22Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this. 23 God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross. 24 But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power. 25 What David said are really the words of Jesus,
“I always see the Lord
and I will not be afraid
with him at my right side.
26Because of this,
my heart will be glad,
my words will be joyful,
and I will live in hope.
27The Lord won't leave me
in the grave.
I am his holy one,
and he won't let
my body decay.
28He has shown me
the path to life,
and he makes me glad
by being near me.”
Lived in its fullest and most rewarding way, the Christian life ought never to be boring. Rather, it ought to be full of adventure, joy and peace … and also hardship, sacrifice and risk.
As he finishes his Day of Pentecost sermon in Jerusalem, Peter wants his listeners to understand the depth and breadth of life with Jesus. It is very good. And it is very hard. But it is life WITH Jesus. We are never alone in the living of it.
Peter takes his listeners back to Psalm 16, which was written by King David who knew well both the joy and the adversity of life with God. The psalm is full of reminders of God’s constant presence: He is a refuge; he controls our destiny; he advises; he teaches the way of life. He is, says King David, “always at my right side.”
These words of David, spoken by Peter, remind me of even more ancient words, ones that bring me comfort when the Christian life is more difficult than easy, more painful than joyful.
In Joshua 1, we read these words: “Be strong and brave … the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” These words are echoed by King David: “I will always see the Lord near me … he makes me glad by being near me.”
And they are echoed again by Peter, as he preaches a sermon of perspective, one that engages thousands of listeners who decide then and there that the Christian life is for them. Luke tells us in Acts that some 3,000 men became followers of Jesus on the day Peter preached this sermon.
Following Jesus is both good and difficult. In the good moments, I praise God for his faithfulness. And in the difficult moments, I cling to his promises. And that gets me through.
Jesus, you have shown us the path of life. It is not necessarily an easy life, but it is good because you are in it. Thank you for reminding us that you are always with us; that we are not alone. Amen.