Peter At Pentecost

INTRODUCTION: Chapter 2 of Acts begins with a description of the gift of the Holy Spirit given in Jerusalem to men of Galilee who then amazed devout Jews from many places, as every man heard them speak in his own language. This caused great confusion and astonishment which gave Peter the opportunity to become the single speaker to the large crowd and declare the truth that Jesus is the Christ who was prophesied in scripture. The result was that many people believed the Word and became Christians that day.

NOTE: All Bible passages are taken from the American King James Version.


A - THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Acts 2 "1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What means this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine."

COMMENTS: The group of new Christians was together when the gift of the Holy Spirit came upon them. They began to speak in other languages as the Holy Spirit enabled them. There were many devout Jews in Jerusalem at that special time of year, and when they heard about these things a very large crowd assembled and they were bewildered because each man heard them speak in his own language. This was especially amazing to them because they knew these men were from Galilee and it seemed impossible that they could be skilled in so many different languages that others had spoken from birth. The listeners were both Jews, and proselytes to Judaism, which would present some variation even within the 15 different regional languages mention as they listened to the wonderful works of God in very clear presentation. They were in doubt about what this could mean, and some even mocked saying that the men who were speaking were in confusion because they were drunk.


B - PETER SPOKE OF FULFILLED PROPHECY FROM SCRIPTURE

Acts 2 "14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of 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 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

COMMENTS: Peter stood up among the eleven and raised his voice to get the attention as he addressed the assembled crowd as men of Judah, and all the others who had come to Jerusalem. Peter asked them to pay close attention to what he was going to say, and his first remark was that the men speaking were not drunk. He then told them that what was happening had been written by the prophet Joel. The excerpt that follows from Joel includes just one verse ahead of what Peter had referenced, and the last verse closes with an ending phrase that Peter did not include. Joel 2 "27 And you shall know that I am in the middle of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also on the servants and on the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call." Verse 27 from Joel is beautiful to consider as Christ had certainly walked in the midst of the people of Israel, then sent the Holy Spirit after he had ascended to the right hand of the Father. The last phrase in verse 32 assures that in subsequent generations there will be those who are part of the remnant that the LORD calls before the great day of the Lord.


C - JESUS OF NAZARETH IS THE CHRIST

Acts 2 "22 You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it. 25 For David speaks concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; you shall make me full of joy with your countenance."

COMMENTS: Peter addressed the Jews and the proselytes as "men of Israel" which emphasized that they needed to consider what God had prepared for them as his chosen people. Jesus of Nazareth was a man approved of God among them by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in their midst, as many of them had witnessed to be true. Peter continued by saying Jesus was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, and you took him to be crucified and killed. Except for the working of the Holy Spirit as Peter spoke, the first part of the preceding sentence may not have been enough to keep the audience listening after the last part indicated their part in the death of Jesus. Peter then began to bring out the details that prove that Jesus is more than just a man who had been among them for a brief time. God raised him up, freeing him from the pain of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. Peter then spoke of the closing verses of Psalm 16 in their prophetic application because Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.

Paul spoke in the synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia on the Sabbath day and used some of the same references as Peter had used to make an appeal to those who had knowledge of scripture. Acts 13 "32 And we declare to you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made to the fathers, 33 God has fulfilled the same to us their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you. 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35 Why he said also in another psalm, You shall not suffer your Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid to his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. 38 Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." Peter will continue to be parallel with Paul as they both had declared that David did indeed see corruption in the grave.


D - CHRIST JESUS ON THE THRONE OF DAVID

Acts 2 "29 Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which you now see and hear."

COMMENTS: Peter could speak to those Jews and proselytes because they knew the history of David as king of Israel, and it was common knowledge that he was dead and buried in his tomb there in Jerusalem. Peter said that David had written as a prophet, knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that through his line of descendents in the flesh he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. So David saw this ahead and wrote about the resurrection of Christ, that his flesh did not see corruption and his soul was not left in hell. Peter boldly told the crowd that he and all of those who stood with him were eye witnesses that God had raised Jesus from the dead. If there were some in the large crowd who adhered to the teaching of the Sadducees they would have been likely to mock the working of the Holy Spirit, and have no acceptance of any resurrection. Acts 23 "8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both." Peter could also draw from things that Jesus had told the disciples several times before he was crucified. John 16 "7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." Peter declared that this miraculous sign of seeing these men speaking in so many different languages was from Jesus because he was exalted by the right hand of God and had received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.


E - JESUS IS BOTH LORD AND CHRIST

Acts 2 "34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, 35 Until I make your foes your footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls."

COMMENTS: Peter said it was not David who had ascended into heaven to sit on the right hand of the Lord, as he quoted from Psalm 110 about the resurrection of Christ. Jesus had also referred to that Psalm to ask a question of the Pharisees. Matthew 22 "41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think you of Christ? whose son is he? They say to him, The son of David. 43 He said to them, How then does David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither dared any man from that day forth ask him any more questions." Since that Psalm was not speaking of David, and since Peter had already said that David could speak as a prophet, all of those who are part of the nation of Israel could know with full assurance that this same Jesus that the people of Israel had crucified is both Lord and Christ. There were many who were deeply moved in their hearts and responded to this message by asking Peter and the rest of the apostles what they should do. Peter told them to Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. John the Baptist had spoken of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that would come through Jesus who is much superior to John. Mark 1 "8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be given if asked of God. Luke 11 "13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Peter told his audience the promise of the Holy Spirit was for them , and for their children, and to all that are far off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. The phrase "far off" can apply to distant points around the globe as well as to future generations. Peter warned and pleaded with many other words , telling them to save themselves from their perverse and corrupt generation. Then those who gladly accepted his words were baptized: and the same day about three thousand souls were added to the church. This was largely a very receptive group because the Spirit of God was working within them to bring true heart conviction to repentance by the message they heard.

In the ensuing months and years even though the message was clearly delivered by very dedicated followers of Christ, the result was often strong rejection because the listeners had hardened hearts. Stephen had given an extensive outline that should have led to the conclusion that Jesus is the Christ. When he fearlessly pressed his audience because he knew they were strongly opposed to his message, they became very violent. Acts 7 "51 You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. 54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran on him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling on God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, I thank you for the way you gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to your chosen ones at this large gathering at Pentecost to begin the worldwide growth of your church. Such signs and miracles after the resurrection of Christ validated the authority you gave to common men who had believed and received the eternal life that only you can give so they could spread the gospel during their lifetime, as they also were guided by your Spirit to write more scripture. They were eye witnesses of the many signs and miracles done by Jesus, and of his resurrection and ascension. Thank you, Lord, that by your Spirit I am among those who have accepted your written Word to give me confidence in Christ Jesus as I have heard and read these details long after Peter spoke that day. Though there are no eye witnesses to the resurrection living in my era, I believe your Word is truth, and there is so much validation provided by the inspired writers of the New Testament. I give you my highest praise Jesus, because I believe that you are on the throne of David, and at the right hand of the Father; and you are indeed Lord and Christ. You have called me by your Spirit to repentance, and have saved me from this present perverse and corrupt generation. I ask, Lord, that you use the scripture that I study to keep me in your will, and that my writing and speech will be used of you to draw others to Christ. All glory to my Savior! Amen.

Published 30 August 2015