If you were getting ready to preach a sermon that would launch a religion, what would you say? Well, to begin with, I think wisdom would dictate including some practical and helpful teachings that everyone could apply to their lives – Oprah-like helpful would be the target. Along the way, you would want to tell how God spoke to you personally, for sure, to give some authenticity to the whole thing, the voice of God and all that.
But when Peter sets to the public square to announce the new religion which would be called for a time, the Way, he really only says one thing: Jesus, the guy you killed, is alive.
Now, you wouldn’t think that message would have much potency. There’s nothing in it about having a better marriage. Nothing in it about overcoming your nasty tendency to ____________. You don’t hear anything about a special message from God to Peter alone, or anyone else.
Nope, just resurrection…that’s it:
“This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:32 ESV
And yet, that’s enough, isn’t it? In fact, it’s more than we could ever hope for. Far, far more.
Forget about special messages to individuals – if Jesus is alive, then there is a special message for all of us. It’s the Bible which He repeatedly cited and considered the Word of God. For if Jesus is alive, then this book is absolutely true. Think of that, and give glory to God.
If Jesus is alive, then the husband and wife in the struggling marriage can turn to Him in prayer to tap into His limitless wisdom and power and compassion.
If Jesus is alive, then there is hope for you and me to overcome any sin we long to overcome, because He has overcome the grave.
And best of all, if Jesus is alive, then my formerly hope-less life becomes hope-filled. For He has promised that all who follow Him will also live forevermore.
Come to think of it, I guess Peter makes a pretty good start in proclaiming Christianity. It’s so good, the Apostles will preach it all through the book of Acts; the resurrection will in fact become their main message from here on out.
In fact, this first sermon is so good, so unexpected, that you might think that the resurrection actually happened. You might in fact think…that this new faith called the Way was not man’s idea after all.
Tomorrow, Thursday, February 12: Acts 3