And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Like a violent rushing wind. Luke is using first-century vocabulary to explain a supernatural phenomenon. Was it the sound of a hurricane? Was it something else? All we can say for certain is the arrival of the Holy Spirit was loud, public, and in contrast to the discrete Bethlehem arrival of the Lord Jesus.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Other tongues. Other languages (see Acts 2:6).
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
Every nation. The world of Biblical times was highly segregated. The Jews were prejudiced towards women, Gentiles, and sinners; the Greeks were prejudiced towards barbarians (non-Greeks), and the Romans were prejudiced towards slaves and non-citizens. In contrast, Jesus received everyone without regard for their race, gender or status. He said his kingdom was like a dragnet cast into the sea gathering fish of every kind (Matt. 13:47), and he commissioned his disciples to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). In contrast with the fallen kingdoms of this world, the kingdom of God welcomes people from every tribe and nation (Acts 2:5, 10:35, Rom. 10:12, Gal. 3:28, Eph. 2:13, Col. 3:11, Rev. 7:9, 14:6).
They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
Galileans. In contrast with the sophisticated Judeans, Galileans were considered country yokels. It was strange to hear them speaking foreign languages.
but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
The following prophecy comes from Joel 2:28–32.
‘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;
(a) These last days. We have been living in the last days for 2000 years.
According to Peter, Joel’s last days’ prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. The last days describe the age that began when Jesus walked the earth (see entry for Heb. 1:2).
Further reading: “When are the Last Days?”
(b) Your daughters shall prophesy (Rom. 12:6–7) and preach (Acts 4:31) and teach (1 Cor. 14:26) and generally take an active and vocal role in the church.
(c) Visions. Spiritual visions were experienced by both Old Testament prophets and New Testament believers. Ananias of Damascus had a vision where the Lord told him to visit the Saul, the persecutor of Christians (Acts 9:10), and Saul had a vision of Ananias was coming to see him (Acts 9:12). Cornelius the Gentile had a vision of an angel that resulted in him sending men to Peter (Acts 10:3–6), and Peter had a vision about unclean food that changed the way he thought about Gentiles (Acts 10:10–15). Paul had a vision at night of a man from Macedonia (Acts 16:9–10), and in Corinth, he had another night-time vision where the Lord encouraged him to keep on speaking (Acts 18:9–10).
EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.
(a) And women. In the Old Testament, women were silent and sidelined, but in the new covenant women were to remain silent no longer. From now on, they would be treated as equal partners in the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
(b) And they shall prophesy. We should have no doubt about what the Bible says on this topic: women can prophesy (see Rom. 12:6–7, 1 Cor. 14:31, 39). Women can use whatever gifts God gave them (1 Pet. 4:10, 11).
‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS 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.
(a) Wonders in the sky. Heavenly signs, specifically the glorious ascension of the Lord (which Peter had just witnessed; Acts 1:9). Jesus made a similar prediction on the Mount of Olives: “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky” (see entry for Matt. 24:30). That prophecy illuminates this one.
(b) Blood, fire, smoke. Although the last days have lasted many generations, Peter was speaking to his generation (see Acts 2:40). The blood, fire, and smoke could be a reference to the evils that would befall Judea when the Romans besieged Jerusalem in AD70. Of these calamities Jesus had said, “Truly, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34).
(c) The sun will be turned to darkness. This is idiomatic language, the Jewish equivalent of, “The sky is falling.” See entry for Matt. 24:29.
(d) Before. The events Peter has been describing – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, prophesying sons and daughters, heavenly wonders – were being fulfilled right before his listeners’ eyes. Other events, such as the sun being metaphorically darkened, would occur within their lifetimes. All these things would happen before the culminating event of the age. Just as the last days began with Christ’s glorious ascension to heaven, they will conclude with his glorious descent to earth.
(e) The great and glorious day of the Lord is the day the Lord returns in physical form to earth with his mighty angels in flaming fire (2 Th. 1:7). This day is also known as the day of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:10), the day of Christ (Php 1:10), the day of visitation (1 Pet. 2:12), the day of God (2 Pet. 3:12), the day of eternity (2 Pet. 3:18), the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5), the day of judgment (2 Pet. 2:9, 3:7) or simply the day (2 Pet. 1:19). See also the entry for Matt. 10:15.
‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’
(a) Whoever calls on the name of the Lord. In the New Testament, there are more than 200 imperative statements linked with faith. Some of these statements exhort us to: receive Jesus (John 1:11-12, 5:43), receive the message of Jesus (John 17:8), obey or heed the message or good news of Jesus (John 17:6) and turn to God in repentance (Acts 26:20).
Other scriptures encourage us to accept the word (Mark 4:20), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9), call on the name of the Lord (Act 2:21), eat the bread of life (John 6:50-51), be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20), submit to God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:3), and be born again (John 3:3, 7).
But the one imperative that appears far more than any other, is the instruction to believe. We are to believe in Jesus (see entry for John 3:16).
“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—
Jesus the Nazarene. A Nazarene was someone from Nazareth, a Galilean town of little consequence. In Judea, Jesus was known as a Nazarene in fulfilment of prophecy (see entry for Matt. 2:23).
“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.
At my right hand. The Son shares his Father’s throne; see entry for Matt. 22:44.
BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES,
NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.
(a) My soul. Your soul is you. It is that part of you that contains your personality, memories, and intentions. Metaphorically, it is your heart and mind. The Greek word for soul, psuche, is related to the word psychology, which has to do with the mind. We might say the soul resides in your mind – or perhaps your mind resides in your soul – and it is that part of you that thinks, feels, and remembers. Your soul can be contrasted with your body (see entry for Matt. 10:28) and your spirit (see entry for Luke 1:46–47).
