It was beyond chaotic. Crowds had gathered at night around the central courthouse and watched as the government condemned the Man. Such a trial was against the law of the land, but circumstances were so threatening to the government, the leaders believed they needed to try this Man.
Without any counsel presented for the defense, they proceeded to mock and deride Him. His crimes were considered so outrageous that only the death penalty would suffice. Up until that very day, throngs had shouted His glory and triumph. Then those same people turned against Him.
Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the story. As we’ll see from Scripture, one of the men closest to Jesus would fail Him in His darkest hour. But his turnaround encourages us to spread the gospel, no matter our weaknesses.
Earlier that evening, one of His young followers had sworn allegiance to Him. This same man lost faith when he saw and heard the crowds of mockers, and he watched as they beat and whipped his friend. The disciple was even ashamed and afraid as the government put Him on trial.
Peter turned cowardly — chicken. Jesus had told him, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me” (Luke 22:34). Later in the evening, however, after witnessing the trial and mockery of God in the flesh, Peter denied Jesus for a third time. Then he heard the rooster crow. “So Peter went out and wept bitterly” (vv. 54-62). He repented!
It was a long and heart-wrenching fifty days after the murder of Jesus. Much had happened since Peter had “gone chicken.” Jesus was crucified. He lay in the grave for three days and three nights, then was resurrected and glorified to God. He had become our ultimate sacrifice for our eternal salvation (Hebrews 9:11-15).
Peter and the other disciples spent forty days with Jesus after His resurrection, learning all things about the kingdom of God. They were commanded to wait in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon them (Acts 1:3, 4, 8).
On the Day of Pentecost, the disciples waited together in Jerusalem, and miracles of God began to happen. A mighty wind rushed into the house where they were gathered, and divided tongues of fire sat on the head of each disciple. At that moment, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (2:1-4). Joel had prophesied this event long before, and now the Spirit of God was being poured out on all humanity (vv. 16-21). Being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter changed. Just fifty days before, he lost faith and became a chicken in his heart.
But Peter became the rooster that day. He crowed and awakened Jerusalem. Standing up with the Eleven, he raised his voice and gave the greatest sermon of his life. What Peter preached became known to the first century church of God as the “apostles’ doctrine” (v. 42).
The message Peter gave on that first new covenant Pentecost is the same message we must crow about today. In reviewing his sermon in Acts 2:14-36, we see the apostles’ doctrine spelled out for us, step by step:
- He put Christ into the biblical and cultural context of his day.
- He confessed that Jesus is Lord and His kingdom was coming.
- He proclaimed that the Holy Spirit had come to guide the church of God.
- He stated that the Holy Spirit was introduced to all peoples for salvation through Jesus, as we repent and are baptized for the remission of sins.
What a remarkable transformation for the apostle Peter! On that day, three thousand people repented, were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit (v. 41). Peter, from chicken to rooster, crowed the gospel of God: Jesus Christ, Him crucified and raised after three days and three nights to God’s glory for the propitiation of our sins, for our salvation.
This same message of the apostles’ doctrine is repeated throughout the New Testament. Peter, James, John, the deacon Stephen, and Paul continued to share a version of this original sermon.
Peter repeated the message of salvation through Jesus to only the rulers of Judea in Acts 4:8-12 and again to new Gentile converts in Acts 10:34-48. Stephen preached it in Acts 7 — and was killed for it.
Paul wrote, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). Here, Paul repeated the apostles’ doctrine, recorded in Acts 2:42. At the end of his life, about thirty-five years after the crucifixion of Jesus, Paul ended his apostolic time on earth “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him” (Acts 28:31).
The apostles and leaders of the first century church of God “crowed” the gospel of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Let us all crow the message of Jesus Christ crucified, risen from the dead for our salvation to all humanity. Let us all have the faith from the Holy Spirit to change and tell the world about the wonderful coming King of the earth: Jesus our Lord and Savior!