It was Peter’s first sermon… Thousands were in attendance that day and the Acts 2 account lists at least 16 nations represented. Several sources speculate up to seventy language groups were present. How’d you like that as your first congregation?
But that day was special! The Holy Spirit had fallen upon the scene and become the Interpreter. Peter’s message was simple: he recounted the people’s history and showed how they had slain their Messiah! “Let all Israel be assured of this,” he said, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (v. 36).
Their response was singular: “they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’”(v. 37).
What shall we do indeed? What would you do having learned you had killed your Creator’s Begotten? We must all ask this, for indeed we all are guilty — “None is righteous, no, not one… all have sinned” (Rom. 3:10, 23).
How astonished they must have been to hear there was yet mercy! “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” announced Peter (v. 38a). Yes, even this could be forgiven! Had not the Crucified One Himself willed it: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).
But more! There was yet more! Not only would there be mercy, but also grace! Not only may they be forgiven but also gifted! Peter continued, “…And you will receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” (v. 38b). Not a gift from the Holy Spirit, but the Gift of The Holy Spirit — The Holy Spirit Himself is the Gift! That same Spirit will dwell within you, “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead” (Rom. 8:11).
Yet there still is more! This Gift is not only for those contemporary to Christ, this Gift is for all believers, through all times. He says, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (v. 39). This Comforter, this Advocate, this Encourager, Teacher, Guide, and Glorifier of the Son, this Spirit of Truth, Spirit of Christ, and Breath of God, as Jesus said, “…He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17).
What a magnificent Gift!
Take Him. Thank Him. Know Him. Surrender to Him. Rejoice in Him!