This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:23-24
Even as the Church celebrates the coming of the promised Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the focus still remains on Jesus. In his Pentecost sermon, Peter spoke of Joel’s prophecy regarding the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, but then shifts the clear focus to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. He shows how King David pointed to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The content of Peter’s sermon illustrates for Christians of every age that Christian preaching is always preaching Christ and Him crucified and risen again!
The religious landscape is full of preaching that focuses either on the Holy Spirit’s at the expense of Jesus or on Jesus as a new giver of the Law. American Christianity has been fashioned into a religious morass, wherein the Christian faith becomes something that everyone does rather than a gift from the Holy Spirit and the trust in what Christ has done. Even the preaching of the Law that does exist has become little more than the call to be nice, rather than an actual calling of sinners to repentance. Like during the age of the Judges, we live in a time when everyone does what is right in their own eyes.
Peter’s sermon both cut to the heart and proclaimed the one source of hope – the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ. Take time to read the portion of the sermon that Luke records (2:14-40). Before commenting on how short the sermon was, note that “with many other words” Peter exhorted them. Our prayer in these days after Pentecost is that the Holy Spirit will add to our number and that preaching in our congregations will continue to cut to the heart by revealing our sin and fill us with confidence and hope in the assurance that Jesus Christ was indeed crucified for us and that God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him to His right hand in glory. May God the Holy Spirit work through preaching to kill and make alive again in Christ!
Prayer – Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite the disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel, spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan