Jesus is Risen; Jesus is Lord

Posted: April 5, 2015 in Acts
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Resurrection Sunday 2015
Acts 2:22-39, “Jesus is Risen; Jesus is Lord”

The first Easter sermon ever preached wasn’t preached on Easter – it was given by Peter on the day of Pentecost.  Easter is less about the particulars of a religious holiday than it is about the content of what that holiday is supposed to celebrate: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Our culture gets lost with Easter celebrations just in general terms.  For some, it’s all about bunnies, eggs, and other things that more accurately reflect pagan celebrations of the Spring Equinox than anything to do with Christianity.  For some, it’s about chocolate, candy, and other feasting.  Praise God for chocolate, but this particular day isn’t about food; it’s about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  This is Resurrection Sunday, and it was the resurrection that was the focus of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost.

Take a moment to understand what was going on that day.  After waiting in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, just as Jesus had instructed the disciples to do, the Holy Spirit actually came.  Those who believed in Jesus (much more than just the 12 disciples, which were newly 12 again after Judas was replaced) were seeking the Lord in prayer, and they were all in one accord.  The men and women had gathered once again on this day of Pentecost, which was traditionally a celebration among the Jews remembering how God gave Moses the 10 Commandments upon Mt. Sinai.  This was Shauvot (the Feast of Weeks), and Jews from all over the Roman Empire had once more come to Jerusalem, just as they had 50 days earlier for the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread.  So although the believers in Jesus were already meeting for prayer, it was simply a natural time for them to meet once more. 

And as they met together, God did something miraculous in their midst!  Centuries earlier, God had given Moses the law of the covenant; this day God gave something even better: the baptism and filling of Himself.  The Holy Spirit came upon them in an incredible way, with the room filled with the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and visible tongues of fire resting upon each one of the disciples in the room.  As the Holy Spirit came upon them, they began to praise God verbally, but began speaking in languages they did not know…and that started to attract the attention of the other Jews present in Jerusalem that day.

The people out on the street heard the praises of God spoken in their own native tongues, and they were amazed.  They couldn’t understand how it was all possible.  Trying to make sense of it all, they mocked the group of disciples, claiming that they must be drunk.

That’s when Peter spoke up, explaining what was happening.  The disciples were not drunk; it was far too early in the day for drinking.  (And drunkenness didn’t even make sense!  People might act weird when drunk, but liquor doesn’t give anyone supernatural knowledge of languages they’ve never spoken before.)  What had happed was the fulfillment of prophecy, as the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the worshippers of God in the last day – as a sign to all those who watched that they needed to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.

But now that Peter had their attention (thanks to the move of the Holy Spirit), he had the perfect opportunity to tell them about Jesus.  Just 7 weeks prior, the people of Jerusalem had put Jesus to death.  He had been betrayed by a friend, turned over to the Jewish priests and elders, and had been convicted of blasphemy.  At that point, Jesus was delivered over to Pilate, who ordered Him crucified after the Jewish mob demanded it.  He died upon the cross and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.  All this was public knowledge, and the Jews were well acquainted with it.  What they were not so familiar with was what happened afterwards.  The event that followed Jesus’ crucifixion was a game-changer.  Three days after His death, Jesus rose from the grave – fulfilling prophecy written of Him centuries earlier.  And not only did Jesus rise from the dead, He also bodily rose to God the Father in heaven, another event prophesied in Scripture.  Jesus’ resurrection and ascension proved beyond a doubt that He is God and King – He is to be worshipped by all the world, Jew and Gentile alike.

Ladies & Gentlemen, THAT is the Easter message!  That is the proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection.  His resurrection is proof that God has made Him Lord and Christ, and by believing upon Him we can have the forgiveness of sin, and eternal salvation.  That is what Peter proclaimed to the Jews on Pentecost, and that is still the proclamation of the Bible today.  Jesus is risen; Jesus is Lord!

