Acts 2:1-41


As I was preparing this lesson, a man came into my office and noted the working title which I was using: "The Pentecost Incident." He asked me, "Are you a Pentecostal?"

"No," I replied, "But the Bible DOES describe a Pentecostal event which took place."

Something special and spectacular took place in the 2nd chapter of Acts. It was an event, the like of which had never before taken place. In the first chapter of Acts, we saw the preparations for that event.

Acts 1:1-11

Acts 1:12-14

Acts 1:15-26

Acts 2:1-42

The Church's Work Foretold

The Church's Workers Selected

The Church's Birth

Jesus Identifies the Task

The Church Prepares for the Task

The Apostles Choose a Worker

The Spirit Comes





Period of 40 days

Period of 10 days

One day

There is an interesting contrast to be made between the first two chapters of Acts. The first is the chapter of PROMISE. The second is the chapter of FULFILLMENT. In each chapter, Peter serves as the spokesman.

Acts 1

Acts 2

Preparing the way for the Church

The Church is Born

Christ ascends into Heaven

The Holy Spirit Comes

Equipped by Christ

Empowered by the Holy Spirit

Disciples will be witnesses to the ends of the earth

The ends of the earth come to listen to the Disciples

The theme of the book of Acts was summed up in Acts 1:8 - it is the account of the witness of the Apostles. Chapter 1 is prepatory to the witness of the apostles. Chapter 2 begins that work of being a witness.



1. Setting for the Story.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1).

When we say the word "Pentecost," we think of charismatics and speaking in tongues and the birth of the church. But the Jews living in the first century had a different idea when they heard this word. Pentecost was not a new concept to them. It was something from antiquity, going back over a thousand years.

Pentecost was one of the festivals which was established by the Lord in Leviticus 23. It took place 50 days after the Passover. For this reason, it was named after the Greek word for FIFTY. It Hebrew it was known as the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Sevens. It took place after a week of weeks - after seven weeks.

During this feast, Jews would come from all over the world to celebrate the promise of the harvest. It was a celebration of freedom and a celebration of the Law. The Jews would come in their caravans, carrying baskets filled with the firstfruits of their crops as an offering to the Lord.

The Jews had come to associate the Feast of Pentecost with the giving of the Law. The rabbis taught that the Law was given to Moses 50 days after the Passover.

There were three Springtime Feasts observed by the Jews:




14th of Nisan

First day of the week following the Passover

50 days after Passover

Passover lamb slain & eaten in a meal of remembrance

Sheaves of grain waved before the house of the Lord

Two loaves of bread prepared from the grain

Commemorated deliverance from Egypt

Celebrated the promise of the harvest

Commemorated the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai

a. The Passover.

This commemorated the delivering of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. The Lord brought 10 plagues against Egypt, each one worse than the one before. The final plague was the death of every firstborn in the land of Egypt. Even the Israelites were not exempt from this plague. But the Lord gave a way of escape. A lamb was to be sacrificed for each family and its blood placed upon the door posts and the lintel of each home so that, when the angel of death saw the blood, it would PASS OVER that home.

b. The Feast of Firstfruits.

This feast took place on the first Sunday following the Passover. On this day, a bundle of wheat was brought to the temple and waved before the presence of the Lord to seek His blessings upon all the crops that would follow. The bundle of wheat was seen as a pledge of a much greater harvest to follow.

c. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.

Two loaves of bread were prepared from that bundle of wheat as a part of a celebration for the harvest which was still to come.

Each of these feasts foreshadowed Christ and His Church. It is no mistake that Jesus was crucified on the Passover. He is the Passover Lamb who gives His life for the sins of the world. When His death is applied to us through faith, God's judgement passes over us and we are set free.

Neither is it any mistake that Jesus rose on the first day of the Feast of Firstfruits. He is our firstfruit from the dead - the promise of a resurrection harvest.

Finally, there is a correlation between the Feast of Sevens and the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost.

