They ... said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "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 2:37b-38
It is "by far the most heartbreaking scene I have seen in my 27-year broadcasting career."
And just what is it that can move an "I've-seen-it-all" New York newsman to make such a sad statement? He had watched video taken from the cell phone of a student who had perished when the South Korean ferry, the Sewon, went down. As of this writing, there are 260 dead and 43 still missing. Many of the dead students and adults are being found locked in their cabins.
In one cabin, 43 students had come together as they listened to the intercom for directions.
I have watched and listened to a translation of those videos. After they had been told to put on life vests, after the ship had radioed for assistance, the PA kept repeating: "We ask you again, do not move from your current location. Once again, please do not move from your current location. Absolutely do not move."
Plain and simple, those orders were bad advice. And the students who listened to that bad advice perished.
Bad advice. Starting with Adam and Eve, Scripture is filled with people who listened to bad advice. The people of the flood died when they listened to bad advice and failed to repent. Thousands of the children of Israel died when they followed bad advice and made a golden calf. Look through Scripture and you will be hard-pressed to find someone who didn't listen to bad advice, which came either from an outside source or an inward desire.
Indeed, it would be impossible to find such a person, impossible, until you looked upon Jesus.
Among humanity's billions of individuals, only Jesus managed to resist every bit of bad advice He was given. When Satan tempted Him saying, "Turn the stones to bread; cast Yourself down from the temple" and "fall down and worship me," Jesus refused. (See Matthew 4:1-11.) When Peter tried to talk Him out of going to Jerusalem where He would suffer and die for our salvation, Jesus corrected His disciple and kept on going. (See Matthew 16:21-23.)
Now, because Jesus resisted all bad advice and because He followed only His Father's will, all who believe on Him are granted remission of sins and a heavenly home.
Tragically, there are hundreds of millions of people today who do not believe on Him. There are many who still get sucked in by bad advice. Some follow the bad advice which says, "There is no God." Others embrace the bad advice which says, "All gods are the same." And, of course, there are those who believe the bad advice which says, "You're just fine as you are."
Instead of bad advice, we need to hear good advice like that given by Peter. When the convicted Pentecost crowd asked, "What shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am a sinner who needs a Redeemer. May I turn a deaf ear to bad advice and listen to Your Word and my Savior. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries