How appropriate as we head into Easter that our reading is from Acts 2, which includes Peter's impromptu sermon to those gathered around who had witnessed the Holy Spirit fall with power.
Those gathered assumed that what they saw - people speaking in different (intelligible!) tongues - were amazed and astonished, asking what it meant, and some assuming that they were drunk!
Peter grounds it all in two things: God's promises and Jesus' resurrection.
First, he says at v16, this is what the prophet Joel had said:
"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 and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams."
Peter cites Joel at length (showing great familiarity with the Old Testament, as he and we should).
Then he places it all in the greater context, God's appointed time and plan: "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified...[but] God raised up." v.23
He also grounds that in what David said and knew, at vv 29-31: "[David] foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ."
Finally, we come to the title of today's post, at v.32: "This Jesus God raised up."
This is a fact - a truth - at a real point in time in real history: "This Jesus God raised up."
And it is the ground of all faith, belief, and hope. It is not a vague story, illustration or analogy. It is the truth of what happened, in God's own plan.
Christians do not and should not believe because it might go well with us in this life, because it might give us something to cling to, or a philosophy of life that helps us bear with trials or explain away hard things. Paul said that would be in vain and foolish. It would be pitiful.
"And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:14-19)
Instead, with Peter in Acts 2, we saw and believe, "This Jesus God raised up."
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
Some Favorite Sites
Desiring God Ministries
Bible Design Blog
Calvary Baptist Church