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Peter Addresses the Crowd April 14, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 2:14-41.

Summary: In this passage, Peter addressed the Jews from the previous passage – including those who dismissed the Twelve as drunkards. In particular, he used the following Old Testament passages to prove their sobriety:

  • Joel 2:28-32, where God asserts that He will pour out the Holy Spirit on all people after the coming of the Messiah
  • Psalm 16:8-11, where God asserts that He will raise the Messiah from the dead
  • Psalm 110:1, where God asserts that the Messiah will be seated at His right hand in heaven.

Peter then asserted that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled all of these prophecies; he also stated that the other members of the Twelve concurred with him in this regard. Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. Many of the Jews were mortified by Peter’s assertions and were befuddled as to how to respond to them; he stated that they needed to:

  • repent of their sins
  • accept the forgiveness of Jesus Christ
  • be baptized as an outward sign of this fact.

About three thousand Jews responded appropriately that day, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts: In this passage, Peter makes several salient points:

  • the Old Testament states that the Messiah will die
  • the Old Testament states that God will raise the Messiah from the dead
  • the Old Testament states that the resurrected Messiah will sit at the right hand of God in heaven
  • the historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, fulfills all of these prophecies
  • therefore, Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.

These points are essential components of the Christian worldview; thus, believers – and nonbelievers – should ponder them in their hearts. For example, we should consider the true meaning of the name “Jesus Christ”. Also, we should consider the fact that Peter’s salient points are interdependent; if any of them were to be falsified, then all of them would be called into question. This reminds me that I should read The Resurrection of the Son of God at some point.

In this passage, it appears that Peter serves as the spokesman for the Twelve. Now since his audience on the day of Pentecost consisted of Jews from sundry parts of the Roman and Parthian empires who spoke different languages, how did he communicate with them? Did the other members of the Twelve act as interpreters for those Jews who could not understand him – and if so, was the audience divided into linguistically homogeneous groups? What language did he use to convey these important truths to his audience?

In verses 37 and 40, we see that some of the Jews in this passage “were cut to the heart” by Peter’s message, while “he pleaded with” other skeptical Jews. Calvin offers some insights on this point in his commentary on verse 40:

It was not easy for the Jews to leave their erroneous ways and break away from the priests whose rule they were accustomed to. So it was up to Peter to haul them out of this mire. They could not belong to Christ unless they parted company with his professed enemies. The priests and the scribes were very powerful, and under the guise of leading the church they deceived the simple.

I certainly hope to meet at least some of the Jews in this passage in the next life and learn how they initially responded to Peter’s message. Had they heard about the historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, before the day of Pentecost? If so, did Peter’s message furnish them with a new perspective on Jesus? Did they view themselves as being complicit in the execution of Jesus? Were they convinced by Peter’s arguments that Jesus had been raised from the dead?

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