#DailyDevotion What Should We Do?
Acts 214 Then Peter got up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them:
36“Then all the people of Israel should know it’s true that God made Him Lord and Christ — this Jesus Whom you crucified.” 37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart. They asked Peter and the other apostles, “Fellow Jews, what should we do?” 38 Peter answered them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will be given the Holy Spirit. 39What is promised belongs to you, to your children, and to all who are far away, all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40He said much more to warn them. “Be saved from these crooked people,” he urged them. 41Those who accepted what he said were baptized. And that day about 3,000 persons were added.
So this is part of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost. The lectionary reading for this day is missing verses 15-35 which we’ll get on Pentecost Sunday. Much of that was talking about what Jesus did, how he had fulfilled prophecy and what the crowds in front of him had done to Jesus and how Jesus had risen from the dead. It crescendos with verse 36, “Then all the people of Israel should know it’s true that God made Him Lord and Christ — this Jesus Whom you crucified.” Well how bad could it get? Pretty bad. The crowd, at the instigation of the Sandhedrin, had Jesus crucified and now he sits at the right hand of the Father as Lord and Christ. In their minds you can hear the gears working, “If he is Lord and Christ, what is he going to do to us for what we have done to him?” They were cut to the heart. They regretted what they had done and so they ask, “What should we do?”
Well all is not hopeless even if you did crucify and kill your LORD and your God. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,…” Be repentant. Have a change of heart and mind. It was directed at self before, direct it towards Jesus and the Father. Be contrite at heart for all the sins you have committed. Change sides to Jesus’ side. In conjunction with that be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. This is not different than being baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew gives us the formula to use, Peter here is designating in who name and authority the baptism is coming from and who is doing the baptizing. Baptism begins our journey of repentance. We are only baptized once but we are called to live in that baptism, being repentant all the days of our life.
This baptism, like John the Baptist’s, gives the forgiveness of sins and differently than John’s it bestows upon us the gift of the Holy Spirit. In this baptism we are made the temple of God. Like the temple in Jerusalem the Holy Spirit makes the LORD’s name rest upon us and he fills us and makes us his dwelling. As all males 8 days old and up were circumcised when they joined Israel, now all people, men, women and children were to be baptized, be repentant. The gift is for your and your children. We now live in this baptism having been joined to Christ Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. We live in the Holy Spirit. We live in the forgiveness of sins. It is the sign God has given us that we have been called to be his holy children and to receive the inheritance. And it is not only a sign but it delivers the promise to us.
Almighty God and Father, you call all of us to repent of our sins, be baptized and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we live in our baptism being guided by the Holy Spirit all our days so we may on the day of redemption see the forgiveness of our sins and receive everlasting life in our resurrection. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.