Acts 2:32-33, 37-47
SS Lesson for 09/26/2021
Devotional Scripture: Heb 1:7-13
The Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were both written by Luke, a Gentile disciple and physician (Colossians 4:14). The Gospel is like a Part 1, while Acts is Part 2. Luke addressed both of his books to a certain Theophilus (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). Acts 1:8 anticipated the spread of the gospel message from Jerusalem to Samaria and on to the remotest parts of the earth. The contents of the book of Acts span about 30 years, beginning in AD 30. The time frame of our lesson is 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection. The apostle Peter was the one speaking in today’s text (see Acts 2:14). There’s a very good chance that many or most of his audience had been in the city during Jesus’ trials, crucifixion, and resurrection; it was natural for those making the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for observances of Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:5–6; Luke 22:1) to stay for the Festival of Weeks (Deuteronomy 16:9–12). The latter came to be known as Pentecost. The people who heard Peter preach were from various locations (Acts 2:8–11). Imagine the non-stop talking in the streets about the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth! There would have been rumors, questions, and doubts about the identity of Jesus. Did he really rise from the dead? Was he really the Christ? At first glance, we may be surprised that Peter exhibited the boldness we see in today’s text. After all, he had denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion (Luke 22:54–62) and had cowered afterward in a locked room (John 20:19). But having been reinstated by Jesus himself after the resurrection (21:15–19), Peter became a different man.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
2:14-15. Peter began with a rebuttal of their accusation of drunkenness. It was only 9 in the morning (lit., “the third hour of the day”; days began at 6 a.m.), far too early for a group of revelers to be inebriated!
2:16-21. Instead of being drunk the believers were experiencing what was described in Joel 2. In Peter’s words, This is what was spoken by the Prophet Joel. This clause does not mean, “This is like that”; it means Pentecost fulfilled what Joel had described. However, the prophecies of Joel quoted in Acts 2:19-20 were not fulfilled. The implication is that the remainder would be fulfilled if Israel would repent.
2:23. The point of this verse is clear: the Crucifixion was no accident. It was in God’s set purpose (boulē, “plan”) and was God’s determined will, not merely His inclination. It was a divine necessity (cf. 4:28). When Peter referred to you, he meant Jews; and by wicked men he perhaps meant Gentiles because the word “wicked” means lawless (anomōn). Both Gentiles and Jews were implicated in Christ’s death. Many times the apostles accused the Jews of crucifying Jesus (2:23, 36; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:28), though the apostles also held the Gentiles culpable (2:23; 4:27; cf. Luke 23:24-25).
2:24. The resurrection of the Lord is a basic doctrine in Acts (v. 32; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33-34, 37; 17:31; 26:23). Here is another indication that He is the Messiah for it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him (John 20:9).
2:25-35. These verses include four proofs of the Lord’s resurrection and Ascension: (a) The prophecy of Psalm 16:8-11 and the presence of David’s tomb (Acts 2:25-31), (b) the witnesses of the Resurrection (v. 32), (c) the supernatural events of Pentecost (v. 33), and (d) the Ascension of David’s greater Son (Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:34-35). The word translated grave in verses 27 and 31 is hadēs, which means either the grave (as here) or the underworld of departed spirits. Peter’s point is that since David, the patriarch and prophet was dead and buried, he could not have been referring to himself in Psalm 16:8-11; hence he was writing about the Christ (“Messiah”) and His resurrection. The oath (Acts 2:30) looks back to Psalm 132:11 (cf. 2 Sam. 7:15-16). God... raised... Jesus to life, and exalted Him (cf. Acts 3:13; Phil. 2:9) to the Father’s right hand (cf. Acts 5:30-31; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). Thus Jesus had the authority to send the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5, 8; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), whose presence was evidenced by what they saw (“tongues of fire,” Acts 2:3) and heard (“a violent wind,” v. 2), and the apostles speaking in other languages (vv. 4, 6, 8, 11). Just as David was not speaking of himself in Psalm 16:8-11, so in Psalm 110:1 he was not speaking of himself. David was not resurrected (Acts 2:29, 31) nor did he ascend to heaven (v. 34). The Lord is Yahweh God who spoke to my (David’s) Lord, who is Christ, God’s Son. On five occasions in Acts some of the apostles said they were witnesses of the resurrected Christ (v. 32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39-41; 13:30-31). They knew whereof they spoke!
