Monday, June 12, 2023

            In Acts 2, following the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter preached to the crowd that had assembled in Jerusalem.  His sermon was an impassioned call to faith in Christ.  Apparently, some of the people in that crowd thought that followers of Christ who had been filled with the Holy Spirit were drunk.  But he quickly dispelled those notions.  Peter said, “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!” (Acts 2:14b-15).  It was not wine that animated the believers.  It was the Holy Spirit who had come upon believers in keeping with Jesus’ promises.  The Spirit brought power and life to all who received Him.   
            Peter went on to quote the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32) and made it clear that God was doing something new.  God was up to something good.  The gospel was surging and the Spirit was filling believers with promise, passion and possibility.  In his own words, Peter preached, “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:22-24).  This Spirit-infused preacher delivered the gospel that day to the crowd of on-lookers, gawkers, skeptics and cynics.  And the gospel, simply put, it this—Christ died, Christ was buried and Christ rose again.  Peter made several statements that speak to us almost twenty centuries later.
            First, Jesus proved Himself.  He revealed His relationship to the Father by miracles, wonders and signs.  The power of the Father was at work in and through the Son.  And following His resurrection, all authority in heaven and on earth was entrusted to the Son (Matthew 28:18).  Jesus faithfully and fully did the work that was given to Him.  There was nothing left to do.  There were no boxes left unchecked.  The word “accredited” that Peter used meant certified or the genuine article.  Jesus was not an imposter.  He was God in human form doing the work of God in the visible and heavenly realms. 
            Second, Jesus died.  His death was real.  He was buried.  Paul summarized the gospel rather succinctly in I Corinthians 15:3-4, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”  He was put to death for the sins of the world.  About this reality, there can be no mistake or mis-understanding.  By his own words, Peter acknowledged that the death of Jesus and the cross were God’s plan for dealing with the sins and rebellion of the world.  We can never speak too much or too often about this reality.
            Third, Peter said there was a bit more to the story of salvation.  Jesus rose again.  It was “impossible for death” to hold on to Christ (Acts 2:24).  The power of the Father raised the Son to new life.  And through His resurrection, we find the hope of our resurrection too.  Those people in the crowd who heard Peter preach were already dead spiritually.  They were in the clutch and under the control of sin.  And apart from Christ today, that is the reality for everyone else too.  Yet, there is the promise of new life and resurrected life through the battle that Christ fought and won.
            Peter would later add another detail about Jesus’ resurrection a bit further in his sermon.  We read, “Seeing what was to come, he (David) spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.  God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.”  We are witnesses—that’s a calling and a responsibility.  We may not have physically seen Jesus with our eyes but we are witnesses to what the resurrection means and the power that it holds over us.   We can also speak of this glorious occurrence.  We live in anticipation of our resurrection one day because of His resurrection.  Christ rose from the dead is our solemn and sincere hope for the future.  Because He lives, we too can live.  Death possesses no power over us. 
            Peter preached with power, conviction and God’s anointing.  We learn from Acts that “those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41).  And the family of God does grow when the gospel is declared with confidence and certainty.  And the gospel, in Peter’s own words, is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Nothing more and certainly nothing less.  Have a great Monday.  Remember you can worship any time at

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