Thursday

“Peter 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.’” (v. 38)

Acts 2:37-41 Thursday 16 April 2015

Psalm: Psalm 137:1-7


Background

Peter was a transformed person. Filled with the Holy Spirit hewas emboldened and seemingly fearless; he spoke with great clarityand passion, and people were moved by his words. And his wordsdemanded a response - though it wasn't clear to the assembled crowdexactly what that response should be. So Peter spelled it out forthem.

The people needed to repent; to turn around or turn away fromhow they were currently living - the way that had rejected Jesusand played a part in seeing him crucified. They needed to bebaptized in the name of Jesus Christ - initiated into this newSpirit-filled, Christ-centred community - a rite of passage thatsymbolised their dying to the old ways and their rising to new lifein Christ. By so doing they would be accepting forgiveness of theirsins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. The message, theoffer and the response were available to all who heard.

The words of Peter recorded here are probably only a fragment ofwhat he had to say. No doubt he used many other arguments andexhortations to convince his listeners - and thousands responded.And his fellow apostles shared this new-found courage andconviction; preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus Christ,to which these first converts devoted themselves.

So a new community was born and began to take shape, carriedalong on the crest of an exhilarating wave, and characterized byteaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers.

It is difficult to fathom the extraordinary events surroundingthe Resurrection and the subsequent appearances of the risenChrist; or the Ascension and the subsequent pouring out of God'sSpirit at Pentecost. They have come to be viewed as history-makingand life-changing, with profound and eternal consequences for thewhole of creation. At this stage, however, it was a small band offaithful people whose lives had been turned upside down and whofound themselves at the centre of a mighty, and yet still local,upheaval!


To Ponder

  • How would you sum up succinctly the message of the Christianfaith and what would you say to someone who asked how they shouldrespond to this message?
  • How confident and assured do you think Peter actually feltinside as he engaged with the crowds? What motivated and sustainedhim? What might you learn from this?
  • Is 'conversion' a one off experience or can people go throughmany 'conversions'? How have you experienced 'conversion' in yourown life?


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