THE WORD IS
There are some who are taken aback by Jesus' words and deeds. Others respect Him; still others ridicule Him. This was also the case on the first Pentecost about two thousand years ago. So it is also today. Attitudes, however, are not lasting. God can change them. With Him nothing is impossible.
On the first Pentecost Peter addressed those who only fifty days earlier had cried: "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" (Luke 23:21). At an earlier time these people would have accepted Jesus as a bread king (John 6:15). But they were offended by the truth that Jesus was the Savior. They were seeking a Messiah who would fulfill their earthly expectations. Jesus did not give them what they wanted because He had not come for that purpose. God's Son had come to save fallen mankind from sin. He wanted people to believe in Him as such a Savior. But instead of believing in Him, they were filled with a violent hatred toward Him, the Eternal Love. And so they killed Him.
Many are disappointed in Jesus and hate Him. Many see Him as a hindrance to their hopes and want to cast Him away from their path. The hearts of many preachers tremble with fear when they are called upon to proclaim this despised Jesus to their hearers. Fear has caused many to change God's message in order to please people. At first the Apostles tried to do this too, but they did not build up God's Church by doing so. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied Him. John, being a friend of the high priest, tried to use this relationship to his advantage.
It was different on Pentecost. The Holy Ghost had given the Apostles the courage to speak. Peter cried out: "God has made Him both Lord and Christ - this Jesus whom you crucified" (Acts 2:36). The people were pricked in their hearts. They had sinned against God by killing His Son.
We also need to be convicted of sin in God's sight. Nothing less will do. We cannot get by with blasphemous talk. Half?heartedness and hypocrisy are not acceptable to Him. The Holy Ghost causes us to ask: "What shall we do?" And to those who ask, the Lord's Apostle answers: "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38). "Repent', or more correctly translated: "Be converted, change your minds!" Before, when you were unbelievers, perhaps you blasphemed Jesus. Do not do so any longer. Jesus has atoned for your sins. He has loved you and given His all for you. Trust in Him. Thus you will be saved. In Him you will find peace to replace the accusations of your conscience.
To those who have not as yet been baptized with the Christian Baptism, this word of God applies: "Let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."
But what about those who were baptized as children, but have since then begun traveling the road of the Prodigal Son. Must they be "rebaptized"? No.
Martin Luther very aptly compares Baptism to a ship, which would remain afloat even though someone were to fall overboard. He tells us that if we fall away from our Baptismal Covenant, we are to return to it: "For the ship never breaks, because (as we have said) it is the ordinance of God, and not a work of ours; but it happens, indeed, that we slip and fall out of the ship. Yet if anyone fall out, let him see to it that he swim up and cling to it till he again come into it and live in it as he had formerly begun."
In Baptism God has established a Covenant of grace with us. "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself" (2 Tim. 2:13). Christ's work of atonement and God's faithfulness are our refuge. In them sinners find peace.
For three thousand people the first Pentecost was the day of their conversion and the day they found peace of conscience. May Pentecost be such a day also for us.