For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out 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; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore, my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
When reading the Book of Acts, it is easy to see Pentecost as sort of the “Highlight” of chapter 2. After all, this is a huge event, and was essentially the dawn of the Christian Church. However, this chapter goes on to record an incredibly powerful sermons to the early Church. Peter taught about Jesus by citing both Old Testament prophecy (which would have been well known in Jewish culture, especially in Jerusalem), and a Davidic psalm. David was revered in Jewish culture, so those words would have carried a lot of weight. This sermon’s seamless use of both Old Testament prophecies and recent New Testament events surely resonated with much of its audience.
In fact, Peter showed where David was pointing forward to Jesus, like all Old Testament scripture does. David, arguably the greatest King in all of Israel’s history, was still a sinful man. He died a human death and did not ascend into heaven. However, the new King, the Eternal King, took on death and won! He defeated the Devil, came back to Earth, and then ascended to heaven 40 days later.
Peter was also not shy about pointing out the sin of those around him as he preached. This would not have been a popular thing to say, but in the midst of talking about Jesus’ divinity, he says: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Although Pilate gave the order to crucify Jesus, they were ultimately the ones who killed him. Jesus’ blood was on them, and Peter was not shy about telling them that.
It is important to note that Jesus’ blood is also on us. Every sin that we have committed, every time we have gone against God’s Will, we nail Jesus to that cross. You and I are really the ones who belong up on that cross paying for those sins. Remembering that reminds me of the gravity of the fact that God himself would suffer such a horrible death to save me.
Peter reminds those listening, including us, that all of Scripture points to Jesus. God’s Word speaks law to us, reminding us of our sin. It also tells us of the salvation we have in Jesus alone and the promise of eternal life we have through the gift of faith. It could be very easy to ignore certain parts of the Bible that make people uncomfortable or that are countercultural. But Scripture is not the word of man, but the Word of God. In it we hear both Law and Gospel. Therefore, it is important to pray to God for repentance and to help us live by His Word.
Dear Heavenly Father, please send me your Spirit to help me live according to your Will. I know that I am not perfect, and never will be. But, please help me turn away from my sins anyway. Please also be with all those around me. Allow me to serve them and share with them both your Law and your Gospel. Thank you for your unchanging Word, and for sending Jesus to take my rightful punishment. In His name, Amen.
- What are some parts of the Bible that are not necessarily “Popular” in our culture?
- Why do you think Peter made a point to mention that it was the Jews who killed Jesus?