The Feast of Weeks

The Pentecost Event

Represented the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai

Involved the giving of the Spirit at the birth of the Church

The Law was written on tablets of stone

The Spirit lives within men's hearts

The giving of the Law was accompanied by peals of lighting and thunder.

The giving of the Spirit was accompanied by the sound of a mighty rushing wind and tongues of fire.

Two loaves of bread were prepared from the harvested wheat.

The Lord has gathered into one people from both Israel and the Gentiles to make His church.

This offering of leavened bread is the only instance of leaven being offered to the Lord in a sacrifice.

The church is not perfect. It is made up of sinners who commit real sins.

Do you see what is happening? God is setting something into motion that He planned from the foundation of the world. This tells us something about the church. The church is a part of something that started a long time before the first century.

2. The Gathering of the Godly.

...they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1).

What were they doing in one place together? The answer is seen back in Acts 1:14. They were praying together. Acts 2 happened because of what happened in Acts 1.

Where were they?

Verse 2 will speak of the "house" in which they were gathered. This is probably NOT the Temple, since when Luke wants to speak of the Temple, he calls it the Temple (Acts 2:48).

3. The Observable Phenomenon.

And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. (Acts 2:2-3).

That which happened on this day fell into two categories. First were those things which were observable. Second were those things which were not observable - which could not be discerned through human senses. There were two types of observable phenomenon.

a. That which they Heard.

It does not say that the wind began to blow. It says that there was a SOUND which sounded like the wind. It was the sound of this wind that filled the entire house.

We are used to the sounds of sirens. We are able to tune them out. But a loud rushing sound in THAT day was spectacular.

b. That which they Saw.

They saw what appeared to be tongues of fire. These tongues distributed themselves over each of the believers.

Notice that the passage does not say that they FELT anything. Don't get me wrong. I think that feelings are wonderful. It is great to feel spiritual and I enjoy the warm fuzzies every once in a while. But the experience on that day had nothing to do with feelings.

What was the significance of these tongues of fire? It was a new event. There had never been an instance of tongues of fire in the Old Testament. Or had there? When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they were led in their travels by a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. When they were not traveling, this smoke and fire would position itself over the Tabernacle. This was the place where God manifested His presence. It was the Tent of Meeting. It served as the dwelling place of God. The smoke and the fire were a sign that God was there.

Now it is happening again. But this time there is a difference. This time the manifestation of the flaming presence of God is not positioned over a tent. This time it is over PEOPLE. Why? Because they ARE the new tabernacle and the temple of God.

4. The Heavenly Speech.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. (Acts 2:4).

What does it mean to speak with other tongues? It simply means to speak in a different language. These disciples were Jews who had grown up in Galilee. They would have been tri-lingual.

At least to some degree, these men could speak these three languages. They probably did so with a Galilean accent. But now something spectacular began to happen. They began to speak in all sorts of other languages. These were languages with which they were not familiar.

The diversity of tongues had first taken place at the Tower of Babel. It had been the result of sin and judgment. It was a curse. Now something has taken place that overturns sin and judgment. And the curse of languages is reversed by the gift of tongues. Where there was confusion of languages, now there will be order. And where men have lived in darkness, they shall see the light of the gospel.

We often come to this passage and see only the issue of tongues. But if we do that, we will miss what is happening here. Tongues was the outward sign. But to what did this outward sign point? It pointed to the SPIRIT.

This brings us to a key question. How are we to evaluate the modern day phenomenon commonly described as "speaking in tongues?" Is it the same as that which took place in this chapter? Is it something different? Is it something for which we ought to be seeking?

They were not "unknown tongues." Indeed, the Bible nowhere speaks of "unknown tongues." The word "unknown" does not occur in 1 Corinthians 14 in the Greek language - only in the King James Version.



Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.

And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

"And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?

"Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God."

And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"

But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine." (Acts 2:5-13).

There was no nation on the earth which did not have a Jewish population. The Jews had been scattered throughout the entire known world in two different dispersions.

