Acts 2:22-24 - (Peter said) "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it."
When Peter spoke these words, the Christian "church" was still in its infancy. His words came right after the onrush of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost when, like a mighty wind, the Spirit filled the room of the house where the disciples were, and each "began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4b).
What an experience this must have been! The onlookers were both mystified and skeptical. This multi-national assembly gathered in Jerusalem "from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5b) was hearing the disciples speak each in their "native language" about "the mighty works of God" (see Acts 2:7-8, 11). "And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'What does this mean?' But others mocking said, 'They are filled with new wine'" (Acts 2:12-13).
And then Peter takes the stage, front and center. It's a little funny that the first thing he has to do is dispel the idle notion that the disciples are already half-crocked at nine o'clock in the morning. He does this, and then he gets down to business, showing immediately how the prophet Joel's words were being fulfilled right there in their hearing: "'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy'" (Acts 2:17a).
And prophesy they did—nation after nation hearing of God's work through the ages. These messages must have been astounding to foreigners unfamiliar with the God of Israel. How mighty were His deeds! How stern His arm of judgment against evildoers, yet how loving His patient forbearance toward His own children! And what is this of a King yet to come, a promised Messiah who will save His people from their sins!?
At this Peter takes his cue. This long-awaited Messiah is Jesus, attested by God through "mighty works and wonders and signs," Jesus—delivered up and crucified according to God's plan, Jesus—resurrected by God's power as He destroyed "the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it."
This was the message Peter knew to be true. He had been a witness with Jesus from the beginning. He had been there when multitudes were fed and people were miraculously healed. He had witnessed the signs and wonders of the Savior, and he had agonized over Jesus' death and his own terrified denial of knowing his beloved Friend and Confidant. But Peter was no longer the reluctant witness. He had taken to heart his Master's personal directive to feed His sheep (see John 21:15-17).
And now Peter was ready; it is time to speak.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, like Peter, empower us to speak of You to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. What might your first-hand reaction be to the events of Pentecost?
2. What "mighty works and wonders and signs" does God do today?
3. When are you most compelled to share the Good News of Jesus with someone else?
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