By Kevin Howell
I was reading the book of Acts earlier, and after finishing the account of the Apostle Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost, where about 3,000 people were converted, I was struck by the response of the crowd he ministered to. To set the scene, it was the Feast of Pentecost, one of three major feasts for the Jewish people, so many people throughout the Jewish diaspora were gathered at Jerusalem. And Peter was basically sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time ever. As you can imagine, it was somewhat of a foreign message to his listeners. However, instead of people questioning him or scoffing at the idea that Jesus is the Christ, the people eagerly accepted the truth, 3,000 of them.
How could a people, so entrenched in their religious tradition, in town to celebrate a Jewish custom, so easily turn to a new ideology? I believe they were hungry for something new. I believe they knew, deep inside, there was something more than these feasts, rituals and customs that they’d been participating in for years. They knew there was more to God… more to life.
- Working 9 to 5, Monday through Friday
- Spending money on the latest fashions, fads, and phones to feel like they’re trendy
- Dating (or courting if you’re real spiritual) trying to find the perfect mate
- Dancing, drinking or smoking stress away every weekend
It’s a perpetual cycle seeking happiness, and seeking peace. But just like in the first century in Jerusalem, people’s souls are wondering if there is something more to life, or if they are destined to run in the same, endless circle. In Jerusalem, they were looking for God and the messiah in religious rituals. Today, people are looking for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in their jobs, relationships, possessions, and ventures. Essentially, in both eras, people find that they’re efforts are fruitless in acquiring fulfillment. That’s why people are ready for something new, ready for something radically different. Though the message is thousands of years old, the present generation hasn’t heard it unadulterated. That the peace, happiness, and fulfillment they strive for has already been acquired for them. I believe if they heard about the gift of grace… if you and I shared the restoring power of the grace of Christ, we just might see a response that we couldn’t anticipate.