To Catch a Thief


An elderly lady was asleep in her bed one night, when she was awakened by a strange noise from the living room. Cautiously, she walked in and discovered a burglar in the process of stealing the stereo. Overcome with fear, she whispered a desperate prayer, “Help me Jesus!” The burglar heard her and started towards her. Without a thought she put up her hand and shouted a favorite scripture reference: ACTS, 2:38! The burglar immediately froze. The lady dialed 911, and within minutes, police were on the scene, and took the burglar to the police station. As the police were questioning him, one of the detectives said, “I’m curious, you could have ran and got away, why did you stay frozen in that one spot?” The burglar answered, “Man, if you knew that old lady was packing an axe and two .38 revolvers, you would not have moved either!” (SermonCentral)

I guess you can say that there’s more than one way to catch a thief. If the burglar would have understood that the lady was actually citing a Bible reference, he probably would not have been so scared. But such is the power of the Word!

What’s even more intriguing is what Acts 2:38 says: “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB). The apostle was responding to a question the Jewish crowd asked after he exposed their crime of having an innocent man, Jesus Christ, crucified: Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Once the people realized what they’d done, they were filled with fear and guilt. They were afraid God would punish them for killing the one whom God sent to save them. And they felt guilty for their sinful deed. What were they to do?

Peter’s answer in verse 38 applied to more than the crime of killing Jesus. It included sin in general for sin is the underlying reason for all human error and misery. Consider his answer: “Repent.” That is, recognize your sins, regret your sins, and renounce your sins (2 Chronicles 7:14).

“Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness [remission] of your sins.” Baptism in Jesus’ name includes the method of immersion under water. It symbolizes the death (“crucified with Christ,” Galatians 2:20), burial (“buried with him through baptism,” Romans 6:4), and resurrection of Christ to new life (“raised with him,” Colossians 2:12). When a sinner calls on Jesus Christ and believes in him as God’s only begotten Son and accepts his Son as Lord and Saviour through faith (Romans 10:9), repentance, and baptism, the sinner is forgiven.

Then comes the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, God’s Power, seals one’s faith through Christ so that from the time of conversion, one pursues holy living in preparation for entering the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 4:29-31). The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to believers, to enable each one to live and serve according to God’s grace (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Once we begin our life through Christ according to the scriptures, including Acts 2:38, we are able to handle our fear and guilt. The lady who called out ACTS, 2:38, was able to catch a thief because it contains the power to convict a sinner of his/her guilt and create the opportunity to bring change. It also saved the lady at a time she was confronted with fear for her life. Once we apply this verse, God will do some amazing things in our lives, as well.

Good News to You!
Pastor Michael

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