devotion 6-2-15

Good Morning!

Acts 2:22 – 41

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.”

37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38Peter 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. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

The people listening outside are wondering what in the world is going on! Some of them even think that these who are speaking must be drunk. But then Peter stands up and says that they can’t be drunk; it is not yet nine o’clock in the morning! Peter did not live in the Keys! But then Peter goes on to preach the first of several sermons that Luke records in Acts. Now this is likely not a word for word quote of Peter’s sermon; Luke did not have a recorder! But he talked with people who had been there, and he paid attention to their memories, and putting those together he understood what Peter talked about and reconstructed a message which was also the message he wanted his readers to hear.

Peter tells them about Jesus. He tells them that the miracles and wonders Jesus did among them were testimony from God about who he was, but they – here Peter (Luke) directly accuses his listeners, the people of Jerusalem – they took him and crucified him, using the hands of those outside the law (the Romans). God had always known this would happen, Peter says, and he connects the Hebrew Scriptures, especially the words of David. But, he says, God has raised him up and he sits at God’s right hand. Therefore, he says, the entire house of Israel should know that God has made him both Lord and Messiah!

What is remarkable is not so much Peter’s message as the response of the people to it. The Spirit moves through Peter! The people felt it to the heart – and they asked, “What can we do?” And Peter replied, “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.” And they did repent, and were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their numbers that day! The Spirit worked through Peter, and in those listening – and the Church was born! The Spirit continues to act in and through us! But we must be open to the Spirit’s movement!

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