Behold the Man
Amazing God, You shape the stars and comfort broken hearts. Speak to me today as I come before You.
Read Acts 2:14-39
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Most wonderfully, the Spirit is God’s face turned towards us and God’s presence abiding with us, the agency by which God reaches out and draws near, the power that creates and heals” (Clark H. Pinnock).
Jesus had promised that the Spirit would enable the disciples to witness in power. Peter demonstrates here the truth of that promise (32). Left to his own devices, Peter would hang around the fire and deny Jesus. Now empowered by the Spirit, he can stand before a crowd of thousands and proclaim Jesus. The Spirit still makes similarly profound changes in our lives and provides the same power for our ministries.
The source of Peter’s authority is twofold: the indwelling Spirit and the inspired Scripture. Talking to a Jewish audience well-versed in the prophetic writings, Peter declares that the long-awaited day of the Lord prophesied by Joel (Joel 2:28-30) has now come. But Peter makes a significant change: Joel talks about the “dreadful” day of the Lord, Peter of the “glorious” day (20). Both terms are designed to capture a sense of awe, but Peter sees the positive element. A day once seen as vindication for one nation is now seen as acceptance for all nations (17, 21).
Peter’s message centers on Jesus. He speaks of Jesus, the man (22). This may not seem the most natural place to start. We may want to point people to his divinity. But without a robust understanding of the incarnation—of the Word truly made flesh—there can be no message of hope. The knowledge that, in Jesus, God became one of us provides a more realistic starting point for talking about his deity. More, this is Jesus crucified (23) and risen (24). His atoning death is essential to our salvation, but the resurrection is the guarantee of our new life. A gospel which does not give people the hope of a new way of living based on Jesus’ risen life, and does not introduce them to the worship of the exalted King, is not good news.
Review your own understanding and presentation of the gospel message in the light of Peter’s sermon. What would you add or change?
Lord, often You’re part of my life rather than the center of it, a distraction rather than the direction. Enable me to be a faithful and true witness for You.