Sunday’s sermon begins earlier in Acts Chapter 2 when, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell on those who were assembled. We know it as a day of celebration and power – the Holy Spirit falls and the church experiences dramatic growth. However, If we look at verse 13, we see that there were those in the crowd who mocked the movement of God among the people. This is not an uncommon occurrence in the life of a believer; there are those who will mock the power and presence of God. How will we respond? (and . . . on some days, we are the mockers . . .)
Peter’s bold response is to move forward. He shares the word of God and his personal testimony about God. But, he does not stop here. He also tells the people the truth about themselves. He does not shrink away from holding the people accountable for their behavior. This is so important because it is the power of the word of God, through the mouth of the child of God, that takes the narrative “from mockery to ministry.”
In verses 14-36, Peter tells them prophetic words about God and also testifies about his personal witness of God in his life. He further and finally convicts them with the declaration that the Jesus that they mocked is both Lord and Messiah. How will they respond?
Verse 37 is the key verse (for purposes of the sermon). It says “when they heard this they were pricked or cut in their hearts.” What did they hear that caused them to be convicted in their hearts and their thoughts? They heard three things. They heard:
- The word of God,
- Peter’s personal testimony of God, and
- The truth about themselves and their response to God.
How will they respond and, perhaps more importantly, how do we respond when we are confronted with the word of God, the testimony of God, and the truth about ourselves? They could have been defiant or defensive. They could have been dismissive or continued in their mocking. But instead, they recognized that these men that they now called brothers were seeking to help them to grow and to live in Christ. They asked the question that we all must ask ourselves when confronted with an ugly truth about ourselves… “God . . . what shall I do?”
In asking this question, they received a liberating word which was to repent and be baptized. Because they opened their hearts to the truth and because Peter was willing to confront them, the explosive growth of the church began. A small body that began as 120 added 3,000 to the number that day.
In this moment and on this day they went “from mockery to ministry.” How can we do the same today?