Acts 2:22–39

  • Peter’s introduction: it’s all about Jesus (vss. 22-24)

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—

  • Peter is laying out the case for Jesus being the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah, the God-given King), and as he does so, he first reminds them of how Jesus lived and walked among them.  They knew this Man.  This was “Jesus of Nazareth,” thought by some to be a prophet along the lines of Elijah, Jeremiah, or John the Baptist – thought by others to be a disturber of the peace – but known by all to be a worker of great miracles wrought by the power of God.  Even the Pharisees had to admit that no one could do the things Jesus did unless God was with Him (Jn 3:2).  Jesus had performed signs and wonders all throughout the land of Israel: feeding thousands in Galilee with loaves and fish, healing the blind and the paralyzed in Jerusalem and elsewhere, casting out demons wherever He went, and even raising the dead in Bethany (just beyond the city walls of Jerusalem).  His power and authority could not be denied, which was the biggest challenge for the Pharisees and chief priests.  After all, it’s one thing to try to label Jesus a false teacher; it’s another thing to prove it.  His miracles and teachings were far too well-known to be mischaracterized.  Jesus’ character was attested to by God Himself, and that was something that could not be denied.
  • That fact alone was a problem for the men of Israel.  They knew the miracles of Jesus, having seen them for themselves.  They had witnessed these things with their own eyes, and it was plain where the evidence pointed.  Jesus was no ordinary man; He was the Christ of God (the Son of Man, the Son of David).  They knew all this, and still they rejected Him.  Vs. 23…

23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;

  • They took Him in lawlessness.  Some have thought that Peter’s reference to “lawless hands” is a reference to the Gentile Romans, who were without the Law of Moses.  The Jews (having the Law) delivered the Messiah/Christ to those without the Law in order to be crucified.  Certainly that is a possibility, but everything about Jesus’ so-called ‘trial’ was lawless!  The supposedly holy chief priests and Jewish council ignored the Law as they brought forth false witnesses about Jesus, entertained lies about Him, sought to convict Him without evidence, and more.  The things that surrounded Jesus on the day He was rejected and condemned to die had nothing to do with the holy righteous Law of God, at least from the perspective of men.  They were thirsty for innocent blood, and they took it.
  • The men of Jerusalem may have rejected Jesus lawlessly, but they didn’t do so by chance.  Everything that happened to Jesus was according to “the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God.”  The innocent Son of God was meant to be turned over to sinners that day for death, because that was God’s predetermined plan in regards to sin.  The Bible tells us that Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8) – back in the Garden of Eden, God already speaks of how His promised Son would be bruised by the Serpent, prior to the Serpent’s head being crushed by Him (Gen 3:15).  Before God ever created the world, He knew that sin would enter it. He knew that the universe He created and declared to be “good” would fall, and that He would have to right every wrong.  That was why He sent Jesus.  Because sin is evil, the righteous God has to pour out His wrath upon it, and the only One who can truly bear the wrath of God is God Himself.  Thus, God came.  Jesus became our propitiation: the One who took the full anger of God towards sin in our place.  The cross of Christ was lawless from the perspective of men – the full product of our sin…but it was also the fullness of the predetermined righteous plan of God.
  • Notice Peter doesn’t shy away from the “death” of Jesus.  For many, they would think of Jesus’ death as proof that He was fake or a failure.  They would have looked at Peter & thought, “Why do you proclaim a dead Teacher?  If your Jesus was taken and killed, He must not have been that great.  Surely He couldn’t have been of God.  If He was, He wouldn’t have died.”  Not so!  Death for Jesus wasn’t failure; it was His mission.  This is what Jesus was born to do.   That said, it wasn’t ALL Jesus was born to do.  There was more to come.  See vs. 24…

24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

  • Yes Jesus died, but God “raised” Him up again!  Jesus truly died upon that cross, and He was certified dead by those around Him.  His lifeless body was placed in a tomb, and packed with spices according to Jewish tradition.  There was nothing about Him on Friday evening prior to the tomb being shut that would have given anyone any indication of what was still to come.  But on Sunday morning, something DID come!  Matthew 28:1–8, "(1) Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. (2) And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. (3) His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. (4) And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. (5) But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6) He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (7) And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” (8) So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word."  Amazing!  Nothing in all history compares with this one historical event!  And be sure not to miss the main event!  It wasn’t the earthquake, or the rolling back of the stone, or the fear of the guards, or even the appearance of the glorious angel that was the most amazing thing.  The very best part of it wall was the One who was not there!  The lifeless body of Jesus could not be found in the tomb, because Jesus was no longer lifeless.  He was risen from the dead, because God raised Him up, “having loosed the pains of death.
  • Death holds us, but it cannot hold Jesus!  How exactly can the Author and Giver of Life be held by death?  What chains can the grave place upon Jesus?  Jesus conquers death; there simply is no other option!
    • And guess what?  Though death holds us now, it will not hold us always.  Those who have faith in Christ Jesus as Lord also will not be held by death.  The sting of death has been taken away.  Though we die, yet will we live.  To be separated by our loved ones by death is to step into the presence of the Living Lord Jesus, one day to have our bodies gloriously resurrected from the dead.  THAT is the victory that God gave Jesus over death.  Not only was Jesus loosed from the pains of death, but His resurrection looses everyone else who has faith in Him!
  • Peter’s illustration: the resurrection was prophesied (vss. 25-28)