First the ten northern tribes of Israel had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 721 A.D. Then Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had taken away the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 B.C. Although there had been many who had returned to Canaan over the years, there were a great many more who did not. There were now Jewish communities throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.

These Jews of the Diaspora still retained their Jewish heritage. They continued to believe in the God of the Scriptures and to worship Him. There were synagogues in any town or village that had at least 10 Jewish men.

And occasionally, Jews from these far-off communities would make the pilgrimage to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. There were many who had come for the Passover and who had stayed to celebrate the Feast of Weeks.

Most of these people were at least bilingual. They spoke Greek and/or Aramaic which were the two primary common languages of the known world. But those who were from far away places also had another language. They would speak the language of the country in which they lived. Verses 9 and 10 list some of these countries. They came from every direction.



East of Jerusalem

Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia

The Land of Jerusalem


North of Jerusalem

Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia

Southwest of Jerusalem

Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene

West of Jerusalem


Southeast of Jerusalem

Cretans and Arabs

There were two reactions. The first was one of wonder and amazement. These were the people who heard the gospel being preached in the language of their residence. They wondered how this could be.

The second reaction was found in those who leaped to a rational explanation. They concluded that those speaking in tongues were drunk. Perhaps they came to this conclusion because they heard languages that they did NOT understand. They might have heard a disciple speaking in the language of Cappadocia, but they did not happen to understand Cappadocian and so they concluded that it was merely meaningless gibberish.



But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.

"For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

"And it shall be in the last days, "God says, "that I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

"And I will grant wonders in the sky above and on the earth below, blood and fire, and vapor of smoke.

"The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.

"And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Acts 2:14-21).

Peter stands and speaks. It had been Peter who had spoken up in chapter 1 regarding the necessity of appointing a replacement for Judas Iscariot. Once again, he is acting as the leader of the apostles, speaking as their spokesman.

This is the first Post-Resurrection Sermon. These men had preached before. This is not the first sermon that Peter had ever preached. He had been a part of an Israelite Mission Team. He had gone out with many other disciples in a ministry of preaching and teaching and healing and casting out demons.

But something new had happened. Jesus had instituted a NEW Covenant - one involving His own body and blood. No longer would the presence of God as signified by a cloud or a pillar of fire come into a tabernacle or a temple in Jerusalem. From now on, the spirit of God would come and reside in His LIVING temple - the church.

The Pentecost Experience was a renewal of the covenant. That is a part of what Pentecost commemorated - the first giving of the Law and the covenant which accompanied that Law.

Remember Sinai? There was fire and noise and a message from God. Now it is happening again.

The Giving of the Law on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19).

The Filling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2).

  • Sons of Israel came to the foot of Mount Sinai (19:16).
  • A very loud trumpet sound (19:16).
  • Smoke of a furnace (19:18).
  • They are given the Law through Moses and Aaron (19:24).
  • They were all gathered together in one place
  • A noise like a violent rushing wind
  • Tongues of fire
  • They were all filled with the Holy Spirit

1. These Men are Not Drunk.

Peter gives an apologetic. To do this, he first answers the skeptic. It is a rational argument. How did Peter know of this objection? He was listening. He was responding to the issue at hand. One of the reasons that we are ineffective is that we do not listen. We must listen if we are to answer the questions the world is asking.

There was a spiritual reality which brought questions. One reason that people today do not ask about our faith is because they see no reality in the church.

Peter points out that it is a bit early in the day for people to be drunk. He uses the Jewish method of reckoning time. The third hour of the day was three hours after sunrise - about 9 in the morning.

In Ephesians 5:18 the apostle Paul says, "Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." That is exactly what had happened here. They were not drunk on the SPIRITS. They were drunk on THE Spirit.

2. The Prophet Joel.

Peter puts this event into the context of the Old Testament. Joel's prophecy has just been fulfilled. This is apostolic teaching. You may not like it. You may not understand it. But you must believe it.

