Conclusions

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ – Acts 2:14-21

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Egret | Florida Everglades | May 2019

I am an intuitive person. I draw conclusions about people, stuations, and motives, and I’m often correct. Whatever led to me being of that temperament, I’ve become somewhat accomplished at it. I often surmise what a person is going to say before someone has really had the opportunity to express himself. When I’m correct it’s good. When I’m not, it can become a real problem.

The greatest challenge for those who have drawn conclusions about life, God, and faith comes when someone tries to convince them of something different than they already believe to be true. That can be really destructive.

This is what is going on with the people in Jerusalem on this occasion. They thought they knew what was going on when the disciples had spoken in unknown languages. Their conclusion: the disciples were drunk. The reality: the Holy Spirit was powerfully at work.

It may have been that the most difficult thing to understand about all of these things was how Peter says, quoting from the Old Testament prophet Joel, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Everyone. Whoever. Anyone. All. Can anyone truly call on Jesus and be saved? Is it that easy? These must have been the thoughts of these onlookers on this occasion. Can anyone be let in? Is the kingdom of God really open to all comers?

I’m sure that I might come across someone who seems not to be fit for the kingdom of God. I suspect that the “whoever” in my data set might not be as broad as I claim it to be. But for my own sake – and the sake of all those I know and love – I am thankful to conclude that this promise is decidedly precious, and worth holding to in all situations – no matter what other conclusions I might come to.

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