Daily Devotionals

Escaping Ordinary Week 2: Wednesday

But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. Acts 2:23

One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus is in John 1:14: “Full of grace and truth.” You see, He was simultaneously full of grace, an undeserved gift, and truth. He was constantly gracious, offering forgiveness and eternal life to anyone who turned to Him. Yet, he was also entirely truthful, calling out sin and a need for repentance. Jesus’ disciples must have observed this tension of grace and truth that Jesus carried because one of the things we observe about the early church is that believers were not afraid to call unbelievers to repentance.

 After the Holy Spirit came upon believers in Acts 2, many people observing all of this were amazed, but others were confused. They did not believe that the Holy Spirit had come upon believers. In response to this, Peter addressed the crowd. He preached an incredible sermon, and he did not hold back. He preached about Jesus’ death, explicitly telling the unbelieving people of Israel who were listening that they “with the help of lawless Gentiles… nailed Him to a cross and killed Him” (verse 23). Now, they were not responsible for actually nailing the nails in Jesus’ hands, but perhaps some listening had been in the crowd ordering that Jesus be crucified. Peter also made it clear that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, our sins, and the entire world’s sins. In light of this, he called people listening to repent, making it clear that God would graciously offer forgiveness if they did this.

Peter saw Jesus model truth and grace, and he, too, preached with grace and truth in Acts 2. We, too, must follow this model, always willing to be gracious and speak the truth. This teaching reminds us that we need to be honest with others about their need for Jesus while also sharing the hope of eternal life if they turn to Him. I pray that we all, like Jesus, will always be full of grace and truth.

Moving toward action

Is there someone in your life with whom you have been hesitant to share your faith? Have a conversation with them today. Share your two-minute story of the difference Christ has made in your life, and tell them that He also wants to make a difference in their lives.

Going Deeper

Acts 2:14-36 (NLT)

"Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. 15 These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. 16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.
19 And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’

22 “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. 24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. 25 King David said this about him:

‘I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
26 No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
27 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
28 You have shown me the way of life,
and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’

29 “Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. 30 But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. 31 David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.

32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. 33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. 34 For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
35 until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”’

36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”