27 April 2017Acts 2:14, 22-35
“This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.” (v. 32)
Psalm: Psalm 142
The picture of Peter we get in the Gospels is of a man who wanted to match up to the example of Jesus but kept missing the mark. In his enthusiasm to speak he didn't always think. His passion to walk with his master led him often to put both feet in it.
But significantly it put him in the front row.
The picture we get in Acts is a completely different one. Set on fire by the Holy Spirit, Peter is now a confident advocate of a new reality: "this Jesus … raised up".
The way he begins his address, generally understood as the first Christian sermon, is in itself a testament to the change brought about by the coming of the Holy Spirit: "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" (v. 14).
If we follow Luke's narrative, Peter had been waiting in the room barely an hour ago for the promise of Jesus to be fulfilled (Acts 1:8) and now he is addressing a mass of people in the Jewish nation's greatest city. He is not just appealing for their attention, he is commanding it.
If his manner is bold, then the content is staggering. Peter tells them that their hero king, David, is nothing more than a mouldering pile of bones in a grave (verse 29), but he and the disciples have been witnesses to something far greater.
He knew that to prove his case he needed witnesses - his own testimony would not be enough. He calls Scripture to his defence, indeed the very King David he has dismissed as a dead corpse: not as a king but as their greatest Psalmist - using Psalms 16:8-11 (in verses 25-28) and Psalm 110:1 (in verses 34-35).
Peter tells them that what they were witnessing had been God's plan from the start, King David had been in on it and the disciples were witness.
- How can the Church tread the fine line between boldness and arrogance when preaching the resurrection of Jesus?
- The change in Peter and the disciples was evidence of the Spirit's coming. How do people see the change in your life?