Jesus promised that He would send a Comforter. It was a significant turning point in God's redemptive history.

Verse 17 starts out with the phrase, "In the last days." But Joel did not say that, neither in the Hebrew nor in the Septuagint. Joel simply says, "Afterward." Do you see what is happening? Peter is interpreting the words of Joel. He tells us what Joel's words mean. He says that these are the last days. The Jews took the "last days" to refer to the Messianic Age. Peter is saying that we have entered that age. He is not alone in his statement.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in THESE LAST DAYS has spoken to us in His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2a).

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in THESE LAST TIMES for the sake of you (1 Peter 1:20).

The end of all things is at hand... (1 Peter 4:7a).

Children, it is THE LAST HOUR... (1 John 2:18a).

One of the signs of the last days was a return of prophecy.

"Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth My Spirit and they shall prophecy." (Acts 2:18).

What is prophecy?

a. It is not ONLY foretelling the future.

It is speaking the word of God - announcing the plan and purpose of the Lord.

b. It is based upon Scripture.

When Elijah said that it would not rain, he was referring to the prophecy of Moses that judgment would come.

c. It is applying the Scripture to the historical moment.

Joel's prophecy was radical. It included old and young. It included men and women. Paul would later give regulations for the ministry of women prophets.

3. The Elements of Joel's Prophecy.

Peter identifies what is happening with a prophecy from the book of Joel. It is a prophecy of the Day of the Lord. Peter quotes this prophecy. Notice the elements of the prophecy.

How are we to understand this prophecy? How much of this was fulfilled in Peter's day? I want to suggest that ALL of it was fulfilled in Peter's day.

4. The Day of the Lord.

The point of these prophecies is that they were given as signs. They would take place before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come (2:20). What is the "Day of the Lord?" The phrase is used throughout the Old Testament to describe a day of JUDGMENT.

Wail ye; for the day of the Lord is near;

It will come as destruction from the Almighty. (Isaiah 13:6).

Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,

Cruel, with fury and burning anger,

To make the land a desolation;

And He will exterminate its sinners from it. (Isaiah 13:9).

Alas for the day!

For the day of the Lord is near,

And it will come as destruction from the Almighty. (Joel 1:15).

The Day of the Lord is not always in the future. Jeremiah, the writer of the book of Lamentations, describes the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. as being a fulfillment of the Day of the Lord.

Thou didst call as in the day of an appointed feast
My terrors on every side;
And there was no one who escaped or survived
In the day of the Lord's anger.
Those whom I bore and reared,
My enemy annihilated them. (Lamentations 2:22).

Does the fact that the Day of the Lord was fulfilled in 586 B.C. mean that there are no other fulfillments? No, it does not. Peter saw a fulfillment in his day. And he elsewhere described another fulfillment which is still to come.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10).

The Day of the Lord is that time when God's hand enters history in judgment. It came in Peter's day. And it will come again in the future.

5. Darkness and Blood.

"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood..." (Acts 2:20).

Is this future? Although the sun was darkened when Jesus died on the cross, the moon was not turned to blood. On the other hand, such language is used in the Old Testament to describe God working in past history to bring judgment against certain nations. An example of this is seen in Ezekiel's lamentation over Pharaoh of Egypt...

"And when I extinguish you, I will cover heaven and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light.

"All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you and will set darkness on your land," declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 12:7-8).

One of the marks of God's judgment against Egypt was DARKNESS. It happened first in the plagues. It happened figuratively with the fall of Egypt. And it happened when Jesus hung between heaven and hell.

Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. (Matthew 27:45).

The sun became dark. There was a fulfillment of prophecy. It was a sign of judgment.

This was the Day of the Lord. It was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Peter sees the signs of the last days as taking place in the events of the last 50 days.

6. Salvation.

"And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts 2:21).

This is the point of Joel's prophecy. It is that there is a way of salvation. Peter uses this as a springboard to speak of the salvation that God has provided through Jesus.