2:36. Here is the conclusion of Peter’s argument. The noun Lord, referring to Christ, probably is a reference to Yahweh. The same word kyrios is used of God in verses 21, 34, and 39 (cf. Phil. 2:9). This is a strong affirmation of Christ’s deity.
2:37. Verses 37-40 contain the application of Peter’s sermon. The verb cut (katenygēsan) means “to strike or prick violently, to stun.” The convicting work of the Spirit (cf. John 16:8-11) in their hearts was great. Their question had a ring of desperation about it (cf. Acts 16:30). If the Jews had crucified their Messiah and He was now exalted, what was left for them to do? What could and must they do?
2:38-39. Peter’s answer was forthright. First they were to repent. This verb (metanoēsate) means “change your outlook,” or “have a change of heart; reverse the direction of your life.” This obviously results in a change of conduct, but the emphasis is on the mind or outlook. The Jews had rejected Jesus; now they were to trust in Him. Repentance was repeatedly part of the apostles’ message in Acts (v. 38; 3:19; 5:31; 8:22; 11:18; 13:24; 17:30; 19:4; 20:21; 26:20). A problem revolves around the command “be baptized” and its connection with the remainder of 2:38. There are several views: (1) One is that both repentance and baptism result in remission of sins. In this view, baptism is essential for salvation. The problem with this interpretation is that elsewhere in Scripture forgiveness of sins is based on faith alone (John 3:16, 36; Rom. 4:1-17; 11:6; Gal. 3:8-9; Eph. 2:8-9; etc.). Furthermore Peter, the same speaker, later promised forgiveness of sins on the basis of faith alone (Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18). (2) A second interpretation translates 2:38, “Be baptized... on the basis of the remission of your sins.” The preposition used here is eis which, with the accusative case, may mean “on account of, on the basis of.” It is used in this way in Matthew 3:11; 12:41; and Mark 1:4. Though it is possible for this construction to mean “on the basis of,” this is not its normal meaning; eis with the accusative case usually describes purpose or direction. (3) A third view takes the clause and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ as parenthetical. Several factors support this interpretation: (a) The verb makes a distinction between singular and plural verbs and nouns. The verb “repent” is plural and so is the pronoun “your” in the clause so that your sins may be forgiven (lit., “unto the remission of your sins,” eis aphesin tōn hamartiōn hymōn). Therefore the verb “repent” must go with the purpose of forgiveness of sins. On the other hand the imperative “be baptized” is singular, setting it off from the rest of the sentence. (b) This concept fits with Peter’s proclamation in Acts 10:43 in which the same expression “sins may be forgiven” (aphesin hamartiōn) occurs. There it is granted on the basis of faith alone. (c) In Luke 24:47 and Acts 5:31 the same writer, Luke, indicates that repentance results in remission of sins. The gift of the Holy Spirit is God’s promise (cf. 1:5, 8; 2:33) to those who turn to the Lord, including Jews and their descendants and those who are far off, that is, Gentiles (cf. Eph. 2:13, 17, 19). Acts 2:38-39 put together the human side of salvation (“repent”) and the divine side (call means “to elect”; cf. Rom. 8:28-30).
2:40. Peter’s words in this verse look back to verses 23 and 36. Israel was guilty of a horrendous sin; individual Jews could be spared from God’s judgment on that generation if they would repent (cf. Matt. 21:41-44; 22:7; 23:34-24:2). They would be set apart to Christ and His church if only they would be disassociated from Israel.
2:41. Three thousand who believed were baptized, thus displaying their identification with Christ. This group of people immediately joined the fellowship of believers.
