Fortunately, they were met with the reality that God is a gracious and merciful God. They learned that He was willing to fulfill Jesus’ request saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 22:34). What a marvelous story of love that one would plead for mercy on behalf of the ones who were then putting Him to death. What divine compassion that the Father would grant forgiveness to the ones who rejected and brutally murdered His Beloved Son. How many of us could ever truly grant forgiveness to the people who murdered our child? Yet, He died precisely for those who sinned against Him.
The question those Jews asked is the same question we must ask when we realize we are separated from God by our sins. Furthermore, we must ask the question from the same motivation they did. Unfortunately, many people today ask this question with a much different attitude. How, you may ask, does one ask this question in any other way?
When they asked the question, they were willing to go to the ends of the earth if that was what Peter told them to do. One cannot help but wonder what must have gone through their minds when all they were required to do was “Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). I wonder how many thought there must be something more demanded for such an egregious error as crucifying the Son of God. Yet, there wasn’t. It was and is as simple as making the necessary changes to our thinking and practice and submitting to the simple command to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. This is the essence of biblical faith.
With such a simple requirement to receive forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, it is baffling that so many are willing to fight tooth and nail to deny these simple requirements. It is hard to find a simpler teaching in all of Scripture. So why do so many today ask the question yet reject the biblical answer? Perhaps they are asking the question from a minimalist’s perspective. Unlike those Jews who would do anything, many now would say, “What’s the least I can do to be saved?”.
If we believe in the Lord as our Savior and King, why must we haggle over something as simple as the ordinance of Christian baptism? In Acts 2:40-41, we learn “And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized…” Will you gladly receive his word, or will you refuse it?