25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.

  • Quoting Psalm 16:8-11.  From the perspective of the psalmist, this Singer saw God, trusted in God, rejoiced in God, and hoped in God.
  • When does the Singer hope in this way?  When He is in the middle of great trouble, even death itself.  See vs. 27…

27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

  • This is why the Singer rejoiced: God would not leave His soul in the grave.  The Singer, who is the “Holy One” would not “see corruption.”  His body would not stay in the tomb long enough to physically decompose.  He might go there for a day (or three), but no longer.  This is resurrection!

28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

  • The Singer knows life beyond the grave.  His ultimate joy is being in the presence of God.
  • Peter’s argument: David wrote of Jesus’ resurrection (vss. 29-32)

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,

  • As the author of Psalm 16, David obviously wasn’t writing of himself.  If he had, what he wrote would have been false considering his body most definitely did decay.  Any one of the Jews could have gone to the tomb of David and viewed his remains.  No, David had Someone else in mind.  Writing as a prophet, David was looking forward to another promise of God that God had given him: the future Christ, who would come from David’s line and reign forever.  God had promised to give David a son, whose throne God would establish forever (2 Sam 7:13).  Every son/descendent of David ultimately looked forward to this promised Son.  They all died and stayed buried, but there was one coming who would live on in glorious majesty.
  • Here’s the problem: if David’s heir would have a kingdom that never ends – if David’s heir would live forever, then how would David’s heir deal with death?  Some might argue that the Messiah (Christ) would never die, but that’s not what David wrote.  David didn’t write that the Messiah would not enter the grave; only that the Messiah wouldn’t be left in the grave (vs. 27).  David’s heir would most certainly die – too many other Scriptures proclaim this (Ps 22, Isa 53 among others).  So what would God do with the death of the Son of David?  The Messiah has to die, but He must also sit on David’s throne forever.  That means there must be a resurrection.  Vs. 31…

31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.

