What shall we do?
Acts 2 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old
men shall dream dreams; 18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy. 19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below,
Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. 20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. 21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 For David says of Him,
‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. 26 ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope; 27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’
29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,
35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
John 3:16 Jesus says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” In today’s text, the prophecy of Joel, quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost, says: And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ What becomes important and necessary for us then, is to understand what it means to believe in Christ and what it means to call on His name. In today’s text, Peter says: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power… This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear… Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified. To believe in Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, is to believe much more than that He was born as a baby, lived as a man and died on a cross. To believe in Jesus is to believe that He is the Lord and the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Savior and Redeemer. Peter says: this Jesus whom you crucified. Even though we were not there, we need to acknowledge that we too had a part in the crucifixion of Christ, it was for our sins, the sins of each and every person that He died. God so loves the world… that love though was not demonstrated by embracing who we were as sinners. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God so loved the world, but He doesn’t wrap His arms around our sin. Jesus stretched them out on the cross.
What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord to be saved? First it means that we must recognize that we need to be saved. If we do not acknowledge that we sinned, we cannot call on Jesus to save us from sin. 1 John 1:19 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In today’s text it says: Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. We need to believe, not only to the knowledge of Christ, but also the knowledge of what He did for us. That knowledge though needs to cause us to change, to repent. God doesn’t embrace our sin. Jesus died for it. We need to change the way we think and the way we act. We need to believe, and believe that we receive. We receive redemption from sin and as Peter says we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, who Jesus says: “Will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment… when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:8;13)
To believe and to call on the name of the Lord is to be saved from sin, to repent, to change, to receive the truth and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is a change which takes place in the heart and the life of those who believe and repent. The text says: Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe. There is a sense of awe which comes to the believer. In today’s text it says: Many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. The greatest sense of awe though comes not from seeing miracles and signs. The greatest sense of awe comes in believing that Jesus, the Son of God; God Himself, died for our sin so that He could live with us and in us through the Holy Spirit.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit; I believe. Yet believing I am filled with a sense of awe, that You, my Lord, died for me. You died for me that I might live, changed, with You and for You, guided by You. Amen.