Monday, 28 April 2014

"SO THOSE WHO RECEIVED HIS WORD WERE ..." Thoughts from the Bible Readings for April 26th

“SO THOSE WHO RECEIVED HIS WORD WERE …”

What is it to “receive” God’s word?  It is different to just ‘hearing’ or ‘reading’! The words God caused to be written and then to be preserved are very special.  Today we read in Acts ch. 2 Peter’s speech on the day of Pentecost.  What an impact its climax had, for many present had been among those who had called out, ‘Crucify him’- they were led by the religious leaders jealous of Jesus’ popularity; these leaders had been particularly provoked by his accusations against them.
            Imagine being in that situation – how would you have reacted to Peter’s final words?  “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” [v.36]  Such is human nature – dare we claim that we would not have been similarly provoked?  Or at least have abandoned Jesus?  Denied being a supporter?   
With what intensity of feeling did they call out to Peter and the Apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Peter tells them, “Repent and be baptised … so those who received his word werebaptised …” [v.38,41]  
What is it to “receive his word”?   It implies that his word became part of their thinking – it is far more than ‘hearing’ or today – just reading.  It changed the lives of those who “received his words … they devoted themselves to the apostles, teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” [v.42]
Whether we have truly “received” God’s divinely inspired word, which is now so readily available to us, is proved – to God – by our actions, how we live our lives, the priorities we set ourselves.   Consider carefully and prayerfully the final part of the quotation from the prophet Joel Peter made in his speech, “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence”[v.28]   What paths are we walking in?  Do we have the prospect of utterly remarkable “gladness”?