  • So the prophecy was that the Christ would rise from the grave in order to sit on the throne of David.  He would die, but He would not remain dead – His body would never see corruption or decay.  Peter says, “Guess what?  Jesus fits the bill.”  Jesus perfectly fits the description of this prophecy. 
  • How did Peter know?  He witnessed it for himself.  After the women ran with fear and great joy to bring the disciples word, Peter and John had to see this thing for themselves.  John 20:3–8, "(3) Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. (4) So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. (5) And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. (6) Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, (7) and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. (8) Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed."  Peter is a first-hand witness to the empty tomb of Jesus – but it wasn’t only the empty tomb that Peter saw; he saw the living Lord Jesus Himself!  Luke 24:36–39, "(36) Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” (37) But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. (38) And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? (39) Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”"  This was just the first of several times Peter saw the Lord Jesus.  Jesus appeared to Peter & the disciples again 8 days after His resurrection and brought Thomas to faith – He appeared to the disciples while they were fishing, and restored Peter to ministry – Jesus appeared to them all in Galilee and gave them the Great Commission prior to His ascension…and those are just the instances recorded in the Bible.  Peter was a repeated witness of Jesus’ resurrection.  If anyone knew Jesus was raised, it was Peter.
  • And Peter wasn’t the only witness!  There were the other disciples, including the women at the tomb.  There were the Roman soldiers, who witnessed the empty tomb for themselves and were bribed to lie to the Jews. (BTW – the fact they survived to tell a lie is proof that they were lying.  If the disciples had indeed stolen the body while they slept, the soldiers would have been executed by the Romans themselves.)  There were over 500 who saw the Risen Lord Jesus at some point (1 Cor 15:6).  A person might argue that one or two people at a time might have seen a hallucination, but upwards to 500?  It boggles the mind!  From a historical perspective, the evidence that Jesus literally rose from the grave is overwhelming.  Very few historical events have more than just a couple of witnesses; the resurrection of Jesus literally has hundreds.  There is more historical evidence for to the resurrection of Jesus Christ than there is for all Roman history combined.
  • Pardon the pun, but this is life-changing!  Jesus rose up from the dead by the power of God.  He was raised by God the Father – He was raised by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:11) – He was raised by His own power (Jn 10:18).  The whole Trinity involved itself in the resurrection of Jesus Christ in glorious display of His majesty!  There has been no other event like this in all history.  Other people have been raised to life, but always by the intervention of another.  God used Elijah to raise the widow’s son.  God used Elisha to raise the Shunammite’s son.  Peter raised Tabitha, and Paul raised Eutychus. Even Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus, well as Lazarus.  But even when directly raised by God the Son, there was still the intervention of Someone.  But with Jesus, there was no intervention.  God willed that Jesus be raised, and He rose!  After three days in the grave, Jesus left that grave under His own power; not the power of another.  The resurrection of Jesus is monumental in its scope…and it actually happened.  This is no fiction – this is no religious myth – this is no wishful thinking; this is actually true.  Hundreds of witnesses testify to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead.  The proof is irrefutable.
    • The question is: what are you going to do about it?  Peter is going to get to that in a minute, but surely we realize that this is something to which we must respond.  We cannot hear the fact of Jesus’ resurrection and not be compelled to respond in some way.  If Jesus truly is risen from the dead, then that changes everything.  No longer are we simply wandering through life aimlessly doing whatever we want without a care for God.  God has dramatically revealed Himself!  No longer can we think that our good deeds will outweigh our bad deeds at the Judgement, or that we can talk ourselves into heaven.  If Jesus had to die upon the cross, then it doesn’t matter what we possibly think we can do…it’s never enough!  But with Jesus risen from the grave, now there is hope.  You can grab on to that hope today…you have that opportunity.
  • Peter’s 2nd argument: David wrote of Jesus’ ascension (vss. 33-35)

33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

  • The resurrection and the ascension of Jesus Christ go hand-in-hand.  If one comes to believe that Jesus truly did rise back to life from the grave, the next obvious question is this: where is He today?  If Jesus rose, why don’t we see Him?  The answer: Jesus ascended to the throne of God in heaven.  When Jesus rose to life, He rose to ultimate life.  He rose bodily from the grave, and ascended bodily into heaven.  Not only could death not hold Him, but once risen in glorified life, this earth could no longer contain Him.  Jesus rose from the grave never to die again – which is exactly what the ascension declares.  Death could not contain Jesus, and death will never again touch Jesus.  Jesus has conquered death once and forever!
  • But when Jesus ascended, He did not leave His church alone; He sent the Holy Spirit, as Peter declared.  The very event that the Jews witnessed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the disciples was itself proof that Jesus was now “exalted to the right hand of God.”  Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit would not come until He ascended to heaven, and once He ascended, the Holy Spirit came.  His words were proven true once more, and the Jews of Jerusalem could testify of that fact for themselves that Pentecost day.
  • What connection does the outpouring of the Holy Spirit have with Jesus’ ascension and exaltation?  It demonstrates His current victory, and the promise of His consummate victory.  Vs. 34…

34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’

