With our youth heading off into summer and preparing for the next chapter in their lives it is a good time to look at the new beginning and next chapter that God provided for the Church when He fulfilled the promise that Jesus gave us of the Holy Spirit to help us in our lives.
Luke records in Acts 2 the birth of the Church in this new age through the power and provision of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ resurrection and the presence of the Holy Spirit fulfills God’s promise in the plan of salvation for the world.
The cornerstone of our faith sits in the resurrection and our confession of that Faith that Jesus died as a sacrifice for our sins and was raised on the 3rd day to fulfill the promise of God for our eternal life with Him. Sometimes we get really involved in the details of these activities to try and satisfy our logical and physical needs of understanding the Gospel – The life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
This physical connection is what Peter tries to connect in Acts 2,3 & 4. The physical connection was initially vital for the early believers. They had followed the process according to the law as given to them by Moses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The physical process of a priest to intercede on their behalf for forgiveness, which was required because no one could keep the law, was what they knew and understood as forgiveness.
Peter who had struggled with the physical and spiritual during his time with Jesus now understood it and yet he would struggle again trying to get it across to Israel. In Acts 2 as he recounts the history of Israel and God’s plan of salvation fulfilled in Jesus Christ and points the results of the resurrection right at the nation of Israel.
36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”Acts 2:36 (NLT)
This was a radical step forward in the belief system of God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel. If we separate the whole discussion of the Messiah and His role in both politics and government to simply look at the actual real-world day to day Truth that it brought to the Church, it may help us in our daily lives.
In the fulfillment of any life altering event there is a usually a state of conception where long before anything was done a vision was spoken or thought. I.E., long before there is a wedding to be celebrated with family and friends there is a simple, often quiet declaration of faith and purpose between two people. The same is true for the Church – before the Death, Resurrection and Arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost there was a simple discussion and a declaration of faith set forward.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” 15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer itMatthew 16:13-20 (NLT)
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
The confession of Faith that Peter made that day is the confession that Jesus built His Church on, and it will be the foundation of this Church age until Jesus returns again. . There is nothing here about a particular city, area, building, government entity or any other physical identifying marker for Church. Only a confession of Faith in who Jesus Christ is and may that reality be what we declare and use as our guide in all new paths that we take forward in life.
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