Summary: An evangelistic sermon based on Peter’s Sermon on the day of Pentecost
If you get your ten year pin and your boss gives you a resume writing kit, you know somebody’s trying to tell you something.
If the love of your life gives you a ticket to Paris for your birthday, and it’s one way, you know somebody’s trying to tell you something.
If you ask your mechanic how much you owe him for repairs and he hands you a brochure on home equity loans, you know somebody’s trying to tell you something.
If the somebody who’s trying to tell you something is somebody important to you, then you know you’d better listen. You know you’d better figure out the message and act on it, or risk the consequences.
In our passage today, somebody was trying to tell the Jews in Jerusalem something. Something really important.
And that same somebody is trying to tell us that same something, too.
Many of us are familiar with the first part of the chapter. We love to read about the rushing wind, the fire, the speaking in tongues. But these amazing events were intended to make a point. In verse 12, the people want to know "what does this mean?" So Peter says, I’ll tell you what it means. It means somebody is trying to tell you something." And that something was so powerful that 3,000 people came to faith and were baptized after they heard the what it was. Why did this sermon have such a tremendous impact? Let’s keep looking, and try to figure out why.
Pentecost was a special holiday for the Jews. It was a religious harvest festival, something like Thanksgiving without the football games. Thousands of Jewish pilgrims crowded into Jerusalem.
We find 120 of Jesus’ disciples together on the feast of Pentecost in a house near the Temple. Suddenly, without warning, there is a loud sound like rushing wind, something that looked like fire breaking into tongues over people’s heads; And this bunch of Galileans spilled outside into the Temple courts and started praising God in languages they’d never spoken before. Immediately, they are surrounded by a crowd of pilgrims who are trying to figure out what is going on..
The crowds are stunned. But they don’t just want to know what is happening. They want to know why it’s happening. They want to know "What does this mean?"
Peter says, "What you see is God pouring out His Spirit, just as he promised in the Old Testament prophet Joel." The miraculous gifts were signs that these believers were filled with the Holy Spirit. But this prophecy was loaded. It didn’t just refer to Pentecost, but to the day when time would end and God would judge the whole earth.
For the Jews, this was great news! After all, they were God’s people, his favorites! When he returned, he would conquer the Romans, who ruled over them and whom they despised. All their enemies would get theirs, and they would sit at God’s feasting table forever. They assumed the "great and glorious day of the Lord" would be a great and glorious day for them, too!
The outpouring of the Spirit meant they had entered into "the last days," the time period immediately preceding that final judgment. It was the beginning of the end. The first page in the last chapter of human history.
Notice that in this prophecy from the book of Joel the first few verses sound very much like what was happening that day, and the last few refer to that day of judgment. Peter was implying that God would be coming any minute for this "great and glorious day" of judgment.
Jesus the Messiah
This was great news to these Jewish pilgrims. They were thrilled. But, the "last days were supposed to be ushered in by the Messiah. They wondered, "if the ’last days’ have come, where is the Messiah?"
Peter tells them the Messiah had come.
"Do you remember Jesus?" Peter asks. "Do you remember all the miracles that he did? They were signs. Signs to prove that God sent him. To prove he was the Messiah. He was God’s own Son."
Many of them were in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. Many more, perhaps had heard the story. But there may have been others who had not heard it. For them, this was heart-stopping news: "The Messiah has come?! Well, where is he now?"
So Peter told them the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. But, he points out, this, too, was a part of God’s sovereign plan. Because the story of Jesus did not stop with his death. For not even death had the power to hold captive the Son of God.
And Jesus has not only been raised from the dead, Peter says, but now he is ruling with God in heaven; He is God’s "right hand man."