Dear Grace Family,
Where were you when you first heard a message about Jesus? Who was the messenger? How did you respond? Had you had any thoughts about God prior to that? Were there times, before that message, when you questioned: Is there a Creator? Why is the world the way it is? Who put the stars in place, set the world in motion, provided the spark for life? What is my place and purpose in this world? Does my life matter? Does anyone really care, and care specifically about me? Is there anything beyond this life?
There are times those questions force their way on us. Sometimes we pursue those questions out of curiosity or out of desperation. I’m bold enough to say that none of us move through life without some reflection on these questions.
What causes one person to respond positively to the message of Jesus while another dismisses Him altogether? It certainly does not hinge on the level of a person’s intellect. People all along the scale hear about Jesus and respond positively. The same can be said about occupations, economic status, ethnicity, how a person is raised. Something else must be affecting the way we, and others, respond.
Our passage for study this morning raises this question, and then provides some humbling and gracious answers.
On the day of Pentecost (the day the first group of 120 Christians received the gift of the Holy Spirit) Peter stood up and, inspired by the Holy Spirit, preached the first Christian sermon. In the middle of the sermon something unexpected and dramatic happened. Thousands responded and became Christ-followers, and they joined the church. Many others, hearing the same message, did not. Why?
The answers to how, when, where, and why, a person responds positively to the message of Jesus ultimately rests in the mystery, wonder, and character of God. Our passage this morning will help us explore this mystery and miracle of God, and as it does, it is my hope, our hope at Grace, that it leads all of us closer to Him.
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