Thursday 23 April 2020

Bible Book:

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 2:36-41 Thursday 23 April 2020

Psalm: Psalm 29


Peter’s first sermon produced a heartfelt response from his hearers and resulted in three thousand people being baptized!

The question “What should we do?” (verse 37) is the same question that was put to John the Baptist in Luke 3:10-12 when he was “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3).

The repentance required may be specifically connected with Peter’s repeated message that “you” (his listeners) have crucified Jesus (Acts 2:23, 38) but may also be a more general call to “save yourselves from this corrupt generation” (v. 40).

Baptism is now to be done “in the name of Jesus Christ” and will lead to the gift of the Holy Spirit as well as the forgiveness of sins. This confirms John the Baptist’s teaching that “I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I … will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 3:16).

Verses 38-39 are part of the baptism services in the Methodist Worship Book (page 78, 89, 105). We continue the tradition, started by the Early Church, of using baptism as a sign of entry into the Christian community.

In the baptism services, the reading of Acts 2:38-39 is immediately followed by this question: “Having heard these things, how do your respond to the offer of God’s grace?” “These things” refer not simply to the verse from Acts but also to the opening declaration about the nature of baptism.  

I’m struck by the importance of making a response both in the baptism liturgy and in Acts 2. The suggested liturgies for a Service of the Word in the Methodist Worship Book also include a Response section (pages 32 and 41).

Baptism may be our first response to the call of God, but it should be never be our last. Every time we hear or read the word of God, a response is asked of us.


To Ponder:

  • What response is God asking of you today?
  • What does baptism mean for you? 
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