36: “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made Him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified." - Peter continues his Pentecost sermon by reiterating the facts of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
37b-38: "'Brothers, what should we do?' 38Peter 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." - Recognition of our responsibility in the crucifixion of Christ "cuts to the heart" and can become a heavy burden to carry. Peter provides a pathway to relieve this burden.
41: "So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added." - A powerful witness to the truth in the Resurrection results in a powerful response.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you certain about Christ?
Is He your Lord and Messiah? If not, what further evidence do you need? Are you uncertain of the "wonderful miracles and signs" He performed? Do His teachings go against your beliefs? Is the concept of Him being raised from the dead too fantastic and "unreal" to be believable? Have you spent time reading the eye-witnesses accounts of Peter and the other disciples in Acts? Have you prayed for God to bring answers to your questions, assurance for your doubts, and certainty to your beliefs?
What should you do? What is the next step once you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins? Can you begin to move beyond your feelings of unworthiness? What does it mean to repent? Is it simply a feeling of sorrow and regret? Or is it an action step - a step to turn away from sin? Does Christ's sacrifice mean anything if it doesn't result in a change in your life? Once you repent and turn from the sin that has dominated your life, what is next? Peter calls you into baptism. Can you see that simply turning away from sin is not enough? When you turn away from one thing you must turn towards another. Do you accept that baptism is the turning towards Christ; it is the dedicating of your life to follow Christ wherever you go?
As a church, is God adding to your numbers? Following Peter's sermon to the gathered throng on Pentecost, three thousand people were baptized. Why such a large response? Was it simply that the times were ripe for change? Had these new believers been on the fringe, watching Jesus' life unfold and were ready to make a commitment? Or is it because Peter spoke of the truth of the Gospel? Is it possible that if our churches are not growing that it could be because we are no longer preaching the Good News of the Gospel in ways that touch people's hearts? Should our focus return to the saving grace of Christ Jesus and the forgiveness available through His journey to the Cross? Should the power of the Risen Lord, once again, become our focus and our mission? Promises of the Gospel:
Just as the disciples struggled with the meaning of Holy Week and the appearance of Jesus among them during those few days following Easter, we too, still to this day, have difficulty fully understanding the impact of the Resurrection on our lives. We tend to analyze Jesus' life and death to the most intimate of detail but the Resurrection leaves us perplexed and confused. Our doubts concerning a risen Christ, a victory over death, and even the promise of eternal life keep us from becoming fully engaged with Holy Spirit. Worry, doubt, and anxiety replace faith, hope, and assurance. In Peter's sermons we find that He simply presents the truth of the Gospel as a matter of fact: life, death, and resurrection. Then, based on these indisputable facts, he calls each of us to repent - turn from sin - and be baptized - turn towards Christ. When this message was clearly relayed it resulted in an amazing response.