face conversation in John 21. It was important to Peter as a pope but also as a sinner who had plenty of grace for redemption. Redemption from cowardice, pride and wrath.
He knew he needed it. Peter had been impulsive so many time in his Lord’s darkest hour he denied Him three times. With such a knowing one morning at 9:00 am in the Feast of Trumpets in Jerusalem such a blue-collar fisherman from a marginalized region of Palestine stood up and proclaimed the gospel. Oh, and yeah he may have still been scared but he know he was not alone because he had received the Holy Spirit speaking tongues of men and angels beyond his Aramaic or Greek.
The Church is Universal.
Acts 2: 37 “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers,[i] what should we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
Peter knew that he himself was one of those “everyone’s” that could have a new lease on life. The more he could keep some humility about the restoration in his life, the more he could feel like his own best customer. In this case, the crowd was full of foreign Jews from many countries that were far off. Many of them could not hold their own in Greek, let along Aramaic. But Peter was open to the leading of the Holy Spirit to bring this message out beyond the comfort zone. Little did he know that in ten years Jesus would step it up a notch to non-Jews.
The Church is holy. The Church is one.
Acts 2: 41 “So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.”
Peter leads them into a covenant that is superior than the first six of the Jewish covenant. By being baptized, they are saved (1 Peter 3:21). This holiness is a transcendent and practical experience of appropriating His grace through the extension of Jesus as Truth, Jesus in the Spirit, Jesus in the Eucharist and Jesus in corporate prayer. It would take long than what is appropriate to explain, but these wonders and signs point to the greatest miracle in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus 53 days before.
44 “All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[j] to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home[k] and ate their food with glad and generous[l] hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
Peter and the other apostles had a lot to do for their remaining lives and some with shorter lives than others. Infused with the mission of unity, holiness, universality and a multi-generational context, they were in for keeps.
A little Bible trivia. Eucharist comes from the Greek, eucharistia, which means thanksgiving. When they were breaking bread, it was the experience of partaking of the divine nature of Jesus.