Acts 2:22-47

Peter's first sermon

This chapter records Peter's first sermon after the Holy Spirit was given to believers at Pentecost. It is significant because it sets the tone for the message which the Holy Spirit would have all Christians tell the world. Young preachers, do not waste your time trying to "fix" the world. Fix your church as necessary, but to the world, preach the Gospel.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

[Jesus of Nazareth] The subject of this sermon. "And the Word (God the Son) was made flesh (Jesus of Nazareth), and dwelt among us...". John 1:14.

[Approved of God] Miracles and wonders accompanied Jesus' ministry attesting to God's approval of his claim to be the "annointed one" (Messiah).
Luke 3:21-22, John 2:23, John 3:2, John 12:42-43.

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

[Being delivered by the determinate counsel] The death of Jesus was not due to God's inabiity to control the situation. It was according to God's plan which had been developed before the universe was created. 1 Peter 1:19-20.
Even Satan found himself involuntarily participating in God's project. Satan put it in the heart of Judas Iscariot to deliver Jesus into the hand of the Jewish leadership who then transferred Jesus to the Roman government with a demand that he be put to death. Pilate, the Roman governor, whose job it was to assure justice, found no fault in Jesus yet yielded to the will of the Jews and delivered Jesus to the soldiers to be crucified.
John 10:17-18, Luke 22:1-6, Luke 22:47-54, Mark 15:1, John 19:10-11, Mark 15:10-15.

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

[Whom God hath raised up] The evil action of men was overridden by God. Jesus predicted his resurrection, people understood the prediction and it literally happened as predicted. The apostles drove this home as it proves that Jesus is the Christ and that God is more powerful than the crucifiers.
Luke 18:31-33, Matthew 27:62-66, Acts 2:32, 3:26, 5:30, 10:40, 13:32-33.

[It was not possible that he should be holden] If the evil intentions of Satan and men were successfully carried out and Jesus' death permanently removed him from the scene then their plan would have superceeded God's plan, their power would have exceeded God's power. Impossible. Modern unregererate man considers himself to be at least the equal of God and seriously dreams of being able to create life. It will not happen. Conversely, for God, the creator and giver of life, resurrection of a dead body is not difficult.
Genesis 2:7, Mark 5:22-23, 35-42, John 11:39-44, Acts 26:8, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

[David speaketh concerning him] Psalm 16:7-11. The difference in wording is due to translation variations. Peter was probably quoting from the Hebrew scrolls or possibly from the Septuagent (A Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures which came into wide use during the century before Christ.) We, of course, are reading the English language translation commonly known as the King James Version of 1611. Since languages usually do not translate word for word, minor variations occur. The Holy Spirit ensures that the meaning and efficacy are maintained.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

[His sepulchre is with us unto this day] David was an historical figure, not just the hero of some fiction story. The Jewish people were very familiar with his life and writings. His current state is dead and buried. No one claims that he has been resurrected..

30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

[Therefore being a prophet] David is acknowledged to be a prophet so his writings have credibility.

[Fruit of his loins...Christ to sit on the throne] God made an irrevolkable promise to David that one of his physical descendents would sit permanently upon the throne of Israel. By Peter's time the nation Israel had been without a king for centuries, having been under the heel of various conquerers. Instead of having a king they had been governed by representatives of the oppressors. Israel was looking forward to the fulfilment of God's promise to raise up a king (Messiah) to sit upon the restored throne of David. This implied throwing off the oppressors and reestablishing an independent kingdom. 2 Samuel 7:8-17, Isaiah 9:2-7.

31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

[He seeing this before] David was permitted by God to see into the future and understand that Christ must first die and then be resurrected. David prophesied that Christ would go through the standard physical death experience; the soul is separated from the body and goes to Sheol, and the body to the normal disposal place, in Jesus' case, a tomb. Note! Contrary to common belief, "Hell" is not the permanent lake of fire described in Revelation 20:10-20. Such terms as Hell or the grave are various translations of Sheol, the holding place for the souls of the dead. See our notes regarding death.
Although Jesus' soul and body would be separated David also saw that Jesus' death would not be permanent. He would be resurrected before his body could begin to decay.

32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

[This Jesus hath God raised up.] This Jesus (whom "ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (ver 23)), hath GOD raised up. We are witneses to this fact and testify of it to you.

33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

[By the right hand of God exalted] It appears that you and God have a significant difference of opinion. You rejected Jesus Christ and crucified him. God, by his supreme power (right hand) has exalted Jesus, both by resurrecting him and by sending the Holy Spirit of God to witness of and glorify him through the signs and wonders which you have been privileged to observe.

34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

[The Lord said unto my Lord] To emphasize that David is not speaking of himself Peter points out that David has not yet been resurrected. "The Lord (God the Father) said unto my Lord (God the Son -- Jesus Christ) sit thou..." . This time Peter is quoting Psalm 110:1. See related scriptures
Mark 12:35-37, Mark 14:61-62, Mark 16:19.

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

[God hath made the same Jesus...both Lord and Christ.] Conclusion! Regardless of what you may have thought or been taught, it is undeniable that Jesus of Nazareth is God (Lord) and God's annointed one (Christ).

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

[What shall we do?] Being convinced by the Holy Spirit of God (pricked in their heart) that they had mistakenly participated in the crucifixion of God himself, their minds reeled at the enormity of their sin. They cried out in fear, "What shall we do?"

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

[Repent] The greek word translated repent denotes a reversal of course. For example, a person is walking along a path when he realizes that to continue on that course will take him further from his destination. He turns around and corrects his error. In this context, repentance implies turning from the original path of sin and turning to commitment to Christ.

[Be baptized] "Baptize" is a transliteration of the Greek word which is usually translated "immerse". By the seventeenth century variations in baptismal rituals had arisen among various religious groups, some submerged under water, some sprinkled and some stood in water and had more poured over their heads. When it came time to translate the word Baptizo is was decided to merely carry the Greek word into the English text.
Baptism is not a Christian invention. The Jews were familiar with ritual bathing in many contexts. Certain rites of purification required immersion. As we today tend to mark special events in our lives, such as graduation or marriage or death, with ritual observances, so baptism was practiced to underscore turning points in the lives of Jews. Proselytes were baptized to mark leaving paganism and adopting Judaism. Jews who had become lazy and careless about their religion were challenged by John the Baptist to repent and be baptized to indicate their renewed dedication to the faith.
There is no doubt that two sincere lines of thought accompany this command to be baptized