Text: Acts 2:37-47
To not see with eyes of prejudice, but see rightly
To see repentance as a new way of living
For those to whom you promised to pray
IT IS IMPORTANT to remember that the crowds that were “cut to the heart” were all present for the Pentecost festival, a harvest-time event that celebrated the giving of the Law at Sinai by Moses. In other words, those who heard Peter were devout Jews. Yet this gathering is also from every part of the Roman Empire, all of them with local customs, languages and culture. To use our modern word, the congregation gathered that day was a multicultural one.
So notice how this story plays out. As we read earlier, some in the crowd had jeered at the disciples, snickering that they were drunk. They were familiar from their homes in places far from Jerusalem with the spirit-ecstasy rites among their pagan neighbors and saw in this moment a parallel with what they knew from home. However, Peter makes only the most passing effort to defend his companions; instead, he immediately moves to discuss what God has done. God has vindicated the Jesus who was crucified, and Peter and the disciples’ role is to bear witness to God’s work. The call to repentance is a call to “get on the side of God,” who is on the move. Repentance is less about sorrow, and more about walking a new way, alongside the Risen Christ.
Let us remember Peter’s Spirit-guided wisdom in our own encounters with others in the world. Our wonderful multicultural world is not a problem, but a blessing. We have no need to defend ourselves, for we proclaim not ourselves, but Christ and him crucified! Tell others what he has done, what you have witnessed—and to God be the glory.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks