The group that came together on Pentecost to hear Peter and the others (Acts 2) were much like those in our world today. They came from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and languages. They undoubtedly had different styles of dress and speech. While they shared the Jewish faith, they had little in common beyond that. Most of the people in our culture ‘believe’ in God. They may be weak of inadequate in understanding, but when you talk about God, they mostly think about the God of the Bible. But God brought them all together on that Pentecost and He intends for all of us to be united in one body – the church.
When they all came together, it was at first in curiosity about what was happening. There was a variety of reactions – some thought the twelve were drunk, others were just confused. As the Lord’s body, we need to ‘make some noise’ – we need to be visible, different from the world as usual, and interesting enough that people want to see what all the fuss is about. And we shouldn’t be surprised when people have different reactions. When people misunderstand what the church is about, they will call us names or be confused by what they see.
Like Peter, our words and actions should indicate to people that they have a problem with sin. Peter told them that they had killed the Messiah that God had sent to them. The reaction was ‘What should we do?” They saw the need to be forgiven. It had to be hard for them – they had traveled a long way to worship, thinking they were acceptable to God, and now to find out their true sinful condition. Peter’s answer to them was “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.”(Acts 2:38) They were familiar with baptism, but it was for those who were unclean or outside of the Mosaical covenant. Baptism was for Gentiles, not ‘children of Abraham’. But this was exactly what God was commanding them to do. To admit that they were sinners – like those Samaritans or gentiles and to repent and undergo immersion in order to receive forgiveness of their sins had to be difficult for them to comprehend. Many today also find the command to be baptized shocking. They think that it may be needed for those terrible sinners, but that they aren’t in the same class. But just as those on Pentecost had to humble themselves and be baptized, so people today must swallow their pride and obey the same command.
Acts 2 tells us that 300 people obeyed and were baptized that day, but there were many more who heard what was said and couldn’t bring themselves to accept the plan that god had put in place. Don’t let your ‘religious heritage’, your cultural background, social differences, or simple pride keep you from the Lord. Come to Christ, obey His word and be immersed in baptism to gain the forgiveness of sins. (Acts 22:16) In doing so, you will have everything in common with those who have followed God’s plan from the very beginning and will find the forgiveness promised by the Lord.