But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Understanding And Applying the Text
Peter stood up among the crowd. He stood and spoke in a loud clear voice. This was something drunk men find difficult to do. Peter stood and preached the Gospel. A summary of his sermon is this. “God revealed Christ to Y’all and Y’all killed Him. He rose for the dead. God has given the Holy Spirit. Y’all are witnesses. Now repent and get baptized”
Peter refuted the idea they were drunk. It was only 9:00 AM. It was customary to fast on feast days until noon. Being drunk was unlikely. Men did not usually get drunk in the morning. As Paul said, “those who get drunk, are drunk at night,” (1 Thessalonians 5:7.)
Peter showed there is another and better explanation. Joel 2:28. He argued from the prophet Joel. Joel spoke about what the crowd saw years before. Peter highlighted their sin. He showed them their guilt. We often shy away from pointing out sin. It can hurt people’s feelings. But what Peter said caused the crowd to feel guilt. Feeling guilty is not a bad thing. It can drive us to repentance.
Peter quoted Joel. Through Joel, God promised to pour out His spirit. “Pouring out” implies an abundance. God fulfilled Joel’s prophecy by pouring out His Spirit and offering Him to the whole Church. God offered the Holy Spirit without exception. God poured it out on all flesh, Jews and Gentiles, men and women, young and old.
Joel’s prophecy said your sons and daughters will prophesy. Prophesying in this context is not fortune telling. It is the gift of understanding and teaching that truth.
The use of the words “last days” throughout the New Testament has confused many. Messianic times were often called the last days. “Last days” does not mean there are only a few days left. “Last days” refers to the last dispensation. The Gospel is the last dispensation of Divine grace. The Gospel is the final solution for man’s sinfulness.
Translators translate the word δοῦλοςm or doulos as servant. “God will pour upon His servants His Holy Spirit.” It is best-translated slave. But most English translations translate it servants. This is due to the context of slavery from our recent history. In translating servants rather than slaves we avoid that baggage. But we miss the greater impact of what scriptures say.
According to Strong’s Greek dictionary, the word δοῦλοςm or doulos means slave. It can mean a literal slave or a figurative slave. The connotation is often of one who has sold himself into slavery or a bondservant. In a spiritual sense, it is the idea of becoming God’s or Christ’s slave voluntarily. So what Peter said is, all who belong Christ will prophesy, that is, teach or proclaim about Christ. There are not only a few who are prophets. All who are Christ’s are prophets. All Christians are to reveal God truths. The Holy Spirit endows all with spiritual wisdom.
Peter invited those in the crowd to partake of the glorious gift of grace. God has not withdrawn His Spirit from His church today. He offers His Spirit to us daily. We are all invited to partake of God’s gift.
The sun turning dark and moon turning to blood are figures of speech. They show God wrath. It shows that God’s wrath is horrible. It is something to fear. But God will save everyone who calls on Christ and trusts in Him for their salvation. God is a gracious god. But along with great grace comes great judgment on those who reject His grace.
Peter told the crowd how to avoid God’s judgment, call upon Jesus. “…everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” We can trust in this for God makes this promise throughout scripture. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 This promise is to everyone. Salvation is available to all. There is nothing that keeps men from entering into God’s grace except men’s unbelief.
God assures anyone who calls upon the name of the Jesus of salvation. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.
We have questioned our salvation at one time or another. But Peter here gives us all the assurance we need. ALL who call on the name of the Lord WILL BE SAVED. Why is there such assurance? Because “We ain’t got nut’n to do with it.” It is all God. And God cannot lie. God keeps His promises. If He says He will save us. It is done!
Peter presented Christ to the crowd a little bit at a time. He did not come right out and say Jesus was the Christ. Rather, He said Jesus was a man sent from God. He proved it by referring to His miracles. The crowd was aware of Jesus’ miracles. The fact Jesus performed miracles was not in dispute. Even the Talmud says Jesus did miracles. But the Talmud says Jesus performed them through Satan. The thing the Talmud got wrong is Satan is not another deity. Satan can’t do miracles.
Next, Peter added Jesus rose from death. This made it clear Jesus was no ordinary prophet. All the other prophets were dead and buried. He was the Son of God. He was the one whom God had promised.
All this was according to God’s plan. Christ would suffer death as a punishment for our sin. And we received His righteousness by God’s grace. But men by their own free will killed Jesus. God’s used man’s sinfulness to accomplish His will. This does not excuse their sin. On judgment day they cannot say, see the good the happened because of our sin. They cannot claim their sin was good. They are guilty of a great sin.
