Today’s Scripture: Acts 2:14-24
22‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24But God raised him up, having freed him from death,because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. (NRSV)
The Book of Acts plays a very interesting role in the New Testament. It is both about history and about faith. It bridges the gap between Jesus as a man and Christ the Son of God. In the Gospels that precede Acts, Jesus is preaching. The Book of Acts explains how the messenger became the center of the message.
These verses take place fairly soon after Jesus had been crucified but before the Disciples have left Jerusalem and gone out into the countryside to spread the word.
Peter reminds those listening of the words of the Prophet Joel, who foretold that when the “last days come”, all those who chose God will be shown “wonders in heaven above” yet the earth below will be “blood and fire and vapor of smoke”.
Peter is using old testament prophets, coupled with reminders of Jesus’ recent crucifixion and resurrection, to encourage people to choose the one true God. This is likely one of many sermons he gave just like this as he began to build the early church, both in Jerusalem and abroad.
As Easter approaches, we often need reminders to re-dedicate ourselves to Jesus and God. Read Peter’s words, think about what it must have been like for those early Christians, and then give thanks for Peter and those early Disciples who made it possible for our church to grow and thrive.