The words you see below were spoken by the apostle Peter as the concluding statement of the first Christian sermon ever preached. By that, I mean that Peter was preaching in Jerusalem about ten days after Jesus had ascended into heaven. Up until this point, the apostles were gathering for prayer daily but were not yet preaching. Jesus had told them to wait until the Holy Spirit came so that they could have divine support in their preaching ministry.
Although some of the disciples had come to realize that Jesus was God’s long-promised Messiah, Jesus had never encouraged His disciples to preach this while He was living on earth. He simply taught and ministered as a man of God, a prophet – much like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others before Him. On this day, the cat was let out of the bag. That is, sustained by the Holy Spirit, Peter and the other apostles were declaring Jesus’ identity clearly, boldly and loudly.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.”
– Acts 2:36
Peter’s statement is quite remarkable. Imagine yourself standing before thousands of your fellow Jews, telling them that the man they had deemed worthy of crucifixion just a matter of weeks before was the Messiah God had been promising for centuries. Peter had guts.
More precisely, Peter had the courage of his convictions. And these convictions were the result of his repeated exposure to the resurrected Jesus over a forty day period. Moreover, Peter knew from these interactions with the once-dead-but-now-alive Jesus that Jesus had forgiven him for his three denials. Not many men could have uttered those words to that crowd – “…this Jesus whom you crucified” – but Peter had been prepared for the task. Plus, he had the Holy Spirit.
It is important to see that Peter was telling them more than just that Jesus was the Messiah – he was telling them that Jesus was Lord, too. The Jews had always expected the Messiah – David’s descendant – to be king of Israel, but none of them expected Messiah to rule from heaven! The resurrection gave an entirely new perspective on the mission of Messiah. It’s one thing to rule from an earthly throne; it’s another thing entirely to rule from the throne of heaven.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord and Christ, I yield to Your will this day…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)