Peter added, “you crucified by the hands of sinful men.” They may not have been the ones to deliver Jesus to the Romans. They may not have driven in the nails or pierced Him with a spear. But they were guilty of it all. Their leaders did for them.
We are also guilty. We may not have delivered Jesus over to Pilate. We may not have proclaimed the sentence on Jesus. We may not have driven in the nails, pierced His side or mocked Him while He hung on the cross. But they did for us. We all are guilty.
Peter quoted David in the Psalm as more evidence that Jesus was the Christ. Peter showed David’s spoke of things that would happen after his death. This should not surprise them. First, David was a prophet. Second God promised Christ to David in particular. The Jews understood this so well they would often call the Christ the son of David. The terms were interchangeable.
God had sworn with an oath to David. God promised one of David’s descendants would be the Christ. David foresaw the Christ would die and rise for the dead. All this Jesus fulfilled. How many men have risen from the dead? That’s right, none, except for Jesus. Peter told the crowd he and the rest of those with him saw the resurrected Jesus.
Jesus is the Christ. Jesus, the one you killed, is now exalted. He is at the right hand of the Father. The expression “the right hand of God” represents supreme power and authority.
Here Peter preached the dual nature of Christ. Christ was and is 100% man and 100% God. Christ received the Holy Spirit from Father. Both the Father and Christ sent the Spirit. Christ sent the Spirit from Himself because He is the eternal God. The Spirit is from the Father because, as a man, Jesus received what the Father gives us.
That places Christ between us and the Father. Christ is our mediator to the Father. Christ sent the Spirit after the Father exalted Him. This is also stated in John’s Gospel. “…for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39b.) And again, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7.)
We have lost nothing by Christ leaving this world. He is not present in the body. Yet He is present in a better way, by the grace of His Holy Spirit.
All Israel looked for the Christ. But they did not know who He was. Peter now proclaimed they may be certain that the Christ is Jesus. The very one they handed over to the Romans would kill. There is no need to wonder. They can be certain because God the Father has exalted Him.
When they heard Peter’s words they realized their guilt. Luke says they were, “cut to the heart.” (v37) First, they felt great sorrow. Second, they were obedient to Peter’s words. This is the beginning of repentance. This is the beginning of godliness, to be sorry for our sins, and obedient to God’s commands. This is why God’s word is compared to a sword. (Hebrews 4:12,) It kills us.
The crowd asked what they could do. How could they rid themselves of this great sin? Peter said, “Repent and be baptized.”
Repentance is more than being sorry. The Greek word is stronger than being sorry. It refers to a change of mind. Strong’s Greek dictionary says “to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction).” Thayer’s Greek dictionary agrees and may make it clearer. 1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent 2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.” That means a complete change. That is why repentance is not something we cannot do ourselves. That is, God makes us new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Repentance is not something we do ourselves. It is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Peter adds “and be baptized” Forgiveness of sins is only the beginning of the grace God gives. He baptizes us into Christ. Not only do we receive forgiveness, but we also receive Christ’s righteousness. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21.) Wow!
Peter only touched on baptism. We would be wrong to derive a complete doctrine of baptism from what Peter said here. Concluding forgiveness of sins is dependant on baptism is incorrect. That conclusion is contrary to the rest of scripture.
Paul teaches, baptism crucifies our old man, so we may receive a new life, (Romans 6:4, 6.) In our baptism, we put on Christ himself. (Galatians 3:27) And the Scriptures teach everywhere, that it is also a sign and token of repentance.
Peter went on to let them know. If they repent and let are obedient to baptism, they too will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The crowd could have concluded that they missed out. God limited the Holy Spirit only to the disciples. It was not for them. But Peter encourages them. “The promise is for you and your children. “
God made the promise first to the Jews and then to their children. Then God gave it to the Gentiles. God preferred the Jews before other people. They are the first begotten in God’s family. They were then separated from other people for a singular privilege.
God made the promise to the children as well. Peter refutes the error of the Anabaptist here. Children are part of the Church. As such God includes them in the gifts to the Church. They are to receive the blessing of baptism. The right of adoption was common even unto infants.
God added three thousand souls to the Church that day. Three thousand came to Christ as a result of the clear preaching of the Gospel. There were not any bands. There were not any skits, light shows or gimmicks. They heard the Gospel preached. And God changed their hearts through the preaching of the apostles.
We sin when we add to God’s word. We sin when we do not do what He tells us to do. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20a) We are to make disciples not converts. We to make disciples by teaching. We are not responsible for drawing men to Christ. He draws men to himself. He makes converts. (John 6:44,65; 12:32) That is not our responsibility. So stop trying to draw men to Christ. Preach the Gospel. That is all we are responsible for.