  • Peter quotes Psalm 110:1, just as Jesus had weeks prior when confronting the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mt 22:44).  This is David speaking in the psalm, but he speaks (writes) from the point of view as an observer.  Yahweh God was speaking to Someone even David referred to as “Lord.”  Who could possibly be greater than David, the preeminent king of Israel?  None other than the Son of David, the Messiah.  To this Messiah, God gives the invitation to come sit at His right hand (the position of power and authority).  The Messiah sits in the seat of God, and is given the promise of ultimate victory by God.  There is victory just in the exaltation of the Messiah, but there is more victory yet to come.  One day every enemy of the Messiah King will be thrown down, and the Son of David will stand on their necks as they are vanquished. 
  • That is the victory of Jesus over death and the devil!  One day death itself will be thrown into the lake of fire, along with Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and every other enemy of God.  Satan has already been delivered a death blow when Jesus rose from the grave.  In Jesus’ resurrection, the sting of death has already been taken away.  But yet each of their shadows remain…for now.  At the final victory, even that will be taken from them, and nothing will remain!  Jesus’ ascension is the guarantee of His utter and final victory!
    • This is why those who trust in the Risen Jesus have nothing to fear in life!  If God be for us, who can be against us?  Yes, we endure trials and hardships and sorrows.  We will grieve, just like Peter, Paul, and every other devoted follower of Christ.  We will endure sickness and suffering and hardship, and likely persecution in this life.  But ONLY in this life.  Because Jesus is risen, WE will rise.  Because Jesus lives, WE will live.  Because Jesus is exalted and glorified, WE will be glorified.  Our life and eternal hope is wrapped up in His own, and we will experience what our Lord experiences because we have been graced to share in His inheritance (Rom 8:17).  And with that in mind, what exactly should we fear?  Nothing!  What can this life throw at us that eternity does not wash away?  What can we experience now that will not be utterly overwhelmed in the glories of heaven with Jesus?  Beloved, this is what it means to hope in the resurrection of Jesus!  Do you have that hope?
  • Peter’s conclusion: Jesus is the Christ

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

  • Here is the point that Peter has been building up to this entire time.  He’s built his case: he reminded them of Who Jesus already showed Himself to be prior to His crucifixion – how the Scriptures prophesied of everything regarding the expected Messiah (death, burial, resurrection, ascension) – and now Peter puts it all together in one fell swoop.  Jesus matches it all.  The proof is abundant that Jesus is the Lord and Christ.  Jesus is the “Lord” of whom David observed speaking with Yahweh God (the LORD), and Jesus is the Christ of whom David wrote that His flesh would not see corruption.  All of Israel could now look to Jesus of Nazareth and “know assuredly” the declaration and work of God regarding Him.  Jesus is the Lord God in the flesh, and He is the Messiah Christ King of Israel.  Jesus is the Savior of the world, and the One deserving of all worship.
  • Peter spoke this to the people of Jerusalem, but the truth rings out across the ages to us today.  Let all the world know assuredly that God has made Jesus both Lord & Christ!  This is what we see in the resurrection – this is what we celebrate at Easter.  The Crucified One is the Victorious One – the Divine One – the Royal One.  Let that truth sink in – let your heart absorb that fact.  The One whose name we so often use as a cuss word – the One whose cross of death we throw casually around as meaningless – this is the Living God of the Universe, and the King of all the world.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the men of Jerusalem that day as they take this all in.  They had seen Jesus with their own eyes – they were there when it all happened – they had even heard the stories of Jesus rising from the dead (after all, no one bothered objecting to Peter at the time).  And then all of a sudden it starts to sink in…they were the ones who despised, abused, and delivered Jesus to be crucified.  They had cried out for the torture and death of God the Son, their King.  Vs. 37…
  • Response and invitation (vss. 37-39)

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

  • No doubt they were cut to the heart!  They were pierced to the quick!  They knew they had to do something to respond, but they didn’t know what.
  • Some of you might be cut to the heart as well.  After all, although you didn’t physically cry out to Pilate for Jesus’ crucifixion, you were the reason He was crucified.  When Jesus died upon the cross, He didn’t die for His sins; He died for yours and for mine.  Every sin for every man, woman, and child throughout all history was placed upon His shoulders, and He died for you.  You may not have physically spat in His face, but all your life you were a spiritual enemy of God.  You wanted your way – you wanted to walk according to your lusts and your desires & who cares what God thinks.  So what if God gave you life & and breath?  You wanted your way, period.  Know this: that IS spitting in the face of God!  That is treasonous rebellion against the God to Whom all the world owes our allegiance and worship.  We were the reasons Jesus died that horrendous death upon the cross, and we are faced with the very real reality of seeing Him on the Day of Judgment.  And what will happen on that Day?  All of His enemies will be made His footstool!  We sent God to the cross, but that God lives today in power, might, and victory.  Just like the Jews of Jerusalem, we ought to be asking, “What shall we do?”!

