“A Word for this Week” Pastor Bill Mugnolo: HARP Pastoral Advisor
Week of June 12-18, 2017: “In About Three Minutes” (Part 2) … Acts 2:22-36
Last week, we took a look at the first minute of the Apostle Peter’s message that he gave at the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21). This week, we look, in Acts 2:22-36, at the core of Peter’s message that lasts but two minutes. In certain ways, this part of Peter’s sermon can be compared with a famous speech in American History: Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Though ridiculed by many, at first, because of its brevity, Lincoln’s speech, in all of two minutes, honored the slain in the Battle of Gettysburg, acknowledged the forefathers of the nation, and called for a commitment to a cause, “That government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the face of the earth.” Peter, in about the same length of time, would speak words that would be even more meaningful and profound.
First, Peter would honor the slain—not thousands who died on a battlefield, but the Christ who alone could do battle against the powers of sin, death, and hell. As to Jesus’ death, Peter would place the blame squarely upon those who were hearing his words in Jerusalem (v.23). This shows us that there is a place for the believer in Christ to call out people to be accountable for specific sins that they have committed. But Jesus, once slain, would rise again (v.24).
Then, Peter would acknowledge one the nation’s forefathers, King David, as to what he had foretold about a thousand years earlier about the Savior’s death and resurrection (Acts 2:25-35). Peter would then declare Jesus as “Lord and Christ”—that is, the anointed one who was to come to Israel (v.36). While Abraham Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg would, in time, have their impact, Peter’s words in Jerusalem would have an immediate impact. They cut right into the hearts of those who heard them as God’s Word is meant to do (Hebrew 4:12). The stunned crowds, convicted of their sins, called out, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (v.37).
Peter then proclaimed the word of hope as he called them to repent, be baptized in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of their sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (v.38). He told them that this promise was for them, their children, and for future generations to come (v.39). Three thousand believed and were baptized on that day (v.41). In doing so, they heeded Peter’s call to commit themselves to a cause—not to a democratic government, but to the Kingdom of God. Truly, this kingdom is the one true government that will never perish from the face of the earth.
Many today might ridicule Peter’s words from Acts, Chapter Two—not because of their brevity, but because of the exclusive claims that they make about Jesus being “Lord and Christ” (see also: Acts 4:12). But these words are still proclaimed today because words—like Lincoln’s at Gettysburg and, far more so, the Word of God—have their way of “sinking in” (Isaiah 55:10-11). May God’s Word, as it once did in Jerusalem, “sink in” and have impact upon you.