Right after the Holy Spirit filled the apostles, and enabled them to speak in languages of the world, we find Peter starts speaking to the assembled crowds in Jerusalem. We’re going to read part of his speech or sermon. Remember where he is – he is in Jerusalem – the center of his Jewish nation and religion. He says some dangerous things! Let’s listen in:
This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
(Acts 2:32-41 ESV)
He starts by pointing out that Jesus, who died on the cross, was no longer dead. Raised up, and there were witnesses. Peter and his fellow apostles, and everyone around them was, by implication of being in Jerusalem in those days, probably aware that Jesus was crucified and people claimed he was alive. Missing body was probably newsworthy, up for debate.
Peter tries to make an important point by referencing their beloved former king, David. While he was alive, David wrote about someone – the Lord – sitting at God’s right hand and having seen their enemies overcome.
Was David talking about himself? He was certainly a great king. But he’s dead, he wasn’t raised or ascended to heaven, like Jesus, who fits this description quite nicely. Connecting Jesus and David means Peter says Jesus is a king, or the king they have been waiting for. He names him Christ – the anointed one. Jewish Kings were anointed, but there was always talk in the Bible of a special king, the king, the anointed one, who they called the Messiah. David was merely a prototype, not the real deal. Jesus is.
Then he thrusts his argument home. You crucified your Messiah, your king. This was a Jewish audience, but they weren’t the only ones complicit. The Romans were involved as well, once Jesus was handed over for trial. They are all implicated together, all of humanity is responsible. But Peter is talking to his fellow Jews, so he says you crucified your own King, knowing he is indicting his own people. He essentially says, we should have known better, even when the Romans didn’t.
And the Bible says they were cut to the heart.
Question: What does it mean to be”cut to the heart”? Why were Peter’s audience cut to the heart? Have you ever had the experience of suddenly realizing how wrong you were about something important?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]