Acts 2 finds all the believers gathered together in one place. Suddenly a noise comes from the sky, a great wind fills the house, and tongues of fire appear above the head of each person assembled. The promised gift has arrived. Everyone there is filled with the Holy Spirit. They can see and feel that something amazing is happening, but onlookers accuse them of being drunk. In today's verses, Peter stands up to speak into the excitement and confusion of the moment. He proclaims the core of our faith as Christ followers, saying that Jesus Christ crucified is, in fact, the risen Lord, the Messiah.
Peter highlights the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jesus is a disrupter. To those who want to maintain the status quo, he is a troublemaker. He is a threat to people who are more interested in earthly power than in God’s kingdom; he is crucified accordingly, as a threat to the state. It is easy to think about those ancient rulers and their need for power that led them to crucify Jesus, but what about our own need to feel power that leads us to withhold parts of our lives from Jesus? Whatever we withhold from the Crucifixion we also withhold from the Resurrection.
To accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah is to welcome disruption in all parts of our lives, to let our own need for control be crucified so that we can make room for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and live as people who exhibit resurrection. To accept Jesus Christ is to grapple with God who is crucified, rises again, and sends the Holy Spirit to be with us.
Lord, help me not to shy away from you. Show me how to die to anything that holds me back from you, and make real to me the resurrection that comes from giving my life to you. Amen.
As we consider further the power of Jesus’ resurrection, how should we respond? This is the question posed to Peter in the reading in Acts. Peter’s first instruction is to repent, to change course in our thinking and our living to align more with God’s way. The psalmist proclaims his gratitude to God because God has heard his cry, but the process began with the psalmist turning to the Lord. First Peter states that because we have turned and have faith and hope in God, we ought to love one another deeply from the heart. Luke tells the story of two men who meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They recognize him only as he breaks the bread, symbolizing that Christian fellowship is also part of a changed life.
Read Acts 2:14a, 36-41. How might you allow Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection to disrupt your life or your faith? How would such a disruption change you?
Read Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19. When have you learned of God’s great joy for you? How do the Psalms remind you that you are beloved?
Read 1 Peter 1:17-23. How can you take the author’s advice to “act like someone who knows [you are] loved”?
Read Luke 24:13-35. Recall times throughout your life when Jesus has been revealed to you. Which of these encounters have been logical? Which have been supernatural?
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