This tells me something about a proper use of prophecy. Prophecy is not given to satisfy our curiosity. It is not given so that we can draw up charts of the future and plan out events before they happen. It is certainly not given so that we can argue about premillennialism versus amillennialism. It is given to produce a response in us. It is given so that we might believe and so that we might live differently.



"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know -- 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. (Acts 2:22-24).

Peter addresses himself to those who are gather. He calls them, "Men of Israel."

It does not matter that they have gathered from every nation under heaven - they are still Israelites.

    1. The Attestation of Miracles: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst (2:22). There are three words used here to describe the miraculous works of Jesus.

Do you see the correlation between the way Peter describes the ministry of Jesus with the words of Joel's prophecy? Joel said that there would be wonders and signs. And Jesus came with wonders and signs. He is the fulfillment of the prophets.

2. Jesus was delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (2:23).

The cross was planned by God. As was the betrayal by Judas. As was the complicity of the high priest. As was the role played by the Roman government. These things did not happen by chance. They were part of a grand design. God both FOREKNEW and also PREDETERMINED this plan.

Don't miss the implications of this! It means that God's plan includes the sinful acts of men. That does not mean that God is a sinner. He is absolutely righteous. Neither does it aleviate men from their responsibility in sinning. Men are responsible for both their actions and their attitudes. But those attitudes and actions are not outside of the realm of God's plan. It is important for you to know this for several reasons:

If God is only in control of some things, he is not absolutely in control.

God IS in control of all things. This includes all things that come into your life. And therefore, He can guarantee that the promises He makes on your behalf WILL be fulfilled.

We will come to recognize that we cannot "figure God out." He is not so predictable as we would like Him to be. His ways are far above our ways and past finding out. He hardly ever checks with me before acting.

In C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Lucy asks whether Aslan is safe. The Beaver replies, "Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn't safe. But he's good."

There are certain things of which we SHOULD be afraid. A fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. On the other hand, a realization that God is in control of even the evil deeds of the wicked means that I no longer have to fear those evil deeds. Anything man attempts to do against me must pass first through a nail-scarred hand.

This is a great consolation, for it means that my sins cannot separate me from the love of God. However, this does not take away my responsibility for my sins. God's sovereignty in no way diminishes man's responsibility. This is vividly seen in the words of Peter.

God's Sovereignty

Man's responsibility

This Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God...

You nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

3. God raised Him up again (2:24).

There is a contrast presented between the actions of men versus the actions of God. Men brought death. God raised from the dead.

What Men Did

What God Did



Raised Him up again

You nailed Him to a cross

By the hands of godless men

This is the main theme of Peter's sermon. It is the main theme of nearly every sermon preached in the book of Acts. Why is this? I want to suggest several reasons.

Once you have come to terms with the truth of the resurrection, it is easy to stand up against opposition, even if it means to the death. After all, where is the fear of death if you are standing for the One who has the power to raise the dead?



"For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.

"‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope; 27 because You will not abandom my soul to hades, not allow Your holy one to undergo decay.

"'You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.'" (Acts 2:25-28).

Having stated the fact of the resurrection, Peter now moves to show that this event was one which had been promised in the Old Testament Scriptures.

To do this, he quotes from one of the Psalms of David. The quote is from Psalm 16. It is a Psalm of prayer in which David prays for deliverance. In the midst of that Psalm, he thanks the Lord and anounces the source of his confidence.

For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay. (Psalm 16:10).

The New American translators have been careful both in Psalms and here in Acts to preserve one particular word in the original text.

Psalm 16:10


The realm of the dead

Acts 2:27


Either the grave or hell

Peter was not using this text to suggest that Jesus had been in hell. He was showing that the Old Testament had promised that Jesus would not remain in the grave.



"Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

"And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to Him with an oath to seat one of His descendants on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.

"This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses." (Acts 2:29-32).

Peter has just quoted a Psalm of David in verses 25-28. But though David was speaking in that Psalm in the first person, he could not possibly have been talking about himself. The reason that he could not have been talking about himself is that David died and was buried and is still in the grave. But the person of the prophecy would not have his soul remain in the grave. He would rise again. David did not rise again. He has still not risen again. Therefore the person of this prophecy could not have been David.

From where Peter was standing, he may have been able to point to David's tomb. By implications, he is saying that if you don't think that David is still there, we can go and look at the place where he is. Therefore, the words of the prophecy of Psalm 16:8-11 cannot refer to David.

The person of this prophecy is not David. But it IS someone who is related to David. It is one of David's descendants. It was the Messiah - the anointed one of God. David had been anointed by the prophet Samuel. But David's descendant was One who would be anointed by God Himself.

David's prophecy described the resurrection of the Anointed One - the Messiah - the Christ. It described Jesus. It was Jesus who rose from the dead.

Notice what Peter says: "This Jesus God raised up again, to which WE ARE ALL WITNESSES."

In Acts 1:8 Jesus said that the apostles would receive the Spirit and that they would be witnesses. Here we see the fulfillment of that promise. The message of the gospel was not mere hearsay. It is the testimony of eyewitnesses who reported that which they had seen.



"Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. (Acts 2:33).

Jesus had ascended into heaven so that the Spirit could come to earth. The Jews had not seen the ascension. For the most part, they had not seen the resurrection. What they HAD seen is the evidence of the pouring forth of the Spirit. They had heard the sound of a violent, rushing wind. They had heard the gospel being proclaimed in the languages of the Gentiles.

We are like those Jews. We have not seen the risen Christ with our own eyes. We did not see Him ascend into heaven. The only thing that we are able to see in the evidence of the Spirit at work in our lives today.



"For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'The Lord said to my lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."'

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ -- this Jesus whom you crucified." (Acts 2:34-36).

Peter had earlier quoted a Psalm of David. Now he cites another Psalm of David. Again it is a Messianic Psalm.

Psalm 16

Psalm 110

You will not abandom my soul to hades, not allow Your holy one to undergo decay

‘The Lord said to my lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."'

Peter quotes this to show that the resurrection was promised in the Scriptures

Peter quotes this to show that the ascension was promised in the Scriptures

The picture of making the necks of enemies to be a footstool was a common one in ancient times. A king would demonstrate his victories by having all of the conquered kings come and kneel before him. The conqueror would then place his foot upon the head or neck of the vanquished, showing to all that a victory had taken place.

Jesus won the battle over sin and death upon the cross. But it isn't apparent to everyone else that He won. And so, He awaits the day when all creation will be shown that He has won the victory.



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?" (Acts 2:37).

When I was in Seminary, I took a preaching class in which we were given three basic rules of preaching: Stand up, speak up, and then when you are done, shut up.

Peter never got to the "shut up." The crowd interrupted him. He never got the chance to finish his message He was interrupted by the crowd. The reason for this interruption is because they were pierced to the heart.

The Old Testament prophet Zechariah had foretold of a day when the Spirit of God would be poured out upon Jerusalem and the result would be one of mourning and weeping.

"And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born." (Zechariah 12:10).

Notice the double piercing. The Jews in Peter's day were pierced to the heart. Why? Because they realized the identity of the One whom they had pierced.



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.

"For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself."(Acts 2:38-39).

Peter now for the first time in his sermon gives a command and an injunction to his hearers. Up to this point he has been giving them information. He has been telling them the facts of the gospel. Now he calls for a response on their behalf. This is the "so what" of the sermon.

The gospel demands a response on my part. That response is seen in these areas of repentance and baptism. Repentance is the inward response. And baptism is the outward response..

1. Repent.

The Greek word used here is the aorist imperative of metaneo. The aorist tense shows this repentance as a complete action. They were to do it NOW - as opposed to a continuing action as would be the case with a present imperative. This tells us something about repentance. Repentance is not an issue of education. Neither is it a process. It is an act that takes place in time.

is a compoud word. It is made from the joining of two Greek words together.

Meta is the preposition "with."

Noeo is the verb, "to think."

But the resulting compound involves more than merely how you think. Repentance involves a CHANGE of heart. It describes a change of attitude which results in a change of life.

2. Let Each of You be Baptized.

Peter considered baptism to be the outward sign of an inward heart of repentance. Baptism was not a new concept. John had baptized. And the disciples of Jesus had baptized. These baptisms carried the idea of IDENTIFICATION.

Those baptized by John were identifying themselves with the repentance and kingdom preaching of John.

When Jesus came and was baptized by John, he was not doing so to signify any sort of forgiveness of sins - it was to identify himself with the preaching and teaching of John.

Those baptized by the disciples of Jesus were identifying themselves with the teachings and the person of Jesus.

There is a sense in which baptism does on the outside what repentance does on the inside.



An inward act

An outward act

Involves an inward turning toward God

Involves an outward symbol of identification with God

3. Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

This clause makes it appear that the rite of baptism somehow imparts upon one the forgiveness of sins. But the preposition "for" has been poorly translated. It is the preposition . It is usually tranlsated "into", but it can occasionally read "because of" or "with reference to."

"For David says OF Him, 'I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken'" (Acts 2:25).

"The men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation at the judgement, and shall condemn it because they repented AT the preaching of Jonah..." (Matthew 12:41).

...yet, WITH RESPECT TO the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God (Romans 4:20).

We use the word "for" in the same way. If I say that a criminal is going to prison FOR his crimes, I do not mean that he is going to prison in order to receive his crimes.

Baptism does not take place so that you CAN be forgiven. It takes place WITH REFERENCE to forgiveness and it takes place BECAUSE of forgiveness.

But this does not mean that we should minimize the importance of baptism. The norm within Christianity is for Christians to be baptized. Indeed, the Bible knows nothing of an unbaptized Christian.

This brings us to another question. What is the significance of baptism? What does it mean when someone is baptized?

a. Baptism is a rite of initiation into the body of Christ.

b. Baptism is a sign of identification with Christ and with His church.

c. Baptism is a sign of faith and affirmation.

4. The Gift of the Holy Spirit.


Aorist PLURAL Imperative - "All of you"

...and each of you be baptized...

3rd person SINGULAR aorist imperative - "Each of you"

...and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

2nd person PLURAL future indicative - "All of you"

From the above chart, it can be demonstrated that the gift of the Holy Spirit is more closely tied with REPENTANCE than with BAPTISM.

The point that Peter makes is that the gift of the Holy Spirit which took place at Pentecost is not a unique event. It is an event into which OTHERS can enter as they repent and turn to God. That is the point of Joel's prophecy - that the Spirit would be poured out on ALL flesh.

Indeed, one of the definitions of a Christian is that a Christian is one who has the Spirit of God. Paul said this.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:9).

Does this mean that all Christians must speak in tongues? No. The Bible teaches that not all of the gifts of God's Spirit are given to each one of God's people. Specifically, it says that all do not speak with tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30). But all DO demonstrate in some way the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.

5. The Recepients of the Promise are mentioned in verse 39.

It is a covenant promise. Covenant promises are always family promises. Peter says that the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off. Notice the three groups.

    • For you
    • For your children
    • For all who are far off

Peter was speaking to Jews. This message of repentance was for them. It was also for their children. The children of those who believe always receive a special blessing. But that is not all. The promise is also for all who are far off. Peter didn't know it, but even in this first sermon he was giving an invitation for the Gentile world to come to Christ.


And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"

So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:40-41).

This was a tremendous response. The response did not come because Peter's sermon was so eloquent. Peter said in verse 39 why the response was so great. Peter had said that the promise was directed to as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself. It was God who called 3000 that day. Peter did the preaching. But God did the persuading.

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