Kerygmatics?

16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17    “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,

       that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,

       and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

and your young men shall see visions,

and your old men shall dream dreams;

18    even on my male servants and female servants

in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. [1]

In order for us to understand why Peter could declare “This is that, which was spoken through the prophet Joel,” it is helpful to understand the situation in which Joel was writing. Joel’s prophecy was originally given after a locust plague had ravaged the land, creating a severe famine. Joel called the people to repentance, promising the restoration of their prosperity and going on to foresee the coming of the Day of the Lord, the dawn of the messianic age, when the Spirit would be poured out on all of Israel.

Peter could not miss its applicability to Pentecost. Joel began his prophecy by saying “and afterward.” Peter’s version refers more specifically to “in the last days,” reflecting his conviction that the messianic age had already dawned in the resurrection of Christ, that we are indeed already living in the final days of God’s saving history. Peter’s conviction was very much in keeping with the rabbinic idea that he Spirit no longer rested on all Israel but would return as a universal gift at the end time. For Peter the universal pouring out of the Spirit on the whole Christian group was demonstration that the end time had come.

In the mid to late 60’s there was a move of the Holy Spirit that was seen across all denominations.  Especially Catholics were involved in this movements, but the Holy Spirit was active in all denominations and many were being Baptized with the Holy Spirit, just as Joel had prophesied.  These people were referred to Charismatics because there was a renewal of the active ministry of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in this movement.

As we have been talking about the Kerygma (proclamation of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ with repentance) was the common message these Spirit filled Christians proclaimed.  I wonder what would happen in our day, if a group of such Spirit filled Christians followed suite and began proclaiming the same message.  Maybe, they would be called Kerygmatics!

The end time has indeed come.  We are living in it.  And while we may not be experiencing an almost 30 fold increase in one day as the early church did, we can expect to still see people drawn by the Holy Spirit to repentance as the gospel is proclaimed.  Let’s proclaim the gospel.  If we do results similar to Acts are sure to follow.  Let’s be Kerygmatics!


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ac 2:16–18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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