Peter stood with the disciples on the Day of Pentecost and with a voice powered by the Holy Spirit he spoke and convicted the people of Jerusalem over the death of Jesus. He showed them in no uncertain terms from the scriptures that they all were familiar with, that they had put to death the Christ that they had been waiting for.
The prophets had all spoken of the Christ who was to come, and Peter showed the people that they had put Him to death. They had killed and murdered the author of life, the One who promised life and who they were waiting for to be The Lord and Saviour as promised by the prophets and who give them freedom.
They were absolutely horrified at Peter’s words. But in his words Peter also showed that this had to take place. He also told them that Jesus would be resurrected for death could not hold Him. So while he terrified them with words of condemnation for the murder that was carried out, he offered hope for this was meant to be and it was in the death of Jesus that we all receive hope for life both now and in the future.
Consider the people to whom Peter was speaking. These were the same people who only fifty days earlier had agreed to the condemnation and death of The Lord. Many of them may have been part of the unruly mob that stood before Pilate yelling out to have Jesus put to death.
And yet for the three previous years Jesus had walked among them, teaching and healing the people. Why did they then reject Him and turn against Him? They were deceived. They were led to believe what was false. They succumbed to a herd mentality and were incited by their leaders to believe and do what was wrong.
They did not have the faith to believe at that time. But when Peter stood and convicted them of their wrongdoing, when he showed from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ promised by the scriptures, they were terrified.
The people had just witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with wind, flames and speaking in tongues. So they knew this amazing occurrence was from God. Thus they also knew the words Peter spoke were from God and so they stood condemned. Fearful, terrified and worried about their future.
More Than One Chance
But of course it had to happen. The purpose that Jesus came was to teach the gospel and then to die so that we could live. It was ordained that Jesus would die to reconcile mankind to God and to pay the price for the sin of mankind for all who would have faith.
The people standing around Peter and the disciples did not know this at that time, but Jesus did not hold their actions against them. We see that Peter preached telling them that they could escape the condemnation that should be due to them. They were given more than one chance to repent and come to Jesus and be saved.
And the same is true today. Jesus does not give just one chance for people to come to Him. Jesus seeks people and will give them every chance to turn to Him to be forgiven and receive the gift of salvation. As it says in Romans 10:21, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
Jesus seeks His people to come to Him. He wants them to turn away from disobedience and sin and gives us every opportunity to come to Him. And if we give Him just the slightest inkling that we are coming to Him, He runs to us. Look at the example of the prodigal son in Luke 15:18-20.
18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘
20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
Note that as soon as the son turned to come to his father, and while he was still a long way off, the father saw him and ran to him. Note also that the father was looking for him, waiting for him and seeking his return.
Well, that father is God The Father and we are the prodigal sons and daughters who He is seeking, looking for and ready to run to when we show the slightest inkling of turning to return to Him.
It doesn’t matter what we have done in the past. It doesn’t matter if we have been involved in all manner of sin, evil and wickedness. It is the desire of God to offer us salvation if we turn from sin and come to Jesus and His gift of grace is given so that we can have life.
Peter’s oration convicting the residents of Jerusalem may have shocked them, but like the prodigal son who had been living in squalor, it shocked them into coming to their senses. They understood what had happened and Peter was showing them a way out. The blessings of God in Jesus Christ offered them life and the offer is still valid today to all who will turn to Him.
And as was said by so many, we need to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We are not told to repent or else you will be damned to fire and brimstone. No, we are told to repent and be given something so good it is beyond the mind of man to comprehend. The kingdom of heaven is offered to us for repenting and coming to The Lord. And this was what Peter offered the Jews, the offer of good things even though they had done evil. And this is the promise of The Lord to all who turn to Him and call on the name of Jesus.
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