Acts 2:14-36 (web)

Pentecost II

Peter's Sermon

2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, 
"You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words. 
2:15 For these aren't drunken, as you suppose, 
seeing it is only the third hour of the day{about 9:00 AM}. 
2:16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: (Joel 2:28-32)
2:17 'It will be in the last days, says God, That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. 
Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams. 
2:18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days,
I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy. 
2:19 I will show wonders in the sky above, And signs on the earth beneath; 
Blood, and fire, and billows of smoke. 
2:20 The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, 
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. 
2:21 It will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.' 
2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth,
a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs
which God did by him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know, 
2:23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, 
you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; 
2:24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death,
because it was not possible that he should be held by it. 
2:25 For David says concerning him,  (Psalm 16:8-11)
'I saw the Lord always before my face, 
For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. 
2:26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. 
Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope; 
2:27 Because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
Neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay. 
2:28 You made known to me the ways of life. 
You will make me full of gladness with your presence.' 
2:29 "Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David,
that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 
2:30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him 
that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 
2:31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, 
that neither was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay. 
2:32 This Jesus God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 
2:33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, 
and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, 
he has poured out this, which you now see and hear. 
2:34 For David didn't ascend into the heavens, but he says himself,  (Psalm 110:1)
'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit by my right hand, 
2:35 Until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."' 
2:36 "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly
that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." 
 

A Paradox

Jesus is the LORD God

Peter quotes Joel starting from Joel 2:28, but I would like to also include Joel 2:27 which says, "And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed." Then a few verses later says, "whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be saved" Therefore the LORD that one calls on must be the LORD God of the Bible. Yet in verse 36 the Apostle proposes that Jesus is this LORD and therefore affirms the deity of Christ.

We see the Apostle Paul also referencing this same verse in Joel in declaring that Jesus is the Lord God upon whom we must call to be saved.

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is LORD," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

Romans 10:12,13 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same LORD is LORD of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."(Joel 2:32)

Jesus is distinct from the LORD God

Yet on the other hand we see in Peter's quote of Psalm 110:1 ("The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand.") that there are two Lords. The second refers to Jesus who sits at the right hand of God as Peter says here in Acts 2:33. And furthermore we see in verse 36 that "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
This is not to say that Jesus was not Lord previously. For before Christ was born King David already acknowledge him as Lord in Psalm 110:1 above. Peter is using a figure of speech. The expression "made this Jesus" means "made out to be" as it is used in 1John 5:10 "Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar." The same Greek words are used in both cases. Thus the word "made" in these sense is not "to create", but "to identify or construe". So also in the gospel God identifies Jesus as Lord and Christ. God has made him out to be Lord and Christ. (Who do you make him out to be?)

The Godhead

The abiguity or paradox evident above in which Jesus is LORD and yet another is LORD,  is of course resolved in the concept of the Trinity. When it speaks of calling on the name of the LORD, we learned at the end of Matthew that the "name of the LORD" includes the Trinity. Matthew 28:19"baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." As I noted in that study, "name" is singular, not plural.

Given the fact that Peter doesn't elaborate on the Trinity but appears to presume that his Jewish listeners understand this relationship between the Father and Son, and given the fact that the crowd doesn't object to such a concept, indicates to me that this was not a new idea but rather already embedded in Jewish thinking as they also had inferred from the scriptures. Notice the contrast as Peter applies these Old Testament passages:

Joel 2:27 "I am the LORD your God, and none else"
Acts 2:36 "God has made (out) this Jesus ... to be both LORD and Christ."
Joel 2:32 "whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD (Jesus) shall be saved."
Ps 110:1 "The LORD said unto my Lord (Jesus)"

Just as a footnote: In Psalm 110:1 while the Septuagint, the commonly used Greek translation of the scriptures at the time, which the apostles also quote from, uses the same word for "Lord". Yet the Hebrew scripture use "Yaweh" for the first "LORD" and "adonai" for the second, thus making a distinction.

But on the other hand when it says in Joel 2:32 about calling on the name of the LORD, the Hebrew scripture does also use Yaweh. And thus as the apostle apply this to Jesus, they are without doubt calling Jesus "Yaweh" - the God of the Jewish scriptures. Thus "Yaweh" is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Jesus also speaks of this ambiguous relationship with God his Father in saying, "I and the Father are one." John 10:30 for which the Jews wanted to stone him. "We are not stoning you for any of these (miracles)," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." John 10:33 Yet in his claim of being one with the Father Jesus equates with the concept of being the Son of God. For in his response he says, "Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?" John 10:36

Thus there is both unity and plurality in the Godhead, and this was the accept idea among the Jews at the time, as it is among Biblical Christians today.


2:14 Peter stood up

This was in contrast to his behavior just over a month before in which in cowardly fashion denied Christ even three times and ran away. Yet now even in view of the fact that he knew what kind of retribution that the religious leaders were capable of, Christ having been crucified, what could have empowered this man to take such a bold stand and indeed to say such things as he did to a crowd that had formerly crucified Christ as he says in verse 23? It must have been that he indeed witnessed the risen Lord and had been empowered by the Holy Spirit. This was also good staging for the presentation of the gospel. For confidence in the midst of opposition communicates conviction. And thusly does God often lead his people through the midst of persecution, not simply for our own sakes, but the sake of our listeners that the gospel may be believed as we show ourselves to be people of true conviction.

As a minor observation I note that it refers to the Eleven only. In infer that Luke didn't reckon the Twelfth that they chose, namely Matthias, as being legitimately one of them. For as I note in the first chapter, Paul would be God's choice for the Twelfth position.


Peter's Gospel Presentation

Basic Elements:
  • God affirmed Jesus by miracles which he did among you as you yourselves observed.
  • You had Jesus crucified, but this was also in accordance with God's plan
  • God raised him from the dead in accordance with prophecies concerning the Messiah
  • Jesus now sits at God's right hand and has sent down the Holy Spirit which you witness now.
  • Jesus had been revealed to be Lord and Messiah.
Peter's presentation has two parts. The first presented here contains the essential facts of who Jesus is. The second, covered in the next study, deals with the response and application. But let us consider just this initial information.

Miracles

Miracles should be a part of an appropriate gospel presentation. They affirm the truth of the gospel. For the gospel is not simply propositional truth (ideas), but rather it is rooted in historic facts proving that God has spoken. And this is the manner in which we see God operating throughout the Bible. When commanded to tell the Pharoah of Egypt to let the Israelites go, Moses made the reasonable observation: "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?" Ex 4:1  God responded with miracles. And so also in Jesus' ministry as he said,  "The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me."John 10:25 Yet in my decades of experience with modern Evangelicalism there seems little emphasis on this point.

Crucifixion & Conviction of Sin

The reason why miracles aren't preach very much is the same reason why conviction of sin and repentance is seldom emphasized - for fear of "turning people off." The emphasis often today seems to be to pray Jesus into your heart and you'll be better off for it, with little reference to sin and God's judgment. But here we see people emphatically acccusing these people of conspiring to have Christ murdered. Today when I speak with Jews, they wash their hands of the matter, accusing the Romans of crucifying Christ. But Peter correctly views the Romans simply as a tool the Jews used to carry out their wicked plan. But also we are all guilty of crucifying Christ. For it was our sins that sent him to the cross.

God's Sovereign Plan

Verse 23 speaks of "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" involved in Christ's death. But I do not interpret this along the lines of a Calvinistic puppet theology. Rather in accordance with God's justice, God set the stage bringing in actors which he foreknew out of their own free will would make the kind of decisions that would bring on Christ's death. Thus God's plan takes into account the free will that he designed man with. (And who are you to say the God cannot do it that way?) God does not hold people responsible for things they have not control over. For that would be unjust. But then again, God does hold people responsible for things they do have control over. Thus even though he foreknew the kind of decisions these people would make, God holds them responsible for such decisions because they had the freedom to make them.

The Resurrection

The resurrection is also an essential part of the gospel. It is not only the ultimate affirmation of Jesus' claims but also is symbolic of the message itself. For Jesus offers salvation not only from the guilt of sin, but also from  its effects such as death. And we see it's empowering effect on the Apostles who formerly ran from death, but now behaved as if resurrected and renewed. So also in the Christian life, though not being free from the effects of sin, yet they are but temporary as we look to our own resurrection free from sin, and indeed experience such to a degree in this life, being empowered by the Holy Spirit. (1John 3:9)



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015