When was the last time you checked the sky for portents? That isn’t part of my daily routine. Frankly I’ve always found it difficult to connect with biblical passages like this one. The verses are so gloomy and destructive on a scale that is just…well, biblical. And considering where Peter is, these lines seem like an odd choice for this particular moment.
Here Peter is, facing a crowd that is calling his friends drunkards, and his counter argument is the time? He’s addressing his first captive audience since Jesus’ death, and this is how he introduces the Jesus movement? Is this the best recruitment speech he could manage? I imagine some disciples over on the side, gesturing wildly for him to try something else. “Does he have to quote Joel right now? Come on, Peter!”
But perhaps I’m wrong, as I read this from the distance of 2022. Maybe those gathered understand that this reference is entirely appropriate for their recent history. Peter and his posse have seen their best friend, their Lord, crucified. The sun darkened, the earth shook, and their whole world fell apart. When they put Jesus in the tomb, they buried all their hopes with him.
Then, three days later, the Lord’s great and glorious day dawned (v. 20). Jesus came back. Hope is not lost. God has not abandoned them. Everything Jesus taught was true! Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved is their message now (v. 21). Salvation rises out of the darkest days and into the dawn of Christ’s hope for all who will hear this story and believe.
What dark days have you experienced? What are the days of hope when God felt nearer to you? Reflecting back, can you see any ways that the dark days prepared you to see God more clearly?
God, help us watch for your salvation even in the darkest days, for we know that you have come and are coming still to save us. Amen.