Lent 2023 Day 11: Mon 6 Mar
‘Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
…Seeing what was to come, [King David] spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
‘“The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’”
‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’
Peter continues his message. What language was Peter using? It may have been Hebrew as that would be understood by most Israelites. If it was his native Aramaic then his words were being somehow translated by people in the crowd for those who would not understand Aramaic. Whatever the language, Peter got through. His whole being has been suffused with revelation and understanding. He is speaking with power and authority. He is speaking the truth that the Holy Spirit has revealed to him. He is not being controlled, but guided. Speaking in tongues was not some robotic utterance on his part, but a joyful outpouring of praise to God.
Peter talks to the crowds about Jesus’ suffering at their hands – a brave action if ever there was one – though they were not entirely to blame. It was written that Jesus had to die. He tells the crowd that the Lord Jesus was prophesied by King David, a revered symbol of Jewish identity, implying that when David talks of “my Lord”, he has placed Jesus higher than him.
Peter concludes his first sermon (though he may have spoken in towns and villages when Jesus sent him and others out) by declaring the central tenet of our faith – Jesus is Lord and Messiah, higher than the highest king, and Saviour of the world.
Many things have happened since Peter, prompted by the Holy Spirit, first blurted out to Jesus that he was the Messiah. He hadn’t enjoyed Jesus’ response, because he didn’t want Jesus to have to suffer first before he came into glory. Peter stood at a distance when Jesus was arrested, but now he stands boldly in front of a very large crowd – yes, I was with that man!
How would you explain to someone what does Jesus’ death mean to you?
How is Jesus celebrated as Lord and Messiah in your church fellowship?
Father God, my faith is built upon Jesus, my Messiah. Refresh that truth in me and enable me to recount it with the same power and conviction that filled Peter as he proclaimed it at Pentecost. Amen.