2:42. The activity of this early church was twofold. The believers first continued steadfastly (proskarterountes, “persisting in or continuing in”; cf. 1:14; 2:46; 6:4; 8:13; 10:7; Rom. 12:12; 13:6; Col. 4:2) in the apostles’ teaching or doctrine. The second was fellowship, which is defined as the breaking of bread and... prayer. The omission of “and” between “fellowship” and “to the breaking of bread and to prayer” indicates the last two activities are appositional to fellowship. Perhaps the breaking of bread included both the Lord’s Table and a common meal (cf. Acts 2:46; 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23-25; Jude 12).
2:43. Wonders (terata, “miracles evoking awe”) and miraculous signs (sēmeia, “miracles pointing to a divine truth”) authenticated the veracity of the apostles (cf. 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4). The apostles performed many such “signs and wonders” (Acts 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 8:6, 13; 14:3; 15:12). Christ too had performed many “wonders” and “signs”—and also “miracles” (dynameis, “works of power”).
2:44-45. The selling of property and the common possession of the proceeds may imply that the early church expected the Lord to return soon and establish His kingdom. This may explain why the practice was not continued. Holding everything in common was not socialism or communism because it was voluntary (cf. 4:32, 34-35; 5:4). Also their goods were not evenly distributed but were given to meet needs as they arose.
2:46-47. The activities described in verses 42-47 would tend to separate the church from traditional Judaism even though every day (cf. v. 47) they continued (proskarterountes; cf. v. 42) to meet together in the temple courts. One of the subthemes of Acts is joy, because a victorious church is a joyful one. This is seen in verses 46-47 and numerous other times (5:41; 8:8, 39; 11:23; 12:14; 13:48, 52; 14:17; 15:3, 31; 16:34; 21:17). In their fellowship they broke bread in their homes and ate together (cf. 2:42) with joy. (The word praising [ainountes] is used only nine times in the NT, seven of them by Luke: Luke 2:13, 20; 19:37; 24:53; Acts 2:47; 3:8-9; Rom. 15:11; Rev. 19:5). With the first of seven summary progress reports (cf. Acts 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20; 28:30-31) Luke brought this section of Acts to a close: each day others were being saved. The church grew rapidly right from the start!
32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead — whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen — by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
25 And this is what he promised us — even eternal life.
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation."
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times." And he broke down and wept.
4 ["You said,] 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
2 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. 6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 5 "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6 "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
9 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
13 The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud,
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter.
12 saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
29. Here the Apostle begins his argument from the words
of David, and at the outset speaks to his hearers as brethren.
Men and brethren] See on Acts 1:16.
let me freely speak] Better (with the margin), I may freely say unto you of the patriarch David that he both died and was burled, i.e. none of you will contradict such a statement. As St Paul using the same argument (Acts 13:36), “David after he had served his own generation fell on sleep and was laid unto his fathers.”
and his sepulchre is with us] thus shewing that after death he did not rise again. The sepulchre of the House of David was a famous object in the Holy City. Among the marvels of Jerusalem mentioned in the Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan (c. 35), we are told, “There are no graves made in Jerusalem except the tombs of the house of David and of Huldah the Prophetess, which have been there from the days of the first prophets.”
On the burial of David in Zion, cp. 1 Kings 2:10 with 2 Samuel 5:7.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
30. knowing that God had sworn with an
oath] See Psalm 132:11, “of the
fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.”
that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne] The words represented by “according … Christ” are omitted in the best MSS. The clause as corrected by them would be “of the fruit of his loins one should sit [or he would set one] on his throne.”
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
31. spake of the resurrection of Christ]
Better, of the resurrection of the Christ, i.e. the
Messiah, the anointed of Jehovah.
that his soul was not left in hell, &c.] The words for his soul are not found in the best MSS. Read, that neither was he left in hell nor did his flesh, &c. This is an example of a kind of variation from the earliest MSS. which is very common and can be most easily understood and explained. On the margin of some early copy the words for his soul were written as an explanation of the shorter expression used in this verse by the more full language of the Psalm in Acts 2:27, and by some later scribe the words were brought into the text.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
32. This Jesus hath God raised up] (i.e. from the dead). The verb here, and the noun translated resurrection in the previous verse, are parts of the same word, and make the statement very forcible in the Greek. David spake of a resurrection, which manifestly was not his own, but here is now come to pass the resurrection of Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. The all is probably to be confined to Peter and the eleven, with whom he is more closely connected in this speech (see Acts 2:14) than with the rest.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
33. Therefore being by [or at] the right hand of God exalted]
i.e. into heaven. For not only are the Apostles and disciples witnesses of the
Resurrection but also of the Ascension.
