Today's Bible Reading: Acts 2
Selected Biblical Text
"Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
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?" 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. 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." And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:36-47, ESV)
Reflecting and Thinking
The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles empowered them to communicate with those assembled in the different languages represented among the hearers. Peter addresses the entire crowd. The Pentecost sermon is the first "gospel" sermon. Peter's message is that what is occurring was predicted by the prophets and is according to God's will. The sermon concludes in verse 36: "God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ." The text tells us that those who received these words were baptized and a new community was born. The new community, knowing salvation from sin and having received the gift of the Holy Spirit, committed itself to teaching and sharing, praise and prayer. Their reputation spread among the people and the community grew every day by God's power.
As we read this description of the first Christian community, would it be fair to use this text as a model against which to compare the contemporary church? Why or why not? How would the church where you attend stack up against this description? Would it be fair to use this text as a model for contemporary Christians? How would you come out in such an evaluation? What areas would you most need to work on?
Dear God, we marvel at the powerful way in which the church began on the Day of Pentecost. We wonder about our own struggles and challenges. Why does the modern church not experience a Pentecost revival? Help us find newness as we preach and live the good news; help us discover anew the power of devotion and commitment. Bind us together in deeper fellowship. Make us more aware of your presence through the gift of your Spirit, we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.