Apr 30 – 3 Easter
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Peter Addresses the Crowd
The First Converts
Life among the Believers
Background: The Acts of the Apostles is the second portion of Luke’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry and details the formation and growth of Christianity. This account begins immediately following Jesus’ resurrection and ends with Paul’s demise in Rome. The beginning portion of this book delineates the growth of the Christian cult from Judaism.
Theme: This week’s passage is the second installment of Peter’s first sermon. He is speaking to a crowd following Pentecost – historically, the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples. In the first portion, Peter defends the Disciple’s actions as inspired and not a “drunken delirium.” In this Portion Luke uses Peter to lay out the basis for the remainder of this book.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Acts 2:14a, 36-41.
* Briefly describe the setting of this passage. What has happened leading up to this passage? Where does this passage take place?
* What is the Pentecost in Jewish tradition? Why would Pentecost be the setting for Peter’s first sermon to the new converts and to Christians?
* How might Peter’s charge against the Jews (killing Jesus outside the law) lead to repentance and restoration?
* Peter responds to the query from the non-disciples about what they should do with the word “repent”. This word was originally the Greek metanoia (μετάνοια) which has alternate meanings of: repent, rue, return, and change direction. What do you think Peter was telling the Jews they needed to do, at least initially, with regard to Jesus?
* Peter’s response is two-fold, repent and be baptized. What would the significance be of the double requirement, not just simply repentance but baptism too?
* One could infer that the message of repentance related by Peter is a universal message based on phrase in verse 39, “…the promise is for you…and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” Do you think this is Peter’s intent? What is the impact of the universal message of repentance based on belief not heritage?
* What are the people supposed to save themselves from in verse 40? What is the problem with “this corrupt generation”?
* Welcoming Peter’s message leads to baptism in this story. What is the significance of that two-step process at the time of this book? Is that process still required today or is there some other means by which people are welcomed into the family of God?
* What does this story say about the longing of the human heart?
* Much of this story focuses on the baptism of 3,000 converts. Do you think baptism is a call or a sealing of relationship between believers and God or might there be a promise associated with baptism? Why would a promise be important in baptism?
* What is our call to action based on this story? Why is this story important for us at St. John’s?
* What are some of the ways that this story can be played out for the growth and life of our faith and our Church?