Bethesda News

Holy Week Devotion 2019 – Day 6

Good Friday, April 19, 2019

Acts 2:36-38 (ESV)

36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Reflection by Scott Dunwoody, Executive Director

To the Jew the idea of a crucified Messiah was incredible; their law said, “anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse.” To the orthodox Jew the cross made it completely impossible that Jesus could be the Messiah.

For our culture today, when hearing the message that God’s son had to die a horrific death, that sin (our sin) must really be so bad in God’s eyes to justify such a choice, this is increasingly difficult to believe.  

Our late modern culture is so marked by individualism – the belief that identity comes through self-expression, through discovering one’s most authentic desires and being free to be one’s authentic self; no external authority has any right to tell the individual what is right and wrong or how to live (not so modern an idea; “everyone did what was right in their own eyes”).

As many get caught up in the culture, many begin to find how meaningless it is, and are searching for real answers to the question, is this life all there is?

Inherited, institutionalized religion is declining greatly, as people search for something else; nominal, formal religion is not enough.  The door is wide open, the fields are white unto harvest, as people make choices as to what is real.

What an exciting challenge and opportunity, to share the message of Peter, that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.  But, as we are sent, may we be honest and humble in our witness, as to our condition, and the hope we have found:

      “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Reflection Questions

  1.  Why were the people “cut to the heart” after hearing Peter’s sermon?
  2.  What does it mean to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?
  3.  Why do you think such a seemingly sorrowful day has been remembered as “Good” Friday?

Prayer Guide

  1. Pray that our staff can be honest and humble in their witness to our guests and the community.
  2. Pray for a renewed sense of awe and gratitude for Christ’s obedience “even unto death” for our sakes.
  3.  Pray that those who haven’t yet would repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ!

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