37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 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.
39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:36–41 ESV Read More
So often we worry about what people will think if they hear that I’m a Jesus freak (you’re welcome). I think we would benefit for a little bit to daydream about what would happen if people believed our message. Who knows? Those people you know that are always complaining or making lewd jokes might just be really eager to hear that their sins are forgiven and that Jesus offers them a new life!
Peter’s sermon isn’t perfect, and it isn’t exhaustive, and he didn’t spend much time putting it together (overworked pastors be encouraged!) but look what happened:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart
As we pray for our families and our community, and as we pray for a few people that are far from God, what if that was our simple prayer? Isn’t this the essence of “Your kingdom come?”
The awesome thing here is that as they were “cut to the heart” they reacted and wanted to change their lives. They wanted to not just believe, but take action on that belief.
The action he told them to take was to repent and be baptized. Notice that he didn’t give them a list of things to repent from. He didn’t have to. Peter would still struggle with laws and such, but he was echoing Jesus here. To repent is to deliberately change your way of thinking. Change your path. Do different things. You cannot sprinkle radical on your life and expect the whole dish to change. Radical is a main course, not a condiment.
And the first move of that radical new life was baptism. Some historians don’t put them all lining up and waiting for baptism either, they all just went and did it however they knew, because it was a part of Jewish teachings too. Go wash off your old life and start living a new one. The Holy Spirit will be there to guide you.
And that was it. 3,000 people sent out with that and “many other words” to go back to their homes all over the known world.
I think it was a good plan. 2,000 years later we’re doing the same thing in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Let’s pray that people would be cut to the heart with our words, and pray for boldness to speak them.