devotion 6-7-14

Good Morning!

Acts 2:14-36

14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 22“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. 27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. 28You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29“Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. 31Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, ‘He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.’ 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ 36Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Peter stands before those gaping in the street, and delivers his speech. In a clear voice, no longer doubtful or uncertain, Peter, on that day, claimed the leadership of the church Jesus had assigned to him.

What you are seeing, and hearing, he said to them, is not because these men (and women) are drunk; it is the work of the Spirit – as the prophet Joel declared. He quotes Joel 2:28 – 38, where the prophet says that God will inaugurate his kingdom in the last days with a pouring out of his Spirit.

He then tells the story of Jesus – he was a man; he came from Nazareth – the people would have known this was a humble town. But God himself gave witness to him through his deeds of power, signs and wonders. It was a part of God’s plan that he was turned over to them – but they had him crucified and killed by those outside the Law (the Romans, not being Jewish, were “outside the Law”). He lays guilt on those who could at most have been a part of the crowd. But through their inaction, their failure to recognize him as the Messiah, they were complicit in his death. Doing nothing in the face of great evil is also sin. But God raised him up, freed him from death – for death had no power over him.

He connects to David, in OT scripture, when he says “you will not abandon my soul to Hades or let your Holy One experience corruption.” But David, he says, actually did die, and his tomb is there (there is a “tomb of David” in Jerusalem, although there is debate as to that being the actual location of David’s tomb). Therefore, David was speaking not of himself, but of his descendant, prophesying about the resurrection of the Messiah. Jesus, he says, is that Messiah – God has raised him up, and he has ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God. Those there are witnesses of the resurrection.

Therefore, Peter says, let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that this Jesus whom “you crucified” is the one whom God made both Lord and Messiah.

He lays responsibility on his listeners; he tells the story of Jesus; and he speaks as a witness. This is the first of several sermons of Peter included in the book of Acts. Were they Peter’s exact words? probably not – Luke was not there and no one recorded the sermon, but they would have been something along these lines, would have followed this outline. This was the “kerygma,” the story the apostles had to tell – the story of Jesus. It is the story we have to tell.

photo is the statue of David outside the area revered as his tomb (in the lower level of the building that houses the Upper Room).

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