The heart of today’s reading is the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. It was Peter’s first sermon, and the first sermon of the Christian Church, preached on the Day of Pentecost. He preached this message in Jerusalem where the miraculous resurrection had occurred only about 50 days previously. Peter himself “was transformed from a cussing coward to a mighty missionary by his encounter with the resurrected Christ.” (Pastor Steve Weaver “Exposition of Acts 2:22-41.”)
I love that description of Peter! He was not the most awe-inspiring character described in the gospels, but what a difference when he came face to face with his risen Lord! We are told in verse 41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptised and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all, such was the power of his words.
Peter also reminds us of God’s promise to us of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Verse 32 God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. 33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.
Peter’s words of encouragement from the end of the reading still apply to us today: 37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers and sisters, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
May the Holy Spirit convict us all of our need to confess our sins and draw closer to him, day by day. I pray that we can all be excited and thankful for what Jesus did for us, especially tomorrow on the day we celebrate his resurrection. May we be bold enough like Peter, to share the good news with our family, friends and neighbours.
R.A. Torrey wrote, “The crucifixion loses its meaning without the resurrection. Without the resurrection, the death of Christ was only the heroic death of a noble martyr. With the resurrection it is the atoning death of the Son of God.” That atoning death was just for you and me and our family, friends and neighbours.
Thank you Jesus.