Focal passage: Acts 2:22-24, 32-41
I still remember the discussion last September as I looked at the sweet little face before me and I heard the words, “Yes daddy, if you get me a small dog I won’t be afraid.” Famous last words! These words were spoken by our oldest child, our eight-year-old daughter Kenley. She has been uneasy around dogs since birth, and we had already tried to help her through this with one dog.
This was a big mistake. We added a Bouvier (Ranger) to the family in June 2008; he is now saddled and ridden by our two younger boys. So it was from this discussion we added a Miniature Schnauzer named Deacon. Her acceptance of him lasted exactly one day.
Acceptance and rejection create a fine line in our lives, and fears are hard to overcome. It is not something that can be forced upon a person. I know this full well, for no matter what my five-year-old John Isaac might say, I now am the proud owner of two dogs because of my bright ideas about overcoming fears. Our fears are strong and can cause us to react in various ways, even in harmful ways. They can cause us not just to make our own lives difficult but to possibly harm others. Our Savior faced the ultimate sacrifice of His life through God’s plan, and the fears of those who would not accept why He had come.
As we continue to look at the Book of Acts we see Peter sharing a sermon following the miracle at Pentecost, and speaking to the large crowd. Many had seen the miracles and signs performed by Christ, yet they still would not believe. Instead they delivered Christ over to be nailed to a cross by “godless men and put Him to death” (2:23). In Peter’s words he is exposing the people to the fact that they, and we, are responsible for our own actions.
In verses 32-36 Peter shares with those gathered concerning Christ being exalted to the right hand of God the Father, and emphasizes that the Holy Spirit has been poured out through Jesus Christ and none other. It is Christ that sits in heaven, not their ancestor David. Though he may have been great, Christ is the Messiah for whom they waited. He references Psalm 110 to share that Christ is the Lord in this passage of scripture, and He now sits in the seat of honor. “How terrible then was the act of His crucifixion,” Peter emphasizes (v. 36).
Upon hearing all of this, one translation states, “. . . they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’” Peter does not miss a beat and he responds in a fashion that gives each of us the words to use, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” Peter continues to tell them that this gift is in essence for all people. And with this nearly 3,000 were added and the church was beginning an amazing journey!
What fears today might keep someone from joining this continued journey with Christ?