Your life depends on it
(Peter said): Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. ~ Acts 2:36-42
Skipping to the end of Peter's long speech at Pentecost, there are two things that stand out for me.
First: the fact that Peter gave a long speech. Up until now, Peter hasn't always been "rock-like" has he? He denied Jesus. He was impulsive. He was emotional. He was jealous. He seemed more to be a man to act first and speak later.
Now, here he preaches his first real sermon and it's a doozy. He has truly come into the calling Jesus had for him. He's grown. He's been equipped. He's faced his fear and he's ready.
The second thing is the oft-related description of what these new Christians - or more accurately, these new disciples and followers of the Way - spend their time doing.
Devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching.
Breaking of bread.
I've often heard of churches trying to become more like the early churches. Trying to recapture something we've lost. It's not a bad goal. Although, these days, when Christianity is no longer the secretive, small, persecuted faith of the first century, it is perhaps easier to get caught up in the conflicting competitions we feel we have for time in our lives.
Faith was in many ways a life or death issue for the early disciples in a way it isn't for most of us. Maybe that made the fellowship that much more crucial. More life giving.
What would our faith look like if our life depended on it? Given the example of Peter - who moved from fear to leadership - it's a question I think I need to ask myself more often.
Holy God, empower me to live a life of faith, not fear, and of fellowship, not frazzled distraction. Amen.