Stepping Forward

Today’s Reading: Acts 2:14-36; Psalm 110

After the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter stepped forward (Acts 2:14). We could stop right there, couldn’t we? What powerful words – Peter stepped forward. Peter, the one who left his nets and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:20), the one who walked on the water toward Jesus but lost courage and began to sink (14:29), and also the one who denied him three times and then walked away – this same Peter is now the first to step forward. He was no longer sinking in his faith or pulling out a sword to fight or opening his mouth and saying something foolish. Peter, when filled with the Spirit, was STEPPING FORWARD.

Peter began to preach the first of many sermons to the crowd. His sermons often included the same general message:

– That Jesus was the Messiah and His death fulfilled prophecy

– That the message of the apostles could be trusted because they were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry on earth and chosen by Him to continue the ministry

– That the message they were called to proclaim is of our need to confess our sins and have faith in God by believing in Jesus so that we, too, will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.” – Acts 2:22-24

God knew what would happen. There are no surprises for God; He knows all and is not bound by time as we are. For us, tomorrow is a mystery, but there are no unknowns – no mysteries for God. God knew the people would reject Jesus as God’s son and the promised Messiah. He knew they would cry out for His death and demand His crucifixion. But He already had a plan in place – a plan to resurrect Jesus from the dead. Peter pointed out that God revealed this plan to David long before Jesus was born.

“King David said this about him:
‘I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.

“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today…So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” – Acts 2:25-36

My prayer for all of us this morning is that we can STEP FORWARD into our day with confidence that God knows what is ahead for us. If He can conquer death, He can reign over any situation or challenge that comes our way. I pray that we, like King David, can see that the Lord is always with us. We will not be shaken for He is right beside us. May our hearts be glad, our tongues shout His praise, and our bodies rest in hope.

Precious Father, you have shown us the way of life – fill us today with joy in Your presence. May your Spirit BE LOUD in our life as we STEP FORWARD in faith. Amen.