God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.
Last post from the book of Acts we examined three things Peter said to the crowd on the day of Pentecost, and how there were people in the crowd who were complicit in the unjust crucifixion of Jesus. And how you and I are also members of that crowd, because we’re complicit in Jesus’ crucifixion too. (see previous post Why I’m Complicit in Jesus’ Death)
Peter had more to say to the crowd that day. So today we’ll look at the rest of what Peter said, and the amazing results that followed. Finally we’ll examine the 7 steps Peter took that resulted in God using him to save 3,000 souls.
Peter Continues to Share About Jesus
After Peter spoke of how the people in the crowd shared responsibility for Jesus’ unjust crucifixion, he speaks of Jesus’ resurrection.
God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.Acts 2:24
The wages of sin is death, but, for the Son of God, the one who had no sin, for him it was not possible to be held by death. (Romans 6:23)
For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,Acts 2:25-28
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-11. And then Peter explains:
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.Acts 2:29-33
Peter says to the crowd, We all know our patriarch David died, and was buried, and to this day we even know where his tomb is. So David, being a prophet, prophesied not about himself when he wrote this Psalm. But he prophesied about the Messiah when he wrote “For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.” David’s body is still rotting away in the tomb. But — Peter says — Jesus’ body didn’t see corruption. Instead he was raised up. And all of his disciples who stand before you today saw him raised up first hand. And if that’s not enough, our witness is confirmed because now you’re seeing and hearing for yourselves how the Father’s Holy Spirit is being poured out upon us.
For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,Acts 2:34-35
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
Peter quotes Psalm 110:1, and Peter’s saying that this prophetic messianic Psalm also speaks of Jesus. Here in Psalm 110:1 David the author of the Psalm is saying, The Lord, God the Father, said to my Lord, the Messiah, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Finally Peter said this:
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.Acts 2:36
And then this happened:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”Acts 2:37
When they heard what Peter said, they were cut to the heart! And they were ready to do whatever they needed to do to receive Jesus and be saved. Who doesn’t want to share about Jesus with someone and have them cut to the heart by it and ready to surrender to Christ completely the way the people were cut to the heart that day?
Peter goes on to tell them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for forgiveness of their sins. And he tells them, if they do this they’ll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And in the end, 3,000 souls were saved that day. (Acts 2:38-41)
Peter’s 7 Steps to Lead 3,000 Souls to Jesus
Peter, the one who publicly denied Jesus with oaths and curses, the one who tried to rebuke the Son of God Hiimself, the one who spoke out of turn during one of the most holy moments in history on the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter was the one. Peter was the one who led 3,000 souls to Jesus on the day of Pentecost. (Matthew 26:74, Matthew 16:21-23, Matthew 17:1-8)
How’d he do that?
We see from the Gospels and the Book of Acts, he took 7 steps.
1. Peter was Intentional About His Time and Intimacy with Jesus
Peter very intentionally committed himself to spending time with Jesus. He invested three years of his life in living with Jesus, learning from Jesus, and helping Jesus to do God’s work. We don’t have Jesus’ physical presence with us today but we can intentionally find people who are Christlike in the way they live, and we can intentionally connect ourselves to those people. In my experience the people most like Jesus are usually found doing some sort of ministry for Jesus.
So even though we can’t connect with Jesus’ physical presence the way Peter did, we can intentionally find Christlike people and, like Peter: we can live with them (to the greatest degree that we can), we can learn from them, and we can help them to do God’s work.
We can become as intimate with them as we can, even as Peter became as intimate as he could with Jesus.
You become who you hang with, so find people like Jesus and be intentional about connecting with them.
2. Peter was Intentional About His Time and Intimacy with God’s Word
In our text we see from the way Peter quotes from scripture it’s obvious he’s a student of God’s Word. His quotes from Joel 2:28-32, Psalm 16:8-11, and Psalm 110:1 flow from him naturally. He appears to be well familiar with his Bible.
In a sense this is just another way to become intimate with Jesus. The very first thing the the Apostle John tells us in the Gospel of John is Jesus is the Word of God. (John 1:1)
And speaking of the Gospels, unlike Peter, today we have the four gospels available to us. A prayerful in-depth study of the life of Jesus is an additional way to be intentional about time and intimacy with Christ. I know the deep dive I did into Jesus’ life in the Gospels caused me to become a different person. It can have the same effect on you.