the promise of the Holy Ghost] called the promise of the Father in Acts 1:4. Christ had told His disciples that the Father would send this gift upon them in answer to His prayer. “I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter … he shall teach you all things” (John 14:16; John 14:26).
he hath shed forth] Better, he hath poured forth. Thus the fulfilment of the prophecy is, as in the original, described by the same word which is put into the mouth of the prophet in Acts 2:17.
see and hear] It would seem from this that the appearance, like as of fire, which rested upon each of them, remained visible for some time, thus making it apparent how different this was from any meteoric flashes into which some have endeavored to explain away the miracle which St Luke describes.
For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
34. For David is not ascended]
Better ascended not. He went down to the grave, and
“slept with his fathers.”
but he saith himself] in Psalm 110:1. Speaking as a prophet, and of the same person, whom, though he was to be born of the fruit of his loins, he yet in the Spirit called his Lord. The words of this Psalm the Jews in the discourse with our Lord (Matthew 22:44-45) admit to be spoken of the Christ.
The Lord [Jehovah] said unto [him whom I must even now call] my Lord] as by prophetic insight I foresee how great he shall be.
Sit thou on my right hand] i.e. be thou a sharer of my throne and power. This is a common Eastern expression. Cp. the request of the mother of James and John when she desired places of influence for her sons in what she supposed would be a temporal kingdom (Matthew 20:21).
Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
35. until 1 make thy foes thy footstool] To put the foot on the neck of an enemy is an expression for complete victory. This was an Oriental custom (cp. Joshua 10:24). Christ’s enemies are to become His footstool, but His power shall not end then. When they are all subdued His kingdom shall continue and be more glorious.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
36. let all the house of Israel know]
Of course such an appeal can only be made to Israel, for they only had known
the prophecies, and received the promises.
that God hath made, &c.] The Greek has more force than the A. V. gives. Render, God hath made him both Lord and Christ, even this Jesus whom ye crucified. This is the close of the reasoning. Jesus, who had been crucified, God has raised from the grave, God has exalted to heaven and set Him on His own right hand, and thus shewn that He is the Lord and the Anointed One.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
37–40. Effect of St Peter’s Sermon
37. pricked in their heart] stung with remorse at the enormity of the wickedness which had been committed in the Crucifixion, and at the blindness with which the whole nation had closed their eyes to the teaching of the prophecies which had spoken of the Messiah.
unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles] As specially the witnesses of the Resurrection and Ascension, and being the recognized heads of the new society.
Men and brethren] See Acts 1:16, note.
what shall we do?] To escape the penalties which must fall on the nation that has so sinned against light and knowledge; who have had the true Light in their midst, but have comprehended it not, and have crucified the Lord of glory.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
38. Repent] This was in
accordance with the directions of Jesus before His ascension (Luke 24:47), “that
repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name.”
be baptized] Also enjoined by Christ (Matthew 28:19), and while there the baptism is “to be in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” and here it is only said “in the name of Jesus Christ,” we are not to suppose any change made from the first ordinance, but only that as the Church was to be called Christ’s, so in mentioning the Sacrament for the admission of its members His name was specially made prominent. It was belief in Christ as the Son of God which constituted the ground of admission to the privileges of His Church. This made the whole of St Peter’s creed (Matthew 16:16) when Christ pronounced him blessed.
ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost] This is expressly stated to have been given to some of the converts (see Acts 8:17, Acts 10:47, &c.), and we cannot doubt that it was largely bestowed on these earlier penitents.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
39. the promise is unto you, and to
your children] Just as “to Abraham and his seed
were the promises made” (Galatians 3:16), so is
it to be under the new covenant.
all that are afar off] Peter knew from the first, we see, that the Gentiles were to be admitted to the same privileges as Israel. But Christ’s commission said they were to preach first in Jerusalem and in Judæa. Peter needed the vision of the great sheet let down from heaven to tell him when God’s time was come for the extension of the work; and though in his dream the natural prejudice of his race was asserted, yet when he awoke he went “without gainsaying as soon as he was sent for” (Acts 10:29), as he says to Cornelius. For Christ’s words had been “Go, teach all nations.”
shall call] Better, shall call unto him. The verb is a compound, not the simple verb.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
40. And with many other words did he
testify, &c.] Hence we learn that there is no attempt made by the
writer of the Acts to produce more than the substance and character of what was
here said. And we may be sure that he uses the same rule always, and we need
not therefore be startled if we find an address followed by mighty results,
even though St Luke’s abstract of it may only extend over a few verses.
testify] The same word is translated charge in 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:1, and would be well rendered here by the same word. Here the address of Peter was not a bearing witness, but a direction what they were to do.
untoward generation] Lit. crooked. The word is so translated Php 2:15 and might be here. The words “crooked generation” are not strange to the A. V. (Deuteronomy 32:5), and the figure is made stronger by the literal rendering.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
41–47. The first Converts and their behaviour
41. Then they that gladly received his word] The oldest MSS. Omit gladly. The latter clause of the verse is more literally, And there were added on that day about three thousand souls, i.e. to the one hundred and twenty of whom the Church consisted when the day began.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
42. And they continued steadfastly in
the apostles’ doctrine] i.e. They allowed nothing to interfere with the
further teaching which the Apostles no doubt gave to the newly baptized. The
converts would naturally seek to hear all the particulars of the life of Him
whom they had accepted as Lord and Christ, and such narratives would form the
greatest part of the teaching of the Apostles at the first.
and fellowship] That communion, or holding all things common, of which a more full description is given in the following verses, and which would bind them most closely into one society.
breaking of bread] The earliest title of the Holy Communion and that by which it is mostly spoken of in Scripture. (See Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 10:16, &c.) In consequence of the omission here and elsewhere of any mention of the wine, an argument has been drawn for communion in one kind. But it is clear from the way in which St Paul speaks of the bread and the cup in the same breath, as it were, that such a putting asunder of the two parts of the Sacrament which Christ united is unwarranted by the practice of the Church of the Apostles.
and in prayers] The Greek has the article here, and stress has sometimes been laid on this, as though the Church at this early date had some settled form of prayer. But it is enough to refer to Acts 1:14, where the article is also found, but which few would wish to construe “they continued steadfastly in the prayer.”
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
43. And fear came upon every soul]
The mockers were silenced by what they saw and heard, and were deterred from
further opposition even though they did not listen to the call to repentance.
wonders and signs] See Acts 2:22.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
44. were together, and had all things common] With the words of the angels still in their ears (Acts 1:11), “This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven,” the disciples were no doubt full of the thought that the return of Jesus was not far distant. Such an opinion spreading among the new disciples would make them ready to resign their worldly goods, and to devote all things to the use of their brethren. For so the spreading of a knowledge of Christ could be made the chief work of the whole body of believers.
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
45. And sold their possessions,
&c.] For the money which resulted from such sales would be the most
convenient form in which their bounty could be bestowed on those who needed it.
as every man had need] Better, according as any man had need. We gather from this that the first converts kept their homes and things needful for themselves, but held the rest as a trust for the Church to be bestowed whenever need was seen. This is an earlier stage than that in which the money was brought and put at the disposal of the Apostles.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
46. And they, continuing daily with one
accord in the temple] The Greek is more emphatic. Render, And day by day attending continually with one accord, &c.
