Acts 2:37-41: Revival (please click for todays passage)

By any standards, this was a ‘miraculous catch’ (41). Twice during His ministry, Jesus had shown His followers that if they trusted and obeyed Him they would bring in a huge haul of fish. But I believe that in both those cases we see a foretaste of the spectacular growth of the church in ‘Acts’ as they went fishing for men. Here, the church grew from 120 to around 3,120 in a single day. How did they absorb all that growth? We are not told. They clearly did though. Somebody said, ‘We preach three thousand sermons to get one convert, but with one sermon Peter won three thousand.’ That is rather a gross over-simplification, I know, but it helps to see that what we call ‘revival’ is an unusual work of God.

Powerful ‘conviction of sin’ is one mark of all revivals (37). Before Peter got chance to tell the people what they should do about what he was saying, they asked! They were desperate to know. Twice in his sermon, Peter had told his hearers that they bore responsibility for the death of Christ (23, 36). Evidently he got through. The people felt like they were in the dock, with the Judge delivering the guilty verdict. He then puts on his black cap, and they know they are under the sentence of death. What can they do?

How wonderful then to hear about the possibility of forgiveness of sins, and sharing the same experience they had seen and heard that very day (38, 39; see 33) –of receiving the Holy Spirit. But first they had to repent of their sins and be ‘’baptized’’ (38). There were no exceptions to this requirement. Someone wrote that ‘The idea of an unbaptised Christian is totally alien to the thought of the New Testament writers.’ Baptism is mentioned twice in the space of a few short verses (38, 41). If repentance (and faith) are the inward part of conversion, baptism is the outward aspect.Baptism on its own won’t save anyone. It is intended to be linked to repentance. But it is indispensable.

I think verse 41 indicates that not all the people in the crowd ‘’accepted’’ the message, but vast numbers did. Yet although there is a strong emphasis on the human response in these verses, the real reason for any conversion lies in the mystery of God’s sovereignty (39).

PRAYER: I pray, Lord, that you will send revival, for the glory of your Name.