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Chapter 2

 

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

 

2:1Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

 

The Day of Pentecost was the celebration of the wheat harvest and was also known as the Day of Firstfruits.   It came 50 days after the Passover (Lev. 23: 15 - 16), thus 50 days after the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.   The followers of Jesus had kept His command and abided in Jerusalem to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.   During this time they had continued to remain in one accord, of one mind and purpose and in harmony with each other.   They were all gathered in the same place, this was important, for the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost descended to the place that God had appointed.   Those who were not present in the Upper Room did not receive Him at the same time as those who were.   '

 

2:2 Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting.

 

'Suddenly" - although they waited in expectancy for His coming they did not know exactly when it would be, for Jesus had only said '"not many days"" (Acts 1:5).   Neither did they know how He would come, but come He did.   First of all like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, a tornado.  Not a wind but '"like the sound of a wind"" for if He had come as a mighty wind He would have destroyed like one.   Wind suggests the mighty unseen power of the Spirit.   The sound and the power filled the whole building.   '

 

2:3 And tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them.

 

Then the Holy Spirit revealed Himself in the likeness of 'tongues of" 'fire" which were separated and distributed and settled on each one of them.   If the wind represents His power then the fire speaks of His holiness.   '

 

2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.

 

They were 'all filled", according to the promise (John 14: 17) no one left that building not filled.  The initial evidence that they had received the Holy Spirit was that He gave them other tongues to speak with.   They heard His coming, wind, saw His coming, fire, they each received a personal experience of His coming and abiding in them.

 

 

The Reaction of the People

 

2:5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven residing in Jerusalem.

 

At that time there were Jews who had been born and brought up in many different countries and who spoke many different languages  staying in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost.   These were those who had continue in the religion and faith of their forefathers in spite of their exile '(devote men)".

 

2:6 When this sound occurred, a crowd gathered and was in confusion, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

 

They heard the sound like a mighty rushing wind but could not feel or see the havoc that would be caused by such a wind and so they came rushing to where it had rested.   When they arrived and heard the disciples speaking in their own languages this, first of all, confused and bewildered them.

 

2:7 Completely baffled, they said, "Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans?

 

Then they were amazed how ordinary ignorant country folk could speak a language that they had not learned.  As they began to realize that this could be no other than a miracle of God so they marvelled at it.   '

 

2:8-11 And how is it that each one of us hears them in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the province of Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own languages about the great deeds God has done!"

 

Gives a list of all the countries and different languages that were represented and witnessed this miracle.   What further amazed them was the fact that they heard these unschooled followers of Christ speaking about the greatness of God and His mighty acts.   '

 

2:12 All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"

 

All this puzzled them for they had never seen or heard anything like it before and although they tried to reason it out with their human mind they could find no answer for it.   '

 

2:13 But others jeered at the speakers, saying, "They are drunk on new wine!"

 

There were those who were earnest enquirers as to what it all meant, but others just made fun of the disciples accusing them of being drunk.

 

 

Peter's  Sermon (Part 1)

 

2:14 "'But Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: "You men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this and listen carefully to what I say.

 

Peter takes a hold of the accusation and gives his first sermon in explanation of what was happening.   The man who had denied his Lord, who had hidden away in fear of the Jews is now enabled by the baptism of the Holy Spirit to stand up boldly and with power and authority, which is reflected in his voice, to testify for his Lord and Saviour.   He does not beat around the bush he has something to say and tells them to pay attention to it.

 

2:15 In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning.

 

First of all he deals with the ridiculous accusation of the mockers.   It was only 9.00 o' clock in the morning and therefore it obviously could not be drunkenness.   '

 

2:16 But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel:

 

He uses the Old Testament scriptures as a sound bases for what had happened, he stood upon the eternal word of God.   What they were witnessing was a fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel (Joel 2: 28 - 32).   '

 

2:17-18 'And in the last days it will be,' God says, 'that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

 

The fulfilment of this prophecy on the Day of Pentecost heralded the beginning of the '"last days"" which refers to the period of the church to the return of Christ (Heb. 1: 1 - 2).   He will be poured out' - on all flesh" - that is on all those who have excepted Jesus Christ as Saviour no matter what age, sex, or social class they may be, in other words, without any distinction.   All who are thirsting for Him will receive (Isaiah 44: 3).   He brings and distribute gifts as He wills ( 1 Cor. 12: 11 read verses 8 - 10 for list of these gifts).   Only one gift is mention here and that is prophecy.   The other two, visions for the young, dreams for the old are given by the Holy Spirit but are not gifts.   Peter then turns from the present to that which will happen in the end days just before the Lord returns.   '

 

2:19-20 And I will perform wonders in the sky above and miraculous signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.

 

During these final days God will give signs and wonders that will appear in heaven and on earth, that is extraordinary happenings, unusual manifestations and miraculous events.   These will give warning that the Lord is on His way and that the Day of Judgement is at hand (Rev. 6:12-17).

 

2:21 And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

 

But whoever shall turn to the Lord and call upon His Name will be 'saved", that is, from spiritual death by forgiveness of sin, and from wrath and judgement  (1 Thes. 1:10; Rom. 5:9).