At the Temple they were likely to meet with the greatest number of devout listeners; and we shall find that the first Christians did not cease to be religious Jews, but held to all the observances of their ancient faith, its feasts, its ritual, and its hours of prayer, as far as they could do so consistently with their allegiance to Jesus. We find (Acts 21:20-24) the elders of the Church in Jerusalem urgent on St Paul that he should shew his zeal for the Law by taking upon him the vow of a Nazarite, and should so quiet the scruples of Jews, and of such Christian brethren as were more zealous for the Law than St Paul himself.
and breaking bread from house to house] Perhaps better, breaking bread at home; though the A. V., if rightly understood, gives the sense very well. What is meant is, that the specially Christian institution of the breaking of bread was not a part of the service in the Temple, but was observed at their own homes, the congregations meeting now at one house now at another. The connection of the Lord’s Supper with the Passover meal at its institution, made the Christian Sacrament essentially a service which could be celebrated, as at the first institution it was, in such a room as that where the Passover meal was eaten.
did eat their meat] i.e. took their food, their ordinary meals.
with gladness, &c.] because those who were able to contribute to the support of the poorer members of the Church were delighted to do so, and thus all over-anxious care for the morrow was removed from the whole community.
singleness of heart] Having but one end in view, that the faith of Christ should be spread abroad as widely as possible.
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
47. praising God] because their
hearts were full of thankfulness for the knowledge of Jesus as His Christ.
having favour with all the people] As it was said of Christ, “the common people heard Him gladly” (Mark 12:37), so it seems to have been with His Apostles. The first attack made on them is (Acts 4:1) by the priests, the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees.
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved] The oldest MSS. agree in omitting to the church, and the literal rendering of the most authoritative text is, And the Lord added day by day together such as were in the way of salvation, i.e. brought into the communion “such as” (literally) “were being saved,” the work of whose salvation was begun but needed perseverance; who had set foot on the way and were heirs through hope of ultimate salvation. By this rendering the Greek words ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό = to the same place, together, which in the Rec. Text are at the beginning of chapter 3, are taken into this verse in accordance with the authority of the oldest MSS.
(Adapted from URL:https://biblehub.com/commentaries/cambridge/acts/2.htm)
The most powerful realization from today’s text is that Christ is still good news for a dying world, He has been since the day of Pentecost, and He will continue to be so until He returns. Until then, we must share Jesus with everyone we can. Foundational to this effort is a sense of awe, which is often missing in the church today. Sometimes our worship services feel stale. Our prayer lives may dry up. We allow the urgent to distract us from the important. But in those times, we can ask for transformation as we cry for God to “restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). God still works in and through His people. May we be aware of his movement in our lives, our churches, and our communities so that we too may see the church growing daily.
Peter's Pentecost Sermon - On the day of Pentecost, Peter delivered a powerful sermon. He explained the prophecies in the Old Testament about the Holy Spirit and how Jesus' life, death, and resurrection verified He was indeed the Messiah. The crowd listened intently to Peter's message, and God softened their hearts. The Jewish nation had put Jesus to death, crucifying their own Messiah. The people cried out in conviction, what now? How can we wash this guilt from our hands?
Repentance - Peter used the words of John the Baptist and Jesus: repent! Repentance means to change one's mind and change the direction of one's life. They must now accept Jesus as the true Messiah and their Lord and Savior. Their water baptism in His name would then show their sincere commitment to Christ.
The Holy Spirit took center stage in God's earthly kingdom-building on the day of Pentecost. The Father poured out His Spirit on those waiting in the upper room. He also promised a similar outpouring for the new converts and following generations.
The Response - An extraordinary number responded positively to Peter's message. The church expanded from around 120 to over 3,000 converts. The developing congregation prayed and fellowshipped together from one house to another. They hungered for more information about Jesus, ate together regularly, and attentively sat at the feet of the apostles. Miraculous signs and wonders happened among this growing church, demonstrating God's power and presence. The people responded in reverent fear. The new Christians in the city opened their homes to new believers, willingly selling and sharing what they had with those in need. The new church grew as a family, all in one accord. Daily, unbelievers turned their lives over to Christ. With one mighty voice, they praised God.
We can experience God's work among us as congregations today when we come together in close fellowship, hunger more for the Word, share with each other, and praise God for the many blessings He has showered upon His people.