“ ‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ ”(Acts 2:36-37).
What is the greatest mistake you have ever made? Would it be great if that mistake you made could be instantly repaired by someone else stepping in and correcting the fault you had created?
Following ascension of Jesus into heaven, the apostles had been gathered together in Jerusalem awaiting Promise of the Holy Spirit upon them (Acts 1:4-5, 8). The Promise came as the apostles were all filled with the Holy Spirit on day of the Jewish Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). The Jewish crowd which had come to Jerusalem for Pentecost was amazed as they heard the apostles begin speaking in other languages or tongues (Acts 2:5-12). They wondered, what did all of this mean?
Peter reminds them that what they see as the apostles speak to them in different languages is the fulfillment of a prophecy made by Joel (Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32). Moreover, Peter tells the crowd that the apostles ability to speak in tongues was made possible because Jesus, who has now ascended into heaven, had poured out these gifts of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles just as He had promised them He would do (Acts 2:33; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, 13).
As Peter is explaining this to the crowd, Peter reminds them of the incredible mistake they made. They had crucified God’s Son (Acts 2:22-23; Acts 2:36). Although they had put Jesus to death, God had raised His Son from the dead (Acts 2:24). The apostles had seen the resurrected Christ (Acts 2:32). Further proof of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which the crowd had seen (Acts 2:33). Peter concludes, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
How would you have felt if you were in the crowd that day? Many in Peter’s audience had been among the mob which when Pilate had asked “What shall I do with Jesus?” had said “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” (Mark 15:12-13; Luke 23:21). They must have felt sick to their stomach to now realize they had mistakenly murdered God’s Son. What an incredible mistake!
Realizing their error and cut to the heart as they recognized their incredible mistake, they ask Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Was there any hope for them after they had made such a costly mistake? Yes, there was! There was an opportunity for them to experience God’s amazing grace that could wipe out their mistake. Peter told them what they needed to do to enjoy God’s gift of grace to them: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). 3000 of them obeyed the gospel and rejoiced in God’s amazing grace (Acts 2:41)!
The story of the gospel never grows old. All of us have made incredible mistakes. We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). In effect, our sins caused Christ to have to die (1 Peter 1:18-19). However, God gives us the opportunity to have our sins forgiven as we obey the gospel of Christ (Mark 16:15-16). Today, I rejoice that although I have made terrible mistakes by my own sin, I can experience God’s amazing grace as I hear and obey the gospel of Christ!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).