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • We must respond to the resurrection of Jesus, and the declaration of God that Jesus is the Lord and Christ.  How?  Response #1: Turn to Christ – “repent.”  The word “repentance” refers to a change of mind and change of direction.  We change the way we think about sin, turning away from it – forsaking it – leaving it in the past.  We change the way we think about Jesus, and we turn to Him in faith.  There is a turning from and a turning to: from sin, to Jesus.
  • Response #2: Trust in Christ – “be baptized.”  Not that baptism saves us, but baptism is the expression of our identification with Jesus.  Notice Peter tells them to “be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”  Water doesn’t wash away sin; only the blood of Jesus can do that.  When we trust in the name (the person) of Jesus for forgiveness – when we believe upon Him to be saved, we are identifying ourselves with Him.  All of our hope is in Him, all of our life is in Him.  Physical water baptism is simply the expression of that.  We’ve been immersed into the work of Jesus as He went into the grave and rose to life (so we are laid into the water and rise up again in newness). 
  • These two responses (repentance & baptism / turning to Christ and trusting in Christ) is what we are to do in light of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  The promise that comes to those who respond? “You shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  You will be born to new life!  You will be indwelled with the very Person of God the Holy Spirit, just like the believers in Jesus were on that first day of Pentecost.  God promised to pour out His Spirit on those who called upon His name, and those who did would be saved. 
    • Do you want the assurance that your sins are forgiven?  Do you want the assurance that you have received the promise of eternal life?  Do you want to know that you know you will live with Jesus in forever victory?  Then turn to Jesus in repentance, trust Him in faith, and receive the promise of the Holy Spirit!

39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

  • Did you catch that?  The promise was made to the Jews of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, but it wasn’t made only to them.  It was to their children as well, but not just to the Jews.  It was made to “all who are afar off,” including the world of Gentiles.  It was made to all peoples throughout all ages, “as many as the Lord our God will call.”  IOW, it was made to us, too.  Some people wonder, “Is there room at the cross for me?  Can I really be forgiven?  Can I really be saved?”  The glorious answer is YES!  Every single person whom God calls to be saved WILL be saved.  There is no sin that will keep you from Christ, except the sin of stubborn unbelief.  Those who refuse to answer the call of God will not be saved, but that’s not God’s fault…it’s ours.  Don’t refuse the call of God!  Don’t turn away from the resurrected Jesus!

So what was Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost?  It was all about Easter – it was all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is risen, so Jesus is Lord.  God has declared Jesus to be the Lord and the Christ – He is God and King.

That news reverberates throughout history, having brought salvation to untold multitudes – as many as the Lord God has called.  He still calls people today.  Even in 2015, almost two thousand years after Jesus rose up from the grave, people still have the opportunity to respond to His resurrection by turning to Him and trusting Him by faith.

Many of us have done that.  Whether it was last week, or decades ago – we’ve trusted in our Lord Jesus, and we’ve received the forgiveness of sins.  We have the assurance that we will live with our Living Lord Jesus in eternity, and we will witness with our own eyes the moment that death and Satan are forever cast away into the lake of fire.  Today is a day of rejoicing!  Today is a day of remembrance!  Today is the day that we celebrate the very foundation of our faith.  It Jesus be not raised, we have absolutely nothing and no hope.  But because Jesus IS raised, Jesus is declared to be the Lord God of all creation, and all of our hope is certain and sure in Him.  Celebrate Him today, and follow the example of Peter, and the other men and women who first saw the Resurrected Jesus by telling everyone you know that Jesus is risen & Jesus is Lord!

For others, you have not yet responded to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, but you have the opportunity right now.  You know God is calling to you to place your faith in Him.  You know that to this point you’ve been warring against God, walking in ways that are in rebellion to Him.  Those were the reasons Jesus died.  His cross ought to have been your cross.  His death ought to have been your death.  But it wasn’t.  He stepped into your place, taking the wrath of God so that you wouldn’t have to.  Now He lives!  He rose in victory.  Your sins can be forgiven, and you can have the sure promise of eternal life.  But it doesn’t come without a response.  You have to turn and trust Christ.  Do it.  Don’t harden your heart – don’t try to make excuses – just respond to the loving call of God who wants you to be saved.


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