So those who welcomed Peter’s message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:41-42)
The good news about God’s love for us in Jesus Christ is an amazing revelation for many people. We have all known people who have reminded us of Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories – always seeming to be down and with a cloud over them. Sometimes we have probably been that person ourselves!
When the crowds on that first Pentecost discovered that even though they had been part of rejecting and crucifying Jesus – the Son of God who had come to love them into new life – they were stunned. Had they known what they were doing they felt they would surely have chosen another path. But it seemed to be too late. Jesus was dead.
But Peter’s preaching reminded them that with God it is never too late. Resurrection brings new life to people who need it most. And as the Spirit moved among them, thousands of people believed and rejoiced at the message. About three thousand of them were baptized that day.
As part of being baptized, these people joined the apostolic community. This community of faith was committed to proclaiming and living out of the good news that God had offered new life in the resurrection of Christ. So they gathered to learn and care for one another, to share in communion together, and to pray for each other and the world around them.
We often think of Baptism as “me and God,” that since I am baptized I am promised eternal life in Christ. While that is true, a key part of baptism is “us and God.” We are brought into a community of faith where we gather and support each other, are nourished by God, and called to be people of prayer. Baptism is about more than just us as individuals. It is about our recognition that God is more than my God – God is our God. When we live that way, the church becomes the church. We are God’s people. We are given the life we need in Jesus. We discover too, that we need and are blessed by each other as well.