We've got Pentecost, speaking in tongues, and Peter preaching.
He's kind of like a news reporter. These events have just happened. These people don't have the benefit of being raised knowing these stories or reading really old documents that tell them this Truth. This is breaking news, it is eye-opening and surprising.
36"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
38Peter replied, "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. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."
And forgive me for jumping around... but doesn't this really make the last days sound terrifying?
17" 'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.'[c]
I suppose it should only be terrifying for those who haven't already chosen to live their lives in God's love, right? But even as a believer, even as someone strong in my faith and in my eternal life to come... this scares me! I would far prefer to imagine the return of the Lord being surrounded with rainbows, flowers, unicorns, fairies. Where an incomprehensible peace fills the land. All wars are ended and all problems are lifted. Where the life we all are striving for is. When he returns, at that moment, there will be no physical or spiritual hunger. There will be no disease or pain or mental illness. There will be whole people, complete souls, absolute love and peace. I imagine heaven on earth. And I imagine that those who refuse it still, those who don't accept the Lord and choose to love Him... then those will be the ones who do not choose to live in heaven. That choose to turn away. But I really don't imagine the fire and brimstone kind of return. Because who'd want to go with God after all that? But sunshine, rainbows and unicorns? I am so there.
It's the last paragraph that I find most interesting.
42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.Can you imagine how powerful it would have been to be in that presence, to be part of that group? Witnessing miracles and surrounded by fellow believers?
But that's the exact kind of thinking that people in our lifetimes have used, abused, taken advantage of. Took it to an ugly, selfish place. Jim Jones and Jonesville is what first comes to mind. And those are the experiences that turn people away from the Bible and Christianity. When they see the very public examples of it being wrong, of it being twisted and deformed into something full of hate and ugliness.
So Jesus came, Jesus died, Jesus rose, Jesus ascended, and the apostles continued preaching and bringing believers into the fold.
Until tomorrow... Acts 3