Having gained the attention of a large crowd through supernatural means, as the Spirit of God was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, God now enables Peter to introduce, or reintroduce Jesus to the gathered crowd.
Knowing what your audience knows and does not know is important when it comes to preparation of sermons. The truth it, we are very limited in our knowledge, whereas God is all-knowing. Peter assumes nothing as he summarizes the life, death and resurrection of Jesus with three profound statements. Today we’ll reflect on the first statement.
“Fellow Israelites, listen to this:…” Peter is talking as a Jew to Jews. Like Paul, in his strategy of evangelism, portrayed to the Corinthian church, Peter became a Jew to win the Jews. It wasn’t much of a cultural challenge. He was Jewish. He had grown up in Judaism. The ‘new perspective’ he brought to his peers was a divinely granted understanding of who Jesus was. While others were still looking for the Messiah, as Jews long for him today, Peter claims to have found him in the person of Jesus–Jesus of Nazareth.
“Jesus of Nazareth was a man…” Though much more than a man, Jesus was fully human, apart from any evidence of sin, so prevalent in every branch of the human family tree.
“accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”
How did Jesus conduct His ministry? By the power of the Holy Spirit. He was God in human form, with His deity cloaked in humanity. God the Father repeatedly authenticated who Jesus was as He sent Him to His own people with the message of salvation. “He came unto His own…” John reminds us in the first chapter of his profound gospel.
God publicly accredited Jesus as He launched into His ministry at the age of 30, by the river Jordan where John the Baptizer was preaching. “This is my beloved Son…” the Father declared. And then the miracles, the wonders, the signs–all of the evidence–authenticating or verifying the Person and Work of the Messiah. God was at work in and through Jesus. Though He was and is God, Jesus manifested a submission to His Father’s will. The Spirit credentialed Him to seeking hearts.
What is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Read about it in Mark’s gospel. (Mark 3:20-30) The Spirit of God was empowering Jesus to do miracles, yet those who were watching at that time attributed this Divine work to that of Beelzebub. As Jesus was being introduced, there was a strong rejection of Him.
So what is Peter doing and he begins his sermon? Reintroducing Jesus. The Jesus they thought they knew (as a Rabbi, a teacher, a man from Nazareth) was much more than they knew. He was and is Lord, the Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Let’s praise God for who Jesus is. Thank God that you know Jesus, if indeed you do. And let’s pray for those who do not know Him yet. Perhaps today we’ll have an opportunity to introduce or reintroduce others to Jesus.