Monday of Whitsun Week
Scripture: St. John 3:16-21 (NKJV)
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
The multitude who heard St. Peter’s words on Pentecost heard the Law as the apostle declared to them: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.'”
Inspired by the Holy Spirit to call the people to repentance and baptism, St. Peter proclaimed that salvation by grace through faith which Jesus spoke of in John 3: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Faith is that which God Himself creates and sustains by the work of the Holy Spirit through the means of grace.
For as long as those of the “house of Israel” attempted to harden their hearts and deny their sin, they were those who loved darkness rather than the light. But the Lord’s word of Law broke down their defenses and laid bare the character of their sins. Knowing their need for salvation, they cried out to the apostles, and St. Peter proclaimed the only hope for sinners: Christ Jesus, Who atoned for the sins of the world.
O God, Who didst give Thy Holy Spirit to Thine Apostles, grant unto Thy people the performance of their petitions, so that on us, to whom Thou has given faith, Thou mayest bestow also peace; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.