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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, July 28, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Acts 2:22–36

“Fellow 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. But God raised him up, having released him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover, my flesh will live in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades
or let your Holy One experience corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

“Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,

‘He was not abandoned to Hades,
nor did his flesh experience corruption.’

“This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us 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 see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’

“Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (NRSV)

Picture it: Pentecost, first century A.D. A multitude are gathered at a feast, hailing from nations far and wide, and are awash in a cacophony of voices, all speaking at once—not over each other, but along with one another. What is more, each understands what the other is saying, even as they are speaking in different languages! Those on the outside looking in presume that those assembled are in a drunken stupor, but Peter, whose voice we hear in this passage rising above the din, explains what is taking place: the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon those assembled, testifying to the lordship of Jesus the Christ.

Rooted in his tradition, Peter sees the patterns, and connects the “dots” between the Jewish prophecies of old, and their fulfillment, through to his present moment, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. What had been spoken through David had been made manifest through Christ, for all those assembled to know and experience.

That which humanity, in its blood lust, intended to destroy through crucifixion, God meant for victory over the corrosive powers of death in the person of Jesus, the risen Messiah. David’s prophecy had come to fruition, and, for Peter, the Pentecost event stood as testimony.

What comes to mind as a past challenge or circumstance that, in moving through it, you felt the transformational presence of God? How does that experience shape your relationship with God today, and serve as your own form of “prophetic witness” to God’s purposes moving in, and through, you?

Let us pray: O Holy One, fill us, in body, mind, and spirit, with your power to transform barriers into bridges, and may the outpouring of your grace be unmistakable to all whom we encounter. Amen.

Written by Nancy Benson-Nicol, Associate Pastor for Caring Ministries and Spiritual Formation

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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