3. Peter was Intentional About Obeying Jesus’ Commands
Jesus ordered Peter and the other disciples not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father. When he gave that order, Jesus said, “…you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:3-5)
But we know from Paul that 500 saw the resurrected Jesus first hand and presumably received that command from Jesus. Yet only 120 were there together in Jerusalem praying in the upper room. So it would seem that not everyone who witnessed the resurrected Christ obeyed Jesus’ command to remain in Jerusalem. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Acts1:15)
But Peter did.
4. Peter was Intentional about Becoming Saint Peter
Peter was intentional about obeying Jesus’ commands and perhaps Jesus’ biggest command was to love. This is what Peter’s Master commanded him to do: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
This is what Peter’s Master was famous for. Jesus was famous for his love. And this is what Jesus wanted his disciples to be famous for. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” Jesus said.
Peter intentionally obeys Jesus’ commandments and in the process he’s becoming Saint Peter. One of the most important ways in which Peter influences the 3,000 for Jesus is simply by being a virtuous human being. Jesus’ love in Peter is recognized by the crowd Peter’s speaking to. The crowd recognizes Peter as a saint.
Sending Jesus was God’s part. Providing His Holy scripture is God’s part. Giving the gift of His Holy Spirit is God’s part. God’s part is the bigger part for sure, by a wide margin, but we still have our part.
So if you want to influence someone for Jesus, maybe the most important step is to become Saint you.
Become a virtuous human being.
Become someone who loves God really well.
Become someone who loves the people around them really well.
If you want to influence someone for Jesus,
Start with love.
5. Peter was Intentional about Moving Forward
I’ve already mentioned a few of Peter’s mistakes. Peter had obvious problems and weaknesses as a human being. But he didn’t let that stop him from finding a way to obey Jesus’ commandments and to love people well.
Peter could have dwelled on his mistakes and bailed or become stuck. But he seems to focus on what he can do, rather than what he can’t do. In our passage Peter is very much in the moment. He’s operating under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and his mistakes, egregious as they were, are nowhere to be found in his consciousness.
6. Peter was Intentional about Prayer
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that before Peter led 3,000 people to Jesus, he was in the upper room praying with one accord with his brothers and sisters in Christ. Again we see how Peter is intentional about intimacy with Jesus. Prayer is one of the most important means available to us to experience intimacy with God and Christ. (Acts 1:13-14)
And also, prayer, as described by Jesus in the parable about the persistent widow who petitioned the unrighteous judge, can move God to show favor. (Luke 18:1-8)
That kind of prayer can move mountains.
And that kind of prayer can bring people to the place where they’re cut to the heart and ready to receive Jesus.
7. Peter was Intentional about Pursuing the Holy Spirit
Peter was in that upper room praying that way, because Jesus told him to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come. And I suspect the way Peter chose to wait was to petition God for His Holy Spirit.
The reason I believe this is because of something Jesus said:
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”Luke 11:11-13
The way Jesus speaks about the Holy Spirit in that passage makes me believe God wanted Peter to ask Him for this gift. And what Jesus said also makes me believe God wants us to ask Him for the Holy Spirit too.
So ask God for His Holy Spirit to be poured out upon you. Ask as Jesus’ disciples asked. Ask like the widow asked the unrighteous judge. Ask right now. Ask again tomorrow. Ask at the start of every day. Ask three times a day.
Peter was intentional about pursuing the Holy Spirit.
You and I can be too.
Peter the Intentional One
Seven steps Peter took to lead 3,000 souls to Jesus. What God did through Peter in our passage was amazing. For most of us, leading 3,000 people to Christ would be the greatest privilege we’ve ever experienced. Of course it may not happen that way. But if I could just lead 300, or 30, or 3, or even 1 person to Jesus, that would be a great privilege too.
What I’m trying to say is that you may not lead 3,000 to Jesus if you follow these 7 steps, but you’ll almost certainly attract more people to Jesus if you do follow these 7 steps than if you don’t.
When I continue to let the busy-ness of life sweep me along in a current of problems, worries, and material wants, my influence for Jesus erodes away.
But when I’m intentional in the 7 ways Peter was intentional, that’s when I can have the greatest impact on others for Jesus.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise.Proverbs 11:30 KJV
Michael Brown, Jesus said that by this the world would know we are His disciples, The Christian Post, February 20, 2021
7 Steps photo by Jarod Carruthers – Creative Commons
Newly released book by Kurt Bennett, now available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.
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