…Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, 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.” 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 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.
EMPOWERED TO SPEAK
Pentecost. The day Jesus switched on the power and the waves of the impact of his life began to spread. In Acts 2 we read of the Day of Pentecost when God came with fire and wind. This Pentecost God was not imparting the Law, as at the time of Moses. Rather he was sending his Spirit and formalizing his new covenant. As God had promised long ago, and as Jesus had taught, the Spirit would not just bring the commands of God; he would also bring a new inner motivation and enthusiasm to keep them.
In the miracle of the wind and fire that day, God signaled how he would achieve the changes he intended. The sound of a mighty wind symbolized the power of Jesus; the fire symbolized the purifying, cleansing work of Jesus; the speech pointed to the good news of Jesus reaching people from every nation. It is on the element of speech that Luke focuses.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
It is the Spirit who empowered those first followers and who empowers us today. It is the Spirit who fans the witness and testimony of God’s people. Consider what happened to those disciples: one moment they were demoralized and defeated and then Pentecost came. Peter, who had so vehemently denied that he even knew Jesus, was now publicly proclaiming that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah. He turned from being a coward to a courageous preacher.
At Peter’s words that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, his hearers were cut to the heart. It was as though their eyes had been closed but now they suddenly saw who Jesus was. Whereas they had mocked and jeered when Jesus died, they were now ashamed as they saw the truth about him and about themselves. The Spirit not only enabled Peter to preach; his hearers saw the truth. Three thousand responded to the call to repent and be baptized. That day the church was born.
The challenging and exciting thing is that Jesus wants to involve you and me in his work of touching and transforming lives with God’s good news. This is his plan and passion. He wants to draw failed, flawed men and women to the truth, back to what we were meant to be – people made in his image, made to know him and delight in him forever.
You may want to consider:
- the content of Peter’s message and the call to repent;
- the way in which Jesus’ prayer on the cross, Father, forgive them, has in part been fulfilled by the positive response of so many that Pentecost;
- the place of prayer, thanks, and the Word of God in God’s new community.
Let me encourage you to pray:
© John G. Mason, Reason for Hope – 40 Days of Bible Readings and Reflections – 2016. All Rights Reserved.