Acts 2


Acts 2:17

‘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;

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?


Acts 2:21

‘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).


Acts 2:22

“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).


Acts 2:27

BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES,
NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.

(a) My soul. The original word for soul is psuche, from which we get the word psychology. This word is sometimes used in scripture to describe the soul-life we inherited from Adam, as opposed to the zoe– or spirit-life we receive from Jesus. See entry for New Life.

(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.


Acts 2:34

“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.


Acts 2:35

UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’

Enemies; see entry for Matt. 22:44.


Acts 2:36

“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?”


Acts 2:37

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)


Acts 2:38

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.


Acts 2:40

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).


Acts 2:41

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.


Acts 2:46

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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