Lent 2023 Day 12: Tue 7 Mar
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, 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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Peter’s declaration cut to the very heart of those who were listening. Peter and the others had already proclaimed the wonders of God to foreign Jews in their own language. Surely, you’d want to be hearing what this is all about! Peter has a ready audience, but he is inspired, he is on fire with Holy Spirit anointing and infilling.
People are convicted by his words. In their heads, their hearts, their very souls, there is now a conflict. Prophecies have been fulfilled, the truth of God’s plan has been revealed, and the truth about Jesus’ loving obedience to Father God has touched them deeply.
Their religious way of life, devout though it may be, is now shown up as incomplete. The missing part is Jesus, Christ Jesus – he is the promised Messiah, and he has brought God to man, and man to God.
If I’ve lived a life of regular religious activity, if I’ve lived through the annual cycle of spring time, Passover, harvest and the other events that mark the religious year, and have staked my religious identity solely on these actions and observations, and then along comes someone like Peter who pulls the carpet from under what I’ve held dear, and he speaks unassailable truth to my inner being, then I’m going to have to re-evaluate everything.
“What shall we do?” is a cry from the very depths of their being. Peter has the answer. Around three thousand of those present accepted it. Thank goodness there was no electoral roll to fill in!
Is Jesus alive in your head, your heart and your soul?
Does the question the Jews asked have any resonance in your religious life?
What is the corrupt generation for us (don’t say “youth”)?
Father God, I pray for wisdom and boldness in whatever situation I am placed. I pray that you lovingly and kindly challenge my religiosity where it is a substitute for the real presence of Jesus in my life and the Holy Spirit’s working in me. Amen.