 

 

Peter's Sermon (Part 2)

 

2:22 "Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know —

 

Having put the scoffers in their place and explained the meaning of the coming of the Holy Ghost from the scriptures, Peter now comes to the centre of his sermon, Jesus of Nazareth.   Notice that he does so by using His human name.   The Jews would of course know that the meaning of Jesus or Joshua was "he shall save" and the realisation of this would dawn on them before the end of the sermon.   By addressing the Lord in this way he testifies to the  humanity of Christ (1 John 4: 2).   It was  only by becoming a man could God in Christ make reconciliation for our sins (Heb. 2: 17; 2 Cor. 5: 19).   He was "'"a Man""' commended, honoured, and acclaimed by God by the mighty works and manifestation of His power among them which they could testify to.   "'

 

2:23 this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles.

 

He points out that although they unlawfully had Him put to death by crucifixion it was only by God's consent in accordance to His Divine will and purpose (John 10: 5-18).

 

2:24 But God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power.

 

This same Jesus  God raised up by destroying and liberating Him from the pain of death because it was impossible for the grave to hold Him for He is "the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11: 25).

 

2:25 For David says about him, 'I saw the Lord always in front of me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken.

 

Peter again turns to Old Testament prophecy as the authority in predicting the resurrection of Christ, Psalm 16:  8 - 11.   David could say with complete confidence that the Lord was always with him and at his side because He is the Eternal One, He always was, is and forever more shall be (Rev. 1: 8).   Therefore no one and nothing could take away the security that this gave him.   "'

 

2:26-27 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; my body also will live in hope, because you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor permit your Holy One to experience decay.

 

The knowledge of this caused him to rejoice and praise God for he had a hope beyond the grave.   He expressed his faith that death would not separate him from God for he prophetically declares that the "'"Holy One""'  that is Jesus, will be resurrected from the dead, bodily, without corruption, as the firstfruits (1 Cor. 15: 20)

 

2:28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of joy with your presence.'

 

This is what God had revealed to David, "'("ways of life""') and that he would forever be present with the Lord which hope filled him with joy unspeakable (1 Thes. 4:17).  

 

2:29-31 "Brothers, I can speak confidently to you about our forefather David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. So then, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, David by foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his body experience decay.

 

Peter proves that David could not be speaking about himself in this Psalm because he had died, was buried and the remains of his body were still in the tomb.   But being a prophet he had foretold the bodily resurrection of the Christ.

 

2:32 This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it.

 

This happened according to the scriptures and the disciples  were witnesses to this.  

 

2:33-35 So then, exalted to the right hand of God, and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he has poured out what you both see and hear. For David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself says, 'The Lord said to my lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." '

 

He had now ascended back to the Father where He is exalted above all and been given a name above every other name and sits at the right hand of God ever living to make intercession for us (Phil. 2:9-10; Heb: 7:25).   Where He has also received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, whom he has poured out on this Day of Pentecost.   "'

 

2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ."

 

Peter now reaches the climax of his sermon by charging them with the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was not Caiphas, the chief priest, or Pontius Pilate, or the Roman soldiers, or even the people present at the cross but "all who have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). This same Jesus, not a substitute, not a spirit as some would have us believe, this human Jesus, God has made Lord and Christ !  

 

 

The Peoples Response V 37 - 39

 

2:37 "'Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "What should we do, brothers?"

 

The effect of the word upon the people was that of the double edged sword that pierced their conscience and soul as they realised that it was in fact their sins that had sent the Son of God to the cross. As the Holy Spirit brought conviction upon them they cried out "what shall we do".

 

2:38-39 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each one 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. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself."

 

He does not leave them in despair but gives them the answer.  Repent - they would need to have a change of mind concerning themselves - acknowledge they are sinners; about Jesus -  except Him as the Son of God and the Saviour of their Soul.  Openly confess Him as their Lord and Saviour by being baptised in water in His Name.  Baptism in and of itself is not a means of forgiveness and salvation but is the outward recognition of having received forgiveness by accepting that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin (Rev. 1:5). Then they could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit according as the promise had been made to all whom God has called no matter where they may be.

 

 

The Church Grows V40 - 47

 

2:40 "'With many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, "Save yourselves from this perverse generation!"

 

Peter did not stop at his sermon but continued to testify to warn and challenge them to call upon the Lord to be saved.   "'

 

2:41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.

 

As a result 3,000 accepted salvation, were baptised and added to them in one day!

 

2:42 They were devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 

But it did not end at conversion they continued, that is, they went on with the Lord.  They attended Bible Study given by the apostles and held fast to the truth of the word of God. They fellowshipped regularly with each other. They kept the Lord's command by remembering His death in the communion service (Luke 22: 19). They never ceased to pray.

 

2:43 Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles.

 

Because of this a fear, or reverential awe of God came upon the people and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.   "'

 

2:44-45 All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need.

 

Those who believed were as one body  and as a result of truly understanding God's love they shared what they had with each other. Those who had more than they needed would sell and distribute to those who were less fortunate.

 

2:46-47 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.

 

Day after day they assembled in the temple having one mind and purpose.   They held communion in their homes because they could not do so in the temple.   They were constantly praising God and found favour with all people.   Every day the Lord continually saved and added to their number.

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