July 25, 2013

Acts 2:37 - A Very Important Question

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Acts 2:37

It has long been a concern of mine that the art of asking good questions is dying. There are plenty of questions around, but few good ones. Many questions today seem to be excuses to let everyone else know how clever the questioner is. These are generally pointless from an information gathering perspective. When a real question comes along, it's positively refreshing to hear. I call them real questions because they are asked so the the questioner can learn something. I love real questions and I love answering them.

In Acts 2:37 we not only find a real question, but an important one. It is an important question because of what they learned that caused them to ask it. It was a real question because they needed to know the answer to it. Consider the activities that morning. Peter explained the outpouring of the Holy Ghost that the crowd had witnessed. He pointed out that this was all prophesied by the Lord and is proceeding according to his plans. And that he had come to dwell among us as our savior and redeemer just as he had promised. The Messiah had walked among us! And that they (the crowd) had killed him.

This was a hard message for a Jew to receive. Much of their identity was found in being a child of Abraham. But a growing part of their identity as a people was that of being the ones waiting for the Messiah. Their hope of the arrival of the Messiah kept their national identity alive. In previous times, when taken out of Israel, they had clung to their identity and the promise that the Lord would come. At this time, they were not taken out of Israel, but they were still a conquered people under the invading Romans. Once again, they were clinging to their hope of the Messiah.

That the Messiah had come and that they had not only missed him, but had killed him, was the worst thing they could hear. The arrival of the Messiah had always been their exclusive hope. Nationally, they had no "plan B". The arrival of the Messiah had always been their only plan. This left them in quite a pickle (as we like to say in England)!

The crowd did not need to have the gravity of the situation explained to them. As Jews, they had a deep emotional understanding of the role of the Messiah in their salvation. The absence of that Messiah was immediately obvious to them as a fundamental problem. No Messiah meant no salvation. This affected them powerfully. The scripture tells us that they felt "pricked in their hearts". The power of the realization was so strong that they felt it physically.

With a full understanding of the depth of the problem, the crowd did the only thing they could. They asked the one who helped them understand the problem, what they could do. This was a real question. A very real question and very important. They needed to know the answer to this question. Their personal salvation now depended upon knowing the answer to it. Without being overly dramatic, this was the most important question they would ever ask during their lives.

Real questions deserve real answers. The crowd, that Pentecost morning, were blessed to be in the presence of one who could give them that answer. Peter was not only one of Jesus' inner circle of three, but through his understanding of the deity of Jesus, he was given the authority to deliver the plan of salvation to the waiting world. And deliver he did. A full and complete explanation of what they could do.

Tags: Favorite Scriptures Church Writings Apostolic Perspectives