Acts

Acts 2:14-39 Peter’s Pentecost Sermon.

The people were hearing of the “wonderful works of God” in their own languages (v. 11). This was as a result of the coming of the Holy Spirit. The great commission to take the gospel to the nations was beginning. Peter is the speaker, but it is clear that he stood with the other eleven apostles to deliver the apostolic witness to the events and words which the people saw and heard (v. 14). Those speaking in other languages were not drunk-the people did not understand all the languages that were being spoken, and so they thought that drunkenness was the cause of the babbling (v. 15). However, they would soon learn that the languages they could not understand were understood by others.

Furthermore, Peter made clear that this activity fulfilled what the Prophet Joel had spoken and written-those were “the last days.” This also shows that “the last days” also ended with the apostolic witness and close of the canon, when this gift ceased (vv. 16-18 Cf. Joel 2:28-32). The things that were being spoken were words of prophecy. This apostolic period was a period of signs and wonders which began here and ended with the close of the canon and the apostolic era (v. 19). This was “the great and awesome day of the LORD” that Joel predicted (v. 20). The key to this comes at the end of the words from Joel. “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (v. 21).

To the words ‘signs’ and ‘wonders’ Peter adds another synonym, that being “miracles”. These God did in their midst through Jesus, a real man from the real historical place of Nazareth, and thereby attested to by God as being He whom God had chosen, being delivered up by His “purpose and foreknowledge” (vv. 22-23 Cf. Acts 3:18; 4:28; 10:38; I Pet. 1:20). Jesus was also delivered up through the means which God the Father had chosen. Through lawless hands Christ was crucified and put to death. It could only be through lawless hands since Jesus was an innocent man. However, God also directly raised Jesus from the dead (v. 24 Cf. Acts 5:30). In both cases it all was ordered according to His own sovereign will and purpose.

Paul knew what the focus was in this era, and also in the commission given to take the gospel to the nations. “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13 Cf. Joel 2:32). The life Jesus lived and the death that He experienced were absolutely necessary, but this was not the end. He also rose from the grave and ascended to the right hand of the Father. What initially had application for David, ultimately found fulfillment in the resurrection and ascension of Christ. This also came in fulfillment of scripture, as David spoke and wrote (vv. 25ff. Cf. Ps. 16:8-11; Acts 13:30-37). Peter makes the obvious point of how the application to David was limited-for he remained in his tomb (v. 29).

Instead, David, as a prophet, spoke of the Messiah to come, and His resurrection (vv. 30-31 Cf. Ps. 132:11). To this Peter adds his witness and that of his fellow apostles (v. 32 Cf. 3:15), along with that of the Father and the Spirit (v. 33 Cf. Acts 5:31-32). What David testified to, and the apostles affirmed, was that God the Father had raised Jesus to His right hand to sit on the throne of His Glory (vv. 34-35 Cf. Ps. 110:1). Him Peter’s listeners had crucified (v. 36). The conviction of their sin also revealed the activity of the Spirit (v. 37), and the answer was again the key to these events and the message Peter was delivering (Cf. Lk. 24:47). They were called upon to repent and to call on the name of the Lord, for anyone doing so will be saved, and the promise is also to one’s children (vv. 38-39).

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