Acts 2:22 | Message and Mission
If the message from God to humankind is the good news of the Gospel that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and then is now raised to life then the mission is that each of us at some point in our short lives would repent of sins and be baptized to receive the forgiveness and the relationship that Jesus has secured with his death, burial, and resurrection.
The message is trustworthy. Jesus did not come with mere words. He came with power and authority. Not power and authority like the kind that men crave. He came with power to submit to the Father. He came with power to be humble seeking the best for his creation. And he came with power to serve. The people recognized the authority of Jesus and his message but how?
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7:28-29 ESV
What about his words made the message trustworthy and astonishing? If I came and told you that God has spoken to me… that I held the way to be reconciled to God you should rightly question my sanity and my trustworthiness. So what makes Jesus different that he is trustworthy?
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— Acts 2:22 ESV
God punctuated the words that Jesus spoke with “mighty works and wonders and signs”. Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, controlled the elements, walked on water, and feed thousands. Peter when preaching the message above notes that the audience listening to him has seen these signs. They were there first hand. Paul when he was on trial notes that none of this was done in a corner but plainly visible across the countryside.
26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. Acts 26:26 ESV
While the first-hand witnesses are not available to attest and confirm what Jesus said and did these thousands of years later their words and their accounts have been written and captured unchanged. God does not need to proclaim a new message or new revelation because the one that Jesus lived is available in the written form. I can boldly tell others about the good news that Jesus died, was buried, and is now risen (without being called crazy) because I have the written first-hand account of what happened. If you don’t believe me then you also can read and make a judgment for yourself. The Bible is one of the most common printed books in history because the message is recognized as powerful and trustworthy.
The message of Jesus is still going. Thousands of years after the fact people know who he is and believe in his words as well as the mighty works and signs. So, what of the mission? What is the purpose of all this Jesus talk? What is it that Jesus sought to accomplish?
The mission is to make people happy? No, not the mission because people hated him so much they killed him as a common criminal. Hardship, depression, and sadness were left untouched for the moment.
The mission is a political order? No, not the mission. The disciples his own followers wanted him to kick Rome out of Jerusalem. Judas believed in that future so much that when he realized Jesus was not going to make it happen he sold Jesus out for money. Jesus left oppressive governments untouched for the moment.
The mission is social justice? No, not the mission. Jesus an innocent died unjustly at the hands of corruption. Jesus did not free slaves or reform criminal justice and he did not end hunger, sickness, or war. He left the curse, the result, of our sin upon the world untouched for the moment.
What then did Jesus accomplish? What is the mission? Peter answers that when he speaks at the dawn of the church relaying what God’s spirit put on his heart.
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. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:37-39 ESV
The message of Jesus is forgiveness and relationship with the creator God. The mission of Jesus is to see that we his children respond to what he accomplished. Repent, turn away, from rebellion and selfishness. Turn toward God acknowledging the authority that he holds because of his trustworthy words and actions and you will be given the gift of restoration and fellowship with him established through the Holy Spirit. Count on it as a promise for his mission will be accomplished and this moment of grace from God to all who accept him is on target.