We are bearing witness to Peter’s first sermon to the new church. Happy Birthday to the church!
We read the last time how those around the newly empowered disciples of Jesus were blown away with what they were hearing. They were hearing the gospel spoken in their own tongue by men unfamiliar with their language. They either marveled at this feat or mocked them as drunk. We also thought about why the difference in the hearer. My theory is that those who weren’t open to the Spirit’s message didn’t hear it like the others did. They only heard gibberish. So now Peter gets up and speaks in the common tongue to set the record straight.
First of all, let me say how amazed I am at Peter’s command of the scriptures. I’m not sure if Jesus elaborated on these points with His disciples before leaving, if Peter finally connected the dots from his studies throughout his life, or if the Holy Spirit opened Peter’s mind to the truth. I’m betting on 1 and 3, with 3 being the final “ah ha” factor.
Peter had the crowd spellbound. These “devout men” were hungry for God. That is what they came to Jerusalem for. They wanted to be at the center of God’s promises. Now they will finally get the answers they have been searching for. Peter takes them by the hand and leads them through the scriptures to truly introduce them to Jesus.
The first thing Peter addresses is the perception of the hearers to the witnesses. Peter uses the scriptures to explain what those gathered around are seeing. “We aren’t drunk. It’s too early in the day for that sort of behavior. Instead we are manifesting the promise of God to pour out His own Spirit on all flesh. These are the wonders and prophecies He talked about. Listen closely because what you are hearing comes directly from Him.”
“You remember Jesus of Nazareth; the one who was crucified by your own hands just a short while ago? That’s right. The one who performed great and might works, wonders and signs directly from God right in front of your eyes. He didn’t stay dead! He rose from the grave because it was not possible for the grave to hold Him. This is the same One David spoke about. David’s words were a prophecy about Jesus because we KNOW David didn’t fulfill the words concerning resurrection. God spoke them through David about Jesus the Christ. We are here to tell you, as firsthand witnesses, that Jesus, the same one you crucified lives again.”
“Right now, that very same Jesus sits at the right hand of God. He has now delivered to us the promise of the Holy Spirit that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (verse 36).
The Spirit packed a POWERFUL punch with that first sermon! Those that heard it “were cut to the heart” and wanted to know what they should do. “We ARE guilty! What can we do to make this right? How could we be so blind?!”
Peter replies, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (verse 38). WOW! What a gift! Forgiveness from the guilt of killing God’s own Son AND the gift of the Holy Spirit! SO undeserved, yet SO welcome!
You and I have that same offer too. “For this promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself” (verse 39). Salvation AND the Holy Spirit are still gifts God has for use today. Some may say that the Holy Spirit was just for the apostles or early church but Peter’s words through the Holy Spirit that day tell us otherwise. Jesus sent Him to us as a comforter, helper and teacher. Our walk is incomplete without the Spirit’s presence in our life. HE is the one who convicts our hearts of our sin and draws us back to God. He is the one who puts the power in our prayers. He is the one who opens our minds to God’s word. He is the one who ensures us of God’s love for us. He IS God; the third person in the Godhead. He is God’s Spirit living in us. Three thousand people “got it” that day and received both salvation and the Holy Spirit living in their lives. How many “get it” today? Do you?
Father God, thank You for Your promise! Thank You for Jesus! Thank You for the Holy Spirit! Without all of You we would be lost forever. Thank You for Peter’s boldness that day. Thank You that he didn’t pull any punches. I am nowhere near as bold or brave as he was but I pray You use the words here to open someone’s eyes to Your truth. Thank You for letting me share Your word this way. I pray what I share is clear and holds only YOUR words.
Thank You for my forgiveness for my part in Jesus’ death. No. I wasn’t there in person but my sins were part of the weight He carried that day. They are also paid in full by His blood and no longer separate me from You. THANK YOU! Thank You for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I cannot imagine my life without His presence! Such an awesome gift for an undeserving soul.