36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” - Acts 2:36-39
The word both is the culprit. Being a follower of Christ would be much easier if it were not for the word both. It’s much easier living saved from the penalty of sin than living saved from the penalty of sin and Jesus being the Lord of our life. We might even give some half hearted attempt to be good or follow some of Jesus’ teaching if He has saved us from sin and its consequences. But we stiff arm the difficulty of giving over any amount of control of our life to anyone, much less giving entire control of our life to Jesus. And this is Peter’s first recorded sermon!! Imagine a new pastor at a church preaching this as his first sermon. There would be all manner of nervousness at lunch spots around the city that day. But Peter was speaking the truth and we know it. And the people, the Jews who crucified Jesus, who heard it the first time knew it. They were cut to the heart or totally broken by those words. Repent. Be baptized. Receive the gift. The words still are true and we grapple with them every day in areas of our life we don’t want to lose control of. If Peter had not used the word both then we would be able to determine right and wrong, piece together a plan of morality, use a comfortable definition of tithing, serve the church when convenient, and so on. But he used it. And Jesus must be both our Messiah (Savior) and Lord. Or he is neither.
Heavenly Father, help us examine and determine our relationship with you so we will surely live under both your Messiahship and your Lordship. We confess when we have fallen to the temptation to live outside that relationship. Forgive us when we have done so. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.