My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Demas, son of the silversmith was a reporter for the Jerusalem Daily Gazette. He was commissioned by his publisher to do a story on the wilderness preacher named John. Demas the Reporter was very thorough. He had started following Zachariah’s son when Jesus of Nazareth appeared and requested John’s immersion. Due to the unusual events surrounding that immersion, Demas began following this man who was referred to as Messiah (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23; John 1:32-34). Greeks referred to him as “Christ.”
Demas was in the crowd when Pilate brought Jesus out and asked the crowd, “What shall I do with Jesus?” (Matthew 27:22). Demas had shouted with the crowd, “Let him be crucified!” Crucifixion would be more interesting to the average reader.
Later, Demas decided to do a follow up story on the inner group of this so-called Messiah, especially after some were claiming that he had been resurrected. Demas was present when the apostles began speaking in unusual languages. Peter, the son of John, stood up around 9 a.m. and began explaining from scripture their unusual actions (Acts 2:15). Demas was standing next to a son and father in that crowd. When Peter accused the crowd of crucifying Jesus (Acts 2:36), the father, Gideon, the herdsman, shouted out to Peter, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter answered the question (Acts 2:38-39). He continued speaking, finishing with an exhortation to “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” The father and son gladly accepted that challenge (Acts 2:40). Demas decided to follow these two as the crowd trailed behind the apostles to one of several cleansing pools near the Temple called mikvehs. Jews immersed themselves in these pools to cleanse themselves before entering the Temple courtyards. Demas had to make a choice in who he would follow when the father and son went in different directions. He followed the father. He would later interview the son.
Once the father was immersed, Demas asked him if he thought such an action was essential. The father asked Demas, “Is not repentance essential to obey the command given by the apostle Peter?” Demas agreed that without repentance, the results of “for the remission of sins” would not have resulted. The father then asked Demas, “Was repentance tied with anything else prior to ‘remission’ being mentioned?” Demas agreed that Peter had mentioned “Repent AND be immersed” before “the remission of sins” was mentioned. The father added, “I repented and was immersed” because Peter commanded it, making it necessary or essential.
Later when united with the son, Demas ask him if he repented and submitted to immersion because he wanted to be obedient. The son replied in the affirmative. To make sure the son understood his question, Demas asked, “Did you repent because it was essential to receive ‘remission of sins,’ or because you wanted to obey Peter’s command to ‘repent.” Both father and son looked at him and asked in unison, “What is the difference between one repenting to obey or repenting because it is essential?” Demas replied, “I’m not talking about repentance, I’m referring to Peter’s expression, ‘be immersed.’” The father replied, “What if Peter had said ‘Believe AND repent for the remission of sins,’ would ‘believe’ had been essential but repentance non-essential?’” Demas knew he had already put “repentance” in the category of “essential” when referring to Peter’s statement, so he could not change its category although the father had put it with belief. The son asked, “If I had refused to be immersed, would I still be obedient?” Demas knew the answer was “No.” The father asked, “If Peter had said, ‘Repent because it is essential, and be immersed because you must be obedient, because if you don’t, you will not receive the remission of your sins,’ would that have been more accurate?” Demas did not answer, but it caused him to think about Jesus’ statement to John the immerser, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). If Jesus, who was without sin, saw the need to submit to John’s immersion which was “for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3), why was the immersion of Acts 2:38 “for the remission of sin” not essential for those who were guilty of their sins? Those who submitted to John’s immersion received “remission of sins” after submitting. Why would one not receive “remission of sins” after submitting to the immersion commanded by Peter? The Pharisees were guilty of rejecting “the counsel of God” by refusing John’s immersion. What would a person be rejecting by refusing the immersion commanded by Peter? Wouldn’t it be “the counsel of God”?
Wouldn’t it be interesting to read what a reporter wrote concerning Peter’s command and what individuals received after obeying that command? When one thinks about it, he will realize that someone did write a report on that event. Luke did and what he wrote is called “Acts” (Acts 2:1-47).
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