In today’s passage, we read about the response to Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost. No one in the crowd seems to be denying Peter’s claim that they are responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. Instead, it hurts them deeply. They want to know what to do.
Peter tells them first to repent. The Greek word metanoia can be used to mean an expression of remorse, but it can also indicate gaining new understanding. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ require a new understanding of the Messiah. Repentance in this case may mean the willingness to see in a new way, a better way that is God’s way.
Peter tells the people gathered to be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” so their sins can be forgiven. Forgiveness can mean the pardon of sins, but perhaps here Peter means that the people can be released from their sins. To be freed from wrong thinking and wrongdoing is to become a new person, to participate in Christ’s resurrection. The cleansing waters of baptism are not only the washing away of corruption but also are symbolic of dying with Christ to be raised with Christ to a new life.
While we might be baptized only once, we may return over and over again to the cleansing power of the waters of our baptism. Repentance and baptism mark us as Christians, as people who are forgiven and free, who seek to live into our resurrection in Jesus Christ, and who are free to be in authentic relationships with God and with one another by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Lord God, make me sensitive to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When I see where I am wrong, help me respond like these first believers, asking, “What should I do?” Help me trust that in you there is always a better way. Help me lean into the power of repentance and the waters of my baptism so that I can see the evidence of resurrection in my own life. Amen.
As we consider further the power of Jesus’ resurrection, how should we respond? This is the question posed to Peter in the reading in Acts. Peter’s first instruction is to repent, to change course in our thinking and our living to align more with God’s way. The psalmist proclaims his gratitude to God because God has heard his cry, but the process began with the psalmist turning to the Lord. First Peter states that because we have turned and have faith and hope in God, we ought to love one another deeply from the heart. Luke tells the story of two men who meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They recognize him only as he breaks the bread, symbolizing that Christian fellowship is also part of a changed life.
Read Acts 2:14a, 36-41. How might you allow Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection to disrupt your life or your faith? How would such a disruption change you?
Read Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19. When have you learned of God’s great joy for you? How do the Psalms remind you that you are beloved?
Read 1 Peter 1:17-23. How can you take the author’s advice to “act like someone who knows [you are] loved”?
Read Luke 24:13-35. Recall times throughout your life when Jesus has been revealed to you. Which of these encounters have been logical? Which have been supernatural?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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