The following comments are designed to help you better understand the passage and stimulate your thinking on the implications of the scripture.
The following comments are designed to help you better understand the passage and stimulate your thinking on the implications of the scripture passage.
In Peter’s first sermon, he keys in on the good news of Jesus. What does he include in his gospel message? John Stott summarizes:
Here, then, is a fourfold message — two events (Christ’s death and resurrection), as attested by two witnesses (prophets and apostles), on the basis of which God makes two promises (forgiveness and the Spirit), on two conditions (repentance and faith, with baptism). We have no liberty to amputate this apostolic gospel, by proclaiming the cross without the resurrection, or referring to the New Testament but not the Old, or offering forgiveness without the Spirit, or demanding faith without repentance. There is a wholeness about the biblical gospel. (Stott, The Message of Acts, 81)
In particular, it is striking how much attention Peter gives to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He spends one verse talking about the death of Jesus, and the rest of his sermon is focused on the resurrection and ascension. This is not to minimize the work that Christ did on the cross. Rather, Luke wants to highlight the importance of the resurrection in God’s purposes.
In Acts the resurrection is the climax of God’s saving purposes, and it is on the basis of the resurrection that the blessings of salvation may be offered. (Thompson, The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus, 79)
In the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, he is now “exalted at the right hand of God” as “both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” It is a terrifying thing when someone you murder comes back from the dead. It is even more terrifying when this man is now exalted as Lord and Christ and King of all. No wonder they were cut to the heart and asked “what shall we do?” But rather than pouring out judgment on them, Jesus offers to give them “forgiveness of sins” and “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” if they repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Baptism, or being immersed in water, is the first step a believer takes after coming to faith in Jesus. It is the way we profess our faith, demonstrating our union with Christ. It is a visible picture of what he has done for us, washing us clean of all our sin. Today when someone meets Jesus, they may not even hear about baptism for months to come. They may delay (or be delayed) until they understand it better or become a mature Christian. But in Acts 2, on that very day, over 3000 people were baptized. Coming to faith in Jesus and being baptized were inseparable. It was the very first act of the new believer.
…the idea of an unbaptized Christian is simply not entertained in the New Testament. (Bruce, The Book of Acts, 77)
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