What are we to do? (Acts 2:37)
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”(Acts 2:36-42)
Peter’s words shook his listeners deep. Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, was Israel’s long awaited Messiah – and they had crucified Him! What have we done? What’s going to happen to us now?
That was Peter’s opening. Once he explained who Jesus was, he began to talk about the good news God had promised centuries earlier through the prophet Joel: “Everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord” (Joel 3:5; Acts 2:21). Even us? Even the ones who were part of the problem? “Yes,” Peter seemed to reply. “Even you” ….
Peter’s words ring out just as clearly to us today. Yes, even you! Everyone who turns to Jesus will receive mercy. That’s how gracious and generous He is. No one is excluded. “The promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off” (Acts 2:39).
This is truly great news. We all need mercy. Even if it’s hidden deep in our consciences, we all sense that we have sinned. We all have a sense that we stand guilty before God and are unable to remove that guilt on our own. And so we all wonder, in one way or another, What am I to do?
Peter answered this question quickly and confidently: Repent! It’s that easy. Just turn to Jesus, and confess your sins and your desire to turn from your sinful nature to Him. Tell Him you need His forgiveness. He is loving and merciful, and He will forgive you!
When the people accepted Peter’s words, something else happened to them. They weren’t just pardoned for their sins, they were also filled with the Holy Ghost. Through the baptism, they received God’s power to help them live in a new way. The very same thing can happen to you. It a not only a free gift, it is a promise of our Father to those who would seek to have this unfathomable power …
Every time we confess our sins, we can receive a fresh outpouring of His Spirit when His very presence fills the atmosphere around us ….
No one is outside the bounds of Jesus’ mercy. Even now, two thousand years after His resurrection, He is ready to pardon you and fill you with His grace. His mercy still flows today and He is calling …
So, the next time you wonder, what am I to do? Remember that the promise of mercy is for you. Confess your sins and be set free. Don’t ever underestimate the power of the Holy Ghost to bring you new life!
Jesus, thank You for Your promise. Come, Lord, and restore me, make me new Lord. Open the eyes of my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen