Acts 2:14-41 – Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost

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Acts 2:14

  1. Peter was often the spokesman for the disciples (Matthew 19:27).
  2. There is a big difference between Peter before and after he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Before he didn’t even dare to confess his faith in front of a little girl, now he confesses publicly in front of all Jerusalem (Mark 14:66-68).
    1. In the same way, we too can have the courage today to share our faith in Jesus when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:16

  1. Being filled with the Spirit often leads to opening your Bible and starting to teach.
  2. Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32 and declares that this prophecy has now been fulfilled.

Acts 2:17

  1. With Jesus, the last days have begun (1 Peter 1:20). When Jesus came the first time, he came as the suffering servant who died for humanity. When Jesus comes the second time, he will come in power and glory. The disciples found it hard to believe that Jesus would come twice, believing that the glory of Jesus would appear at his first coming (Acts 1:6).

Acts 2:21

  1. The “name of the Lord” is “YHWH” or “I am who I am” or “I Am” (Exodus 3:11-15).
  2. Where in English it says “the Lord”, in Hebrew it says “YHWH” in Joel 2:32, from which Peter quotes.
    1. When Paul quotes the same verse from Joel, he emphasizes that “if you therefore confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Paul is saying that if you confess that Jesus is Lord/YHWH, you will be saved.
  3. When the audience eventually asks Peter what they should do, he answers: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven you.”
    1. Instead of saying “in the name of the Lord”, Peter says “in the name of Jesus”, which again links Jesus and the Lord/YHWH. 

Acts 2:23

  1. After first explaining to his audience that Joel’s prophecy has now been fulfilled, Peter shifts his focus to tell them about something even more important: the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  2. The death of Jesus on the cross was not a failure or a coincidence, but a fixed plan.
  3. Even though the people of Israel were involved in the crucifixion, there is now a chance for repentance, even those who killed Jesus are offered forgiveness! No matter what sins we carry, we can always turn around, go to Jesus and ask for forgiveness.

Acts 2:25

  1. Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-11 but says that this psalm cannot be about David because David is dead.
  2. God promised David that he would have a descendant on the throne, now Peter tells us that this descendant is Jesus (2 Sam 7:11-16).

Acts 2:34

  1. Here Peter quotes Psalm 110:1, the most quoted verse from the OT in the NT.
  2. Just before his death, Stephen saw Jesus at God’s right hand in heaven (Acts 7:54-56).
  3. For more on this topic, see my commentary on Mark 12:35-37.

Acts 2:37

  1. When the people see the disciples speaking in tongues, they react either by not understanding or by mocking. It is only when Peter begins to preach about the crucified Jesus that the people want to repent.
  2. Peter has not exactly tried to flatter his audience and then, at the end of his sermon, to have a show of hands and an invitation to salvation. Instead, Peter has explained to his audience that they are guilty of killing God’s Messiah. Despite this harsh message, the people still respond in this way. It certainly seems that it is the Holy Spirit who proves to them that they have done wrong and urges them to repent (John 16:7-8).
    1. In the same way, we should be aware today that if we try to flatter people into becoming Christians, they will build their house on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). It is better to leave everything and radically follow Jesus instead of believing from a distance (Luke 14:26-27).
  3. When Peter tried to save Jesus in Gethsemane with a sword, he only managed to cut off the ear of a servant (Mark 14:47). When Peter uses the sword of the Spirit instead (Ephesians 6:17), people want to be saved. When we Christians use the power of the world to spread Christianity, it will only result in people not wanting to listen with their ears, but when we use the sword of the Spirit and preach about Jesus, then the Holy Spirit will bring people to repentance.

Acts 2:38

  1. Since man has turned away from God, it is not possible to come to God unless one first turns back. To repent means to realize that one has gone wrong, to change the direction of one’s life and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
    1. John the Baptist, Jesus and Peter all preached that repentance is the first step into the kingdom of God (Matthew 3:2, 4:17).
  2. Being baptized is the visible sign of repentance and the beginning of the new repentant life.
  3. Being baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” involves believing that Jesus is the crucified and risen “Lord and Messiah” just described by Peter (Acts 2:36) and entering into the authority of Jesus.
  4. Once one is saved, all one’s sins are forgiven, they are no more (Jer 1:18, Jer 31:34).
  5. Everyone who chooses to believe in Jesus is born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8), and receives the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Acts 2:41

  1. The church grew from 120 members to about 3000 in one fell swoop! Another 5,000 men came to faith a little later (Acts 4:4), and still a little later there were tens of thousands of Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 21:20) and many priests also joined the faith in Jesus (Acts 6:7).
  2. The Roman historian Tacitus estimated that Jerusalem had a population of about 600,000 around 66 AD, so the Jesus movement must have been a significant part of the city’s population.
  3. Many of those who came to faith were in Jerusalem as pilgrims and eventually returned to their hometowns, where they could share their new faith in Jesus and thus prepare the ground for the missionary journeys of Paul and the other apostles.
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