Great Reasons to Believe

‘“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37Now 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?” 38Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39”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.” 40And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41Then those who gladly received his word were baptised; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them’ (Acts 2:36-41)

What a response to the preaching of the gospel of Christ! Jesus had been crucified some seven weeks before, and undoubtedly the events of the final week before the cross were in the conversation of all those in Jerusalem. Some had thought He would deliver Israel from Roman rule and set up an earthly (military & political) kingdom. Some considered Him a blasphemer and a false prophet. But, seemingly, very few were neutral. Then, within a twelve hour period, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, deserted by the other apostles, arrested and tried by the Jewish council, then scourged and crucified by the Romans.

For the next seven weeks the apostles were silent, so far as public preaching goes. Then came the day of Pentecost, a feast day of the Jews that brought them to Jerusalem from many different parts of the world. The apostles had been told by Jesus to “wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts1:4), when they were to receive “power from on high” to speak the Word of God (Acts 1:8). Then: “And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place...And they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). That day’s events closed with the words with which we began this article. What had happened? Why did 3,000 people become Christians that day? Obviously, the events preceding this day had prepared the people, but the preaching of the apostles on this day gave them great reasons to believe that Jesus is “both Lord and Christ.” What were some of these reasons?

The Miracles Of Jesus Of Nazareth: -- Very near the beginning of his sermon to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, Peter said of Jesus: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22). What Jesus had done during His ministry among the Jews was not a secret! As Peter stated later, “This thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26). And this is the point which Peter made: “you yourselves also know.”

When the disciples of John came asking whether He was the Christ? Jesus replied, ‘Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5”The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matt. 11:4-5). Peter could have made reference to the healing of his mother-in-law, and the multitudes that were then brought to Him for miraculous healing (Mark 1:30-34). The apostles were with Him when He stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 8), when He raised the dead (Luke 7:11-15 8:49-56). Many in Jerusalem knew of His raising of Lazarus, who had been dead for four days (John 11:17-57). Peter could have asked, “Does anyone here know Lazarus? Were any of you there the day he was raised from the dead?”

Why did Jesus do such miracles, anyway? Part of the answer is found in John 3:2, when a ruler of the Jews came to Jesus and said, …we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”“ The Jews on Pentecost must have felt the force of that logic, for they could not deny the power which Jesus manifested. One time, they even watched to see if He would heal a man on the Sabbath day, so they could accuse Him of violating the law (Mark 3:1-5). But note this: they did not doubt He had the power to do that miracle!

John wrote later, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). That is the point made in Acts 2:22. If you admit the miracles, then you have to believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God. And that is one reason so many believed and were baptised that day.

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