Peter's eyewitness case for following Christ

Posted Feb 12, 2018

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Daily Scripture

Acts 2:22-47

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a man whose credentials God proved to you through miracles, wonders, and signs, which God performed through him among you. You yourselves know this. 23 In accordance with God’s established plan and foreknowledge, he was betrayed. You, with the help of wicked men, had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. 24 God raised him up! God freed him from death’s dreadful grip, since it was impossible for death to hang on to him. 25 David says about him,

I foresaw that the Lord was always with me;
    because he is at my right hand I won't be shaken.
26 Therefore, my heart was glad
    and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover, my body will live in hope,
27   because you won't abandon me to the grave,
    nor permit your holy one to experience decay.
28 You have shown me the paths of life;
    your presence will fill me with happiness. [Psalm 16:8-11]

29 “Brothers and sisters, I can speak confidently about the patriarch David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this very day. 30 Because he was a prophet, he knew that God promised him with a solemn pledge to seat one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Having seen this beforehand, David spoke about the resurrection of Christ, that he wasn’t abandoned to the grave, nor did his body experience decay. [Psalm 16:10] 32 This Jesus, God raised up. We are all witnesses to that fact. 33 He was exalted to God’s right side and received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit. He poured out this Spirit, and you are seeing and hearing the results of his having done so. 34 David didn’t ascend into heaven. Yet he says, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right side,

35   until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” [Psalm 110:1]

36 “Therefore, let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites.” 40 With many other words he testified to them and encouraged them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized. God brought about three thousand people into the community on that day.

42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.

Reflection Questions

“I am a Christian because I believe the accounts of the eyewitnesses regarding Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.”* Fifty days after Jesus' crucifixion at Passover, Peter boldly laid out the case for faith in the risen Jesus at the feast of Pentecost. At the heart of Peter’s Spirit-guided sermon was verse 32: “This Jesus, God raised up. We are all witnesses to that fact.” Deeply convicted, the crowd asked the key question we must all ask when we encounter the claims of Jesus: “What should we do?”

  • How Peter changed in just 50 days! The intimidated disciple who denied Jesus because his nerve failed (cf. Matthew 26:69-75) became the bold apostle in Acts 2. Based on what you know about people, do you think it likely that a made-up story about Jesus rising from the dead would have produced a change like that? If Peter and the others truly witnessed Jesus alive again, what does that tell you about the life-giving power God offers you?
  • When the crowd asked, “What should we do?” Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives.” Scholar William Barclay wrote, “When repentance comes something happens to the past. There is God’s forgiveness for what lies behind…. When repentance comes something happens for the future. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and in that power we can win battles we never thought to win and resist things which by ourselves we would have been powerless to resist.”** Have you allowed Jesus' power to give you a fresh start from your past, and a future decisively altered for the better?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, those who knew you best unanimously said they were witnesses that you rose from the dead. By that same power, please continue to give me new life as I follow you. Amen.

* Adam Hamilton, Christianity and World Religions. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005, p. 127.

** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Acts of the Apostles (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 29.

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Donna Karlen

Donna Karlen

Donna Karlen serves in Communications at Church of the Resurrection by creating and managing social media content.

What Should We Do?

Imagine standing in this crowd of people and hearing how you had crucified the “Lord and Christ”! Who among us wouldn’t cry out – just like those listening to Peter – “What should we do?” Peter’s response? “Change your hearts and lives.”

They got right on it! The new believers demonstrated their devotion to Jesus and began to answer their own "what should we do?" question by helping those in need.

2000 years later, God has added us to this community, and we are called to answer the same question...   

A hurricane causes devastating damage to homes, schools, churches, crops – to the lives of millions in Puerto Rico. 
What should we do?
https://cor.org/leawood/search?q=puerto+rico#d/serve/15468/cor_l
Not Emergency Response Trained yet? Sign up for the March 3 training.
https://gp-reg.brtapp.com/ERT-COR032018

Vulnerable children in Malawi live in extreme poverty – many are exploited and abused.
What should we do?
https://cor.org/leawood/globalimpact#malawi-partnerships

Cities in our own country are “home” to many who are homeless.
What should we do?
https://cor.org/leawood/globalimpact/usservetrips

In our own community, children are distracted at school because with no bed to sleep on, they don’t get the rest they need… or their stomachs rumble when they have no access to nutritious food over the weekends. Some of them dream of going to their school prom but have nothing to wear. Others don’t read at home because they have no books in the house.
What should we do?
https://cor.org/leawood/localimpact/in-kind-donations#beds-ministry-donations
https://cor.org/leawood/localimpact/serve-youth
https://cor.org/leawood/localimpact/in-kind-donations#prom-drive
https://cor.org/leawood/localimpact/serve-youth#bookmobile

Fifty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., racism still rears its ugly head in Kansas City. 
What should we do?
http://alliesforracialjustice.org/

These are just some of the answers to our own “What should we do?” question. Just like those early believers, let us seek even more ways to demonstrate God’s goodness to everyone.

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