May 18th, 2015 | By admin
By Paul Holland
Acts 2:14, 36-41
Imagine that you are a Jew living in the first century. You are a faithful Jew so you attend the synagogue services every Sabbath. You are aware of the preaching of John and the work of Jesus. You might not be a follower of Jesus, but you are certainly open to His teachings. You are among those who are not quite sure what you make of Him. The empty tomb has certainly piqued your curiosity!
But then, you are present on the day of Pentecost. Imagine that you were in Jerusalem on that day and you heard all the noise that happened when people heard that these followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit of God. So, just like, literally, thousands of other Jews, you run to the temple and see these men preaching. You can hear different languages being spoken and you move over to hear Peter as he is speaking your language, Aramaic.
First, Peter gets everyone’s attention (Acts 2:14). After he clears up a misunderstanding about all the noise, Peter starts talking about Jesus (verse 22). Ah! These men are being guided by the Holy Spirit of God, just like the old prophets from your Jewish history had been, and they are going to explain what all this means! You are ecstatic!
According to Peter’s sermon, Jesus was a man “attested by God.” Peter tells you how Jesus was “attested” by God:
1. First, through the miracles He did (vs 22).
2. Through His resurrection (vs 24).
3. Through the fulfillment of prophecy (vss 25-29).
4. Through the virgin birth (vs 30).
5. Through His exaltation to heaven (vs 33).
Then, you get really excited as Peter gets to the conclusion of his sermon: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (vs 36). Wow! Lord and Christ! He is the promised Messiah from the Old Testament and He is God! This resurrection is something! It is the most remarkable event in all of Jewish history. In fact, it has got to be the most significant event in all of human history!
Now, while you are standing there in the audience, someone yells out to Peter: “Brothers, what should we do?” You can hear the pain in his voice. He means, “What can we do to be forgiven of our behavior toward Jesus?” That is probably the most important question you can ask about the most important event in human history! What can man do?
So, you listen intently to Peter’s response: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Just like John, Peter said this immersion is “for the forgiveness of sins.” That elevates the role of thisimmersion. In fact, Peter goes on to promise that if you do repent and are immersed for the forgiveness of sins, you actually receive the Holy Spirit. You recognize this as a promise given by the great prophet Ezekiel in 36:26-27.
Multitudes, multitudes respond to Peter’s call to be immersed for the forgiveness of sins. The final count will be about 3,000 people. Still, you have a few questions about this immersion in water, so when the day is over and you are able to pull Peter aside, you ask him just what immersion has to do with Jesus and the forgiveness of sins.
Because Peter was guided by the same Spirit who later guided the apostle Paul, we know that Peter’s response would have been similar to what Paul will later write in Romans 6:3-5.
With that fuller explanation, you and your wife agree to be immersed into Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. You are so excited to have this full and complete sacrifice for sins in the man, Jesus Christ. You have a lot to learn about Christianity but having the forgiveness of sins and not being obligated to keep offering animal sacrifices is a tremendous blessing from the God of heaven.
“What a wonderful God you serve,” you say to yourself as you go to bed that night. Excited. Tired. But forgiven.
Be immersed for the forgiveness of your sins, to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.