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June 16

Acts 2, 22-24

‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know — this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law.

New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

Jesus’ fame precedes him, and Peter uses this as he begins to explain what is happening at Pentecost.

In these two short verses he lays out clearly the life and death of Christ; the fact that he was sent by God; and the divinity he embodies which has been demonstrated by his miracles.

The crowd are currently witnessing the supernatural invade the natural as the Holy Spirit enables the disciples to speak in many different languages so everyone present can understand the good news.

Peter provides vital continuity to this context by reminding them that many of them witnessed, or heard of, Jesus during his life, and that his ministry was full of examples of the supernatural. Miracles of healing, multiplication, deliverance and transformation were all ways in which God’s power was demonstrated through him.

When faced with Jesus, nature and science have to bend because the kingdom he represents is higher than nature, and beyond science’s understanding.

Now Peter tells the latest instalment of the story. This Jesus who was crucified and buried is alive. Again, the natural order of things has had to bow to a superior rule – death could not hold him because with Jesus the impossible becomes possible and the inevitable must submit.

This is the context for the miracle of tongues in many languages that the crowd is witnessing – there is a kingdom where the limitations of life do not apply if the will of God is for something different.

Water can turn into wine; blind men can see and lame men run; death can be overturned; and a man like Peter can fail to speak up to a young girl one month, and then become a champion orator the next.

This is the kingdom where the weak become strong, the poor are fed, and all tears are wiped away. This is the promised kingdom which we are called to work for today.

Jesus’ kingdom turns everything upside-down, and through the Holy Spirit in us, we can be part of his life-transforming, world-changing work. It’s time to start dreaming big again.

Something to do

Are there any dreams you used to have about God’s kingdom that you have let die, or lost hope in? Are there things that you are scared to pray for because they are too precious? Are there situations that if you’re honest with yourself, you feel are too big to pray for? Bring all these things to Almighty God, and ask for the Holy Spirit to renew your perspective.

Something to pray

Oh Lord my God, enlarge my vision of you today.
For you are so much bigger than my small mind’s limitations,
The boxes I try to put you in,
And the wisest theories of scientists and theologians.
Death cannot hold you; nature cannot restrain you;
People cannot stop you; and I cannot, will not, must not, reduce you.
Oh Lord my God, enlarge my vision of you today.
Rebuild my broken dreams of your kingdom’s rule,
Restore my abandoned hopes for justice.
Renew my faith in you as you are
And rekindle my prayers for your will to be done
For I cannot, will not, must not, reduce you oh Lord my God –
Mountain-shaping, miracle-making, death-conquering King.
Amen.

Today’s contributor is Liz Baddaley, a former staff member of Christian Aid. She is a worship leader, song-writer, freelance writer and editor specialising in Bible study and worship resources for charities. She is also the co-founder ofwww.thesanctuarycentre.org

 

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