Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Acts 2:22-47

The many details in later theology notwithstanding, how would Peter's sermon have come across to his hearers the first time?  Would they be having questions about whether what the Father "poured forth that which you both see and hear" was a necessary accompaniment, or a one-time accompaniment of "the promise of the Holy Spirit" (2:33)?  Isn't it more striking, instead, that Peter addresses his audience in the tone he does ... at ... all?

Here's what Peter says about them: 1.  "men of Israel" (22); 2.  "this Man ... you nailed to a cross by the hands of men without the Law and put Him to death (23); "whom you crucified" (36).

Here's what Peter says to them: 1.  "Brethren" (29); 2.  "repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself"; (38-39).

Here's what happened: "those who had received his word were baptized, and that day there were added about three thousand souls" (41).

As an original hearer, to be stricken by what Peter said about you, and amazed that "the promise is for you ..." despite what Peter said about you is to go beyond academic interest in what is necessary, to what is necessary for the soul.

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