Friday 28 April 2017

Bible Book:

“So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.” (v. 41)

Acts 2:36-41 Friday 28 April 2017

Psalm: Psalm 140:1-7


This verse is one guaranteed to make preachers either jealous orsceptical. Wow, 3,000 converts in one sermon. That's old-schoolBilly Graham territory without any of the pre-planning. Or is itLuke (the writer of Acts) getting carried away with his story?

What we do know is that this is the culmination of anextraordinary movement of God's Spirit in Jerusalem as promised byJesus (Acts 1). The disciples had done as they weretold, and waited faithfully. Then, with the coming of the HolySpirit, they had poured out from their meeting room and beguntelling the story of God's grace (Acts2:1-11).

Jerusalem, packed with crowds for festival-time, was ripe for aholy experience and they got it. Peter, newly fired up, preacheswhat we read in Acts 2 and much more, it seems: "… he testifiedwith many other arguments and exhorted them …".

The question that comes at the end of Peter's sermon alreadysuggested the crowd had been blindsided by their experience. Inverse 37 we read, "Now when they heard this, they were cut to theheart and said to Peter and to the other apostles,'Brothers, what should we do?'"

Then comes the first altar call, a challenge to repentance andbaptism, and 3,000 respond. Luke says they are added - but to what?There's no church yet. There have been about 120 previously in thedisciples' group so where they have been meeting is clearly not bigenough for this lot.

Suddenly Peter is the leader of something unexpected. And whyshouldn't it be 3,000 people? The Holy Spirit has moved in the kindof extraordinary way foretold by the prophet Joel and a whole newresponse is called for.

What will become the Christian Church is beginning to flower:tentatively and with many hurdles on the way, but it beginshere.

To Ponder

  • How can we help people when they ask 'what should we do?' as aresult of being impacted by the word of God?
  • How effective is public preaching today? Are people likely torespond as powerfully as the people of Jerusalem did? Why?
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