MASTER AND MESSIAH
"'For David himself did not ascend to heaven, but he did say,
"God said to my Master, 'Sit at my right hand Until I make your enemies a stool for resting your feet.'"
"All Israel then know this: There's no longer room for doubt -- God made Him Master and Messiah, this Jesus whom you killed on a cross.'" Acts 2:14-16 (The Message).
Master and Messiah -- Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified! It was all finally out in the open. How many times had the Pharisees demanded of Him, "Who are you?" and yet they had swept aside all the evidence and rejected His witness.
There must surely have been many of those same Pharisees in the crowd that day, listening to the same man who had cowered in the shadows and slunk around the courtyard trying not to be noticed. From where did this boldness and confidence come?
Now it was not Jesus claiming to be the Christ but His followers that were making these outrageous claims about a man whom they had sentenced to death for blasphemy. Instead of going away, their nightmare was getting worse. Now they were in the firing line for putting the Messiah to death and they had nowhere to hide.
What was far worse was His followers' claim that He had actually come back to life and, what's more, they had seen Him and spoken with Him. They had tried hard to avoid any comeback after Jesus was crucified. They had secured the tomb with a Roman seal and a Roman guard. There was no possibility that the disciples could have removed His body and buried it somewhere else to perpetrate this hoax.
What's more, no one could deny the transformation that had happened to this peasant Galilean mob. They had no explanation for that! Peter had the audacity to bring them into the limelight for killing Jesus. And they could not wriggle out of it. After all, had they not thoughtlessly and brazenly called down His blood on their heads and the heads of their descendants? They had no idea that it would boomerang on them so quickly.
But what was Peter's intention, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Was it to "name and shame them" or was it to call their attention to the God with whom they had inadvertently partnered to bring about Jesus' death as an atoning sacrifice for their sin?
In one brilliant declaration, Peter called them to account and offered them the solution to their guilt. The very one whom they had condemned to death and crucified was now offering them a new start through the gift of His life for theirs.
Peter showed them (and us) that God was not interested in naming and shaming them. He called them to account so that they would first own their guilt and then receive the forgiveness and cleansing He offered them through His death. Owning up and taking responsibility for their actions was the first step towards a brand new life.
Jesus offers us the same gift if we will own our guilt -- our part in condemning Him to death and nailing Him to the cross. Through Jesus' magnificent resurrection, God assures us that He is both Master and Messiah. We can safely entrust our guilt and our lives to Him.
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV).
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