Cut to the heart
Acts 2: 32-42 (NRSVA)
32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’”
36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’
37 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?’ 38 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. 39 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.’ 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
As Peter is sharing the meaning of the incidents they have all been experiencing. Many of those listening find themselves overwhelmed with sorrow and grief and genuine regret for the way Jesus was treated. The scripture phrase 'cut to the heart' seeks to express the extent to which those listening understood their participation and responsibility for the death of Jesus.
The reading begs the question of us. How do we view our part in the death of Jesus? Peter offers his listeners forgiveness in the name of Jesus bringing peace of mind through repentance.
Perhaps we need to be reminded that we too are included in God's great rescue plan. Being 'cut to the heart' however is not something too many of us want to dwell upon. Knowing our shortcomings is one thing but taking the responsibility for them is something else. To accept we played a part in the death of Jesus is a huge step of faith and calls for a great deal of soul searching. Yet it is this level of personal identification with repentance that is required if we too are to truly embrace the peace that comes through the grace and forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Centuries have past
Yet guilt remains
Knowing right from wrong
Still frames our minds
They call us
But we still can’t control our tongues
We can’t resist the twitter feed
And lives are broken
On the flick of a screen
Our sons and daughters
Look for more
We offer them
Instead of wisdom
Today we return to the cross
Longing that we might show
the same humility of the thief.
Sadly, too often we refuse to see ourselves
As we really are
Sinners needing to be rescued
Saved from ourselves
Give me the insight of the thief on the cross
May your Kingdom come.