We just started a new sermon series called “Sweet and Sour” that is taking a look at how we are to have life to the full, but there will also be trouble. I’ve been reading through the book of Acts lately and there was a passage that struck me as somewhat of a “sweet and sour” passage (or, “sour and sweet”). When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, many people were mocking them. Peter began to explain what was happening and let them know the truth about Christ and what they had done:
“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him…."Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” (Acts 2:22-24, 36)
Peter does not hold back. He let’s them know that they are responsible for the crucifixion. Could you imagine being a Jew hearing that? To know that you’ve been waiting for the Messiah for so long, but now you’re part of the reason he was killed. That had to be an extremely sour realization. But it doesn’t end there:
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “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. …With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:37-38, 40-41)
Peter gives them hope. I’m imagining that they were in a very dark place after hearing what they had done. It says in the scripture that they were “cut to the heart” and wanting to know what to do next. Peter lets them know that there is salvation if they repent and be baptized. Even though the Messiah has been crucified, He has been raised from the dead. Peter himself was a witness to this. He gives the Israelites hope that they can be saved.
And while these people physically didn’t nail Jesus to a cross, neither did we. But, all of our sins were on Christ as he died for us. Our sins are what held him there. It was a sour moment, but gave way to the ultimate sweetness. The weekend of Good Friday – Easter Sunday is the most “sour and sweet” period we can think of and aren’t we so thankful for that time? I hope as we think about sourness of Christ’s sacrifice that we can be reminding sweetness of the resurrection and forgiveness we enjoy.