The Advent part 56
Peter’s discourse was not meant for atheists, it was not meant for those who were indifferent toward the things of God, but rather it was targeted and specifically so toward the religious and the devout men who had gathered to see what all the commotion was about. Even so, without attempting to sidestep the issue, without attempting to minimize it, the first words that Peter spoke concerned Jesus, and the fact that He had been attested by God. Even though these devout and religious men had heard of Jesus, and knew of Him, they had not received Him as a messenger from God, they disapproved of His ministry, and they rejected Him because He had not fit into the mold of their religiosity and nationalism.
As a man, Jesus had to be attested by God by miracles, wonders, and signs, so that those who heard Him would believe, and that His message would have the power to pierce the hardened hearts of the people of His time.
Every man whom God calls to ministry, every man whom God sends out to be His messenger must be attested by Him. It is not men who attest, confirm or verify our calling but rather it is God who does it.
When God confirms you, when God attests you, even though men might not, be at peace and walk the narrow path of faith; be at peace and be about the Father’s business; be at peace and faithfully carry out the duties and tasks that God has commanded you to perform.
We are so dependent on the approval of men, and at the same time so impressed by men’s accolades, diplomas and credentials, that when someone comes with enough qualifications and certificates we deem it unimportant to inquire as to whether or not God has likewise approved and attested the individual.
‘Well, he’s got a doctorate in theology from a prestigious seminary, surely he knows what he’s talking about; surely his reinterpretation of a certain text must be valid.’
The Pharisees and Sadducees had diplomas too, they had certificates, they had credentials and qualifications, and they crucified the Son of God for fear of losing their tenuous power over the people. I’m just saying, a diploma or a degree isn’t the end all and be all in ministry, and it is downright useless if God has not called you, equipped you, and attested you.
So am I saying education is a bad thing? Absolutely not! What I am saying is that educated as we might be, as servants of God we must still be dependent upon Him for divine inspiration, we must still be dependent upon Him for guidance, and we must still wait on Him to call us before we go into ministry.
Peter didn’t pass out his curriculum vitae before standing and speaking to the assembled crowd, he didn’t show them his framed diploma before he began telling them about Jesus of Nazareth, imbued with power of the Holy Spirit, Peter stood, and spoke.
With a boldness that could only have come via the Holy Spirit Peter begins to show the Jews their own guilt in that they had crucified the Christ. He pulled no punches in his discourse, nor did he make an attempt to ease the blow, he spoke the truth to them reminding them that they had taken by lawless hands, had crucified, and put to death the Son of God.
Although they had been complicit in the murder of Jesus, Peter also informs them that what had occurred had been by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God.
In order for man to be reconciled unto God, the ultimate price had to be paid, and that price was the life of Christ Jesus His Son. There was no other way, there was no other means by which we could be saved, than through Christ’s sacrifice, because if there had been another way, surely God would have found it, surely He would have implemented it, because He loved His Son.
Although what had occurred had been by the determine counsel and foreknowledge of God, the sins that the Jews committed in regards to Christ, still remained sins, because no one forced them to do the things that they had done. They had chosen their actions; their actions had not been forced upon them.
At the cross Jesus carried not His own weaknesses, but our own. He hung and died on that cross on Calvary not for His sins, for He had none, but for our sins. He paid the ultimate price, made the ultimate sacrifice, and gave of Himself all there was to give, so that I could know Him as Lord, and as King and as Savior, that I could be with Him for all eternity, and worship at His feet. This is what Jesus did, and it was by no means a small or insignificant thing.
Every time you feel pride beginning to worm its way in your heart, every time you start believing yourself the apple of God’s eye, or that you are entitled to being blessed coming in and going out, that you’re supposed to have everything you ever wanted on this earth and never have a care in the world, or that your own self-righteousness will save you, in your mind’s eye, go back to Calvary. See Him as He was, not as He is, see Him suffering and bleeding and dying, see Him being mocked and spat upon, see the nails being driven into His hands and His feet, see Him breathe His last and commend His spirit into the hands of the Father, see all this, then have the temerity to still feel proud, and self-righteous and entitled.
Isaiah 53:5-7, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not his mouth.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.