Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.
-- Acts 2:36
Simon Peter's sermon at Pentecost is spectacularly perfect. It is God-ordained, Christ-centered, and Spirit-filled. It serves as a model sermon for all preachers and a model witness for all Christians. It provides answers that are biblical, explanations that are factual, and inspiration that is palpable.
What's going on?
That's a question raised by the late, great Marvin Gaye in his 1971 hit. The song addresses the sin of racism, which separates one race from another. But any sin in itself is a plague that separates all races from God.
It is this chasm between God and man that was addressed to all races in Peter's pentecostal sermon. People did want to know, what's going on? What is this "mighty rushing wind." What is with these Jesus followers and why are they speaking in so many other languages foreign to our ears? The speculation on the scene is that they were a bunch of drunks.
Biblically, he pointed them to the prophecy of Joel and the prophetic words of King David. The Messianic age had dawned. People are encouraged to "call upon the name of the Lord" before the Lord draws the curtain down on time as we know it.
Factually, he gave testimony that he and his colleagues were not intoxicated, but filled with the Holy Spirit. They had walked and talked with the Son of God. Now, the Spirit of God enabled them to walk to people of all languages and talk to them about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Inspirationally, Simon Peter exhorted his fellow Christians to continue courageously, as we should to this day in speaking the gospel. Simon told the crowd to listen intently, and all people today should listen to the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ to find out what is going on between God and man.
Who is Jesus?
Peter preached biblically about Jesus. He is the promised Messiah, descendant of David, Lord of all creation, Savior of the world. He carried out the plans and purposes of God, while being God, to bring God and the gospel to the whole wide world.
Peter preached factually about Jesus. He could; he was an eyewitness. He had lived with the Lord and watched Jesus die. He was a witness to the resurrection, slower of wit than the women, slower of foot than John, but a witness nonetheless, of how "God raised Him up."
Peter preached inspirationally about Jesus. This sermon, any sermon about Jesus, certainly inspires me, and I pray you, as well. Jesus is Lord and Christ, Jesus died and rose again, Jesus saves and secures, and Jesus did all of this for me, and you.
Why does it matter?
It matters because you crucified Him. "God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." We all crucified the Lord, because the Lord was crucified for sinners.
Biblically speaking, we are all sinners. "There is no one who does not sin" (ref. 1 Kings 8:46). "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (ref. Romans 3:23). Sin separates us from God (ref. Isaiah 59:2). Sin kills us with spiritual death (ref. Ephesians 2:1ff). Jesus is the life we need (ref. John 14:6).
Factually, we are all sinners. Train your eye upon me and look into my heart and you will see a multitude of sins. I would see the same in you. People, then and now, are essentially egocentric. We naturally care about ourselves more than others, more than God, and a supernatural correction is required, the miracle of the new birth (ref. John 3:3ff).
Inspirationally, it should shake us that we sin, and deep conviction should be planted in our hearts when we realize it is "Jesus whom (we) crucified." The authority of the Bible should weigh heavily upon us. The fact of our sinfulness should create deep sorrow. The inspiration of the gospel should flood our souls with the hope of forgiveness. And Simon Peter's perfect sermon stirs the pot.
Simon Peter's sermon matters today. The sometimes tone-deaf disciple was in perfect pitch here. He surfaced the right questions. He gave the right answers. By hearing and heading him we can be right with God, which matters more than anything else in this life, and the life to come.
Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church, 5963 Central Ave. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected]