Reading: Acts 2: 14a and 22-32
Verse 24 – God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep it’s hold on Him.
Yesterday was Easter. Chronologically speaking, the next day Jesus appears to the disciples inside a locked room. This must have removed any doubt that a few may have been holding onto. They had all heard Mary’s testimony but had not seen Jesus for themselves. A week later Jesus again appears to reassure Thomas, who had been absent a week prior. Today’s passage occurs several weeks later. Over the forty days since His resurrection, Jesus has appeared multiple times, teaching and performing miracles. Just before ascending into heaven, Jesus gave the promise to send the Holy Spirit. Right before today’s text, this has been fulfilled. The Spirit descended on the believers and the have spoken in tongues, sharing the Word with all of the Jews gathered to celebrate Pentecost. It is at this point that Peter stands to address the crowd. They are amazing at the work God has done right before their eyes.
Peter addresses the crowd that day with a message that connects the words of Joel and David to what they have just experienced. From the prophet Joel, Peter recalls Joel’s vision of God pouring out the Spirit on all people. He also quotes Joel and reminds the people there that all who “call on the name of the Lord will be saved”. In today’s text Peter speaks of Jesus’ death and resurrection and backs it up by quoting David from Psalm 16. In this Psalm, David writes of the Lord being ever before him and of the Holy One not seeing decay. Peter is connecting two Old Testament texts into what has just occurred, to help those present to make sense of what they have just heard and experienced. He is connecting what the Jews there know to what they have just witnessed.
Yesterday was Easter. Many felt and experienced the power of Jesus Christ in and all around them. Worship was moving and impactful. It was like Pentecost for the crowd in our passage today. Verse 24 reads, “God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep it’s hold on Him”. This we know to be true. Many experienced it yesterday. Some are like those there on Pentecost – needing a bit more explanation to help them believe. How will we live as Easter people today, helping those who felt and experienced to come to know and believe?