(b) Hades is the Greek word for Sheol, the Old Testament abode of the dead. Peter is quoting Ps. 16:10: “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will you allow your Holy One to undergo decay.” See also the entry for Matt. 16:18.
(c) Your Holy One refers to Jesus; see entry for Mark 1:24.
he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.
(a) The resurrection. David knew the Messiah would be raised from the dead.
(b) The flesh. His body. See entry for The Flesh.
“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
Witnesses. The Risen Lord appeared to more than 500 people (1 Cor. 15:6). Of this number, 120 seem to have been present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:15).
“For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
(a) The Lord. Jesus had asked, “If the Messiah is the son of David as you say, how is it that David calls him Lord?” (Matt. 22:43). The Pharisees didn’t know how to respond, but Peter did (see Acts 2:36).
(b) Sit at my right hand. Christ has been exalted from servant to supreme ruler of all (Eph. 1:20). The Son shares his Father’s throne; see entry for Matt. 22:44.
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’
Enemies; see entry for Matt. 22:44.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
This Jesus. “It was not David or a mere descendent who ascended, but this Jesus whom you killed. And God has exalted him to the highest place. So what are you going to do about it?”
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?”
Pierced. They were upset or deeply troubled by what they had done.
Jesus said the Jews would mourn when they realized they had crucified the Messiah (see entry for Matt. 24:30), and six weeks later 3,000 did. Then they repented and got baptized (Acts 2:41)
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.
(a) Repent. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). Peter is echoing Jesus who said “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of God’s grace and forgiveness.” See entry for Repentance.
(b) Repent… for the forgiveness of your sins. A better translation is “repent and receive the gift of forgiveness.” We are not forgiven because we repent and are baptized; we are forgiven in accordance with the riches of his grace (see Eph. 1:7). Forgiveness is a gift to receive (Acts 26:18) rather than a wage to be earned. See entry for Forgiveness.
(c) Be baptized. Peter was referring to water baptism since this was something he had done with Jesus (John 3:22, 4:1-2). We are not forgiven of our sins because we are baptized. Rather, water baptized is an act of faith that testifies to the baptism of the believer into Christ’s body done by the Holy Spirit. See entry for Acts 10:47.
(b) Forgiveness. The original word (aphesis) is a noun that is sometimes translated as remission and means a letting go or dismissal (see entry for Luke 24:47).
On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus told the disciples to preach the remission of sins or the good news of unconditional forgiveness (Luke 24:47). Because of his great love, God chooses to remember your sins no more (Heb. 8:12, 10:17), and he is no longer holding your sins and trespasses against you (2 Cor. 5:19). However, you will never experience his forgiveness unless you receive it by faith. Only in Christ do we have the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14). See also the entry for Acts 13:38.
(e) You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. When someone comes to Christ they are born again or born of the Spirit (John 3:8). They receive the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9) and are adopted into his family.
“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.”
(a) You and your children. The Jews (Acts 2:5).
(b) And for all who are far off. The Gentiles.
The Jews were looking for a Jewish Messiah to save them, but Peter remembered the Lord’s commission to preach the good news to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”
Be saved from this perverse generation! Alternatively, be saved from the corrupt and evil culture of this present age.
Neither Jesus nor the apostles ever preached be saved from hell. We are saved from our enemies (Luke 1:71) the chief of which is death (Ps. 33:19, 116:8). The effects of sin and death are felt in our fallen world, hence Peter’s exhortation to be saved from this perverse or corrupt generation, and Paul’s exhortation to be saved from the evils of the present age (Gal. 1:4). We are also saved from the wrath that God has towards his enemies (Rom. 5:9).
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
(a) Received his word. Just as the disciples received the words of Jesus (John 17:8), the three thousand received or heeded the word of Peter. To receive is to believe. We are to believe in Jesus (see entry for John 3:16).
(b) Baptized; see entry for Acts 10:47.
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
The temple. The cross and the temple stood in opposition to one another, yet Christ’s cross came down while the temple stayed up. That building, so hostile to the Lord, did not tumble during the earthquake that accompanied his death. Nor was it consumed by heavenly fire when he rose from the grave. This is grace, and this is what God does. He redeems and repurposes. He takes those things that are opposed to him and turns them around for good.
God did not curse Jerusalem (see entry for Acts 1:8) and he did not demolish the temple. When he needed a venue for the early church, he chose the courts of the most anti-Christ building in the world (Acts 2:46, 3:11, 5:12, 42).
When the apostles performed their first miracle, it was at the gates of the temple (Acts 3:2). When an angel released the apostles from prison, he told them to preach the gospel at the temple (Acts 5:20). And after the apostles were flogged and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus, they daily continued to preach the good news at the temple (Acts 5:42). That the Lord would choose this building and this city to demonstrate his goodness and power speaks volumes to the graciousness of a good God who does not treat us as our sins deserve.
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- Acts 2:2
- Acts 2:4
- Acts 2:5
- Acts 2:7
- Acts 2:16
- Acts 2:17
- Acts 2:18
- Acts 2:19-20
- Acts 2:21
- Acts 2:22
- Acts 2:25
- Acts 2:27
- Acts 2:31
- Acts 2:32
- Acts 2:34
- Acts 2:35
- Acts 2:36
- Acts 2:37
- Acts 2:38
- Acts 2:39
- Acts 2:40
- Acts 2:41
- Acts 2:46