Lent 2023 Day 10: Sat 4 Mar
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.
‘“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Well, if it isn’t Peter again! Guess who stands up to speak! There were probably more than the 12 apostles in that house – I can’t imagine that only 12 would cover all the languages represented in Jerusalem that day.
Peter stands up to address the crowds (what language did he use?!). This time he’s on the case. He is able to point the crowd to the prophecies in the Scriptures and to preach a sermon like no other. Peter has been filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and it is by the Holy Spirit’s power that he is enabled, empowered and emboldened to preach to the thousands present. Peter may have the breath of God in him, but he does not have the power to utilise scriptures he hasn’t read! He points the listeners to what was prophesied in the Book of Joel, a pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit. Peter knew the book of Joel, but if somebody had asked him yesterday to predict when the prophecy he’d just quoted might be fulfilled, he’d have absolutely no idea. Only today does Peter know, by revelation from the Holy Spirit, that these words of Joel are for this very day (and for every single day until Jesus returns!).
God has made an astonishing promise, a promise for All People, not just his chosen people, the Jews. The promise is there for the lowly as well as the high and mighty, for women as well as men, and for children. What an amazing gift! Peter gets it, and he tells it to his people. It will take a little more time before All People get to hear.
Today is now the first of the last days! History has turned, and the message of Christ Jesus will be preached to the world. A new phase has begun. From this point on we are waiting for his return as we preach the gospel to all nations.
Are the high and lowly, and men and women equally recognised in your Church?
Do your sons and daughters prophesy?
Did Joel purposely miss out the women?
What of Peter’s quote from Joel’s prophecy is still to be fulfilled?
Is my church open to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord?
Father God, I look to the day when my Lord Jesus shall return in glory, as he promised. Empower me, I pray, by your living Holy Spirit within me, to bring the Gospel message to family and friends, strangers and enemies, young and old. And should I not know the blessing that came upon the disciples in my life, would you release it in me. Amen.