1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 "`In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him: "`I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'

29 "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.

33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "`The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."' 36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."  Version: New International (British) Version

COMMENTS

General:

  • Pentecost: The Spirit is given, the church is established.
    • Pentecost is the O.T. celebration of the grain harvest (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:15-19). It was one of the three mandatory (for all Jewish males) annual observances, and required a visit to Jerusalem. That is why large crowds are in Jerusalem.
    • However, "staying in Jerusalem" (2:5), a perfect parallel to 13:27, does not necessarily mean the group were predominantly visitors. Ethnically they came from various countries, but these are "permanent residents" in the land of Israel. In v.14, Peter addresses those who live in Judea and Jerusalem. This is not to say there were no pilgrims from other countries in the audience, but they would have constituted a small fraction of the total.
    • This day is a true harvest, the culmination of several years of ministry on the part of Jesus, the twelve, the seventy-two, and others. Note that most in the crowd already know who Jesus is (v.22); they are hardly "first-time visitors." It is a day of decision, the end of a process.
    • Pentecost is Babel in reverse. (See Genesis 11:1-9.)
      • Languages bring the crowd together; they don't scatter them.
      • All nations come together in Christ -- the barriers and hostility are destroyed.
      • This is not a case of man building a structure to his own glory, but the Lord building something to his glory.
    • Miraculous signs indicate God is doing something great: the last days have arrived (vv.1-13).
  • Peter preaches the gospel (vv.14-36). It is not clear to what extent the other eleven apostles are speaking alongside him. He is a transformed man since Luke 22:54-62!
    • As Joel predicted (Joel 2:28ff), the last days have begun (vv.14-21).
      • Israel as a covenant nation has come to an end.
      • The accompanying signs in the citation from Joel are celestial (though figurative, not literal) as well as the outpoured Spirit, which has led to the resumption of the prophetic gift.
      • If you have never read the article on Armageddon!, please do so.
    • We crucified the Messiah, even though his miracles and message proved he was the Christ (vv.22-23).
      • Jesus died according to God's plan and foreknowledge (on the divine level).
      • At the same time, we are responsible for his death (on the human level).
      • It is doubtful that all in the pilgrim crowd directly called for the death of Jesus, yet because all have sinned, are guilty anyway.
    • Yet God raised Jesus from the dead (vv.24-32).
      • This took place in fulfillment of the scriptures (here Peter cites Psalm 16, a psalm of resurrection).
      • David testifies about Christ.
        • David prophesied about one of his descendants who would be his Lord (Psalm 110; Psalm 2; 2 Samuel 7:14; etc). (There is a lot of material at www.douglasjacoby.com about prophecy; please search.)
        • While David stayed dead, the Son of David rose from the dead. David's tomb is still occupied; Christ's is empty!
      • The apostles are eyewitnesses; they have seen the risen Jesus!
    • Jesus has not only undergone death, burial, and resurrection, but also ascension (v.33ff).
      • Since he has returned to heaven, he has poured out the gift of the Spirit on the people of God.
      • What was unavailable in O.T. times -- or the privilege of a very few -- has become the province of all who believe. The scriptures have been fulfilled (Isaiah 44:3 etc).
    • The conclusion of Peter's message (which ends in v.36): God has made Jesus the Christ -- whom you crucified. These are the final words of the sentence in the original Greek word order. The emphasis is on crucifixion. This ties in to and intensifies the response in v.37.

Advanced:

  • Are the 120 of chapter 1 all in the upstairs of one house? This seems unlikely. The group consists of the 12 apostles, all of whom are Galileans (v.7).
  • Which languages were being spoken in vv.6-11?
  • We may (rightly?) assume that the apostolic group was first deemed mad because of the cacophany of languages. Yet the first-century Jewish writer Philo compared the uninhibited joy of worship with drunkenness (see Eph 5:19). Alcohol lowers inhibitions; could it be that the Spirit wants us to be spontaneous (of course, in a godly, scriptural, and orderly way)?
  • V.20 is not referring to an eclipse.
  • Note the O.T. background to the signs mentioned in v.20. In each case earth-shattering catastrophe will affect the people in view. Peter is emphasizing the judgment of Israel (she will no longer be a nation in covenant with the Lord. A new community is now being formed -- the church of Christ.
    • Isa 13:10—Babylon's doom
    • Isa 34:4-6—Edom's doom
    • Jer 4:24—Judah's doom
    • Ezek 32:7—Egypt's doom
    • Joel 2:10—Judah's doom
    • Amos 5:18-20—Israel's doom
    • Amos 8:9—Israel's doom
  • Peter says that the day of the Lord has arrived, doesn't he (v.16-17)? For more, click here.

Thought questions:

  • Am I familiar with the O.T. background (the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost)? Do I see the connections between the O.T. feasts and sacrifices, and their counterparts in the new covenant? For more, see From Shadow to Reality.
  • Would I be able to summarize Peter's gospel sermon in Acts 2, without omitting the crucial O.T. quotations in the earlier part of his message? Or have I fastened on to just a few favorite verses, ignoring the whole?
  • If I claim to be a "New Testament Christian," how do I know my faith and understanding truly rest on the foundation of God's Word in the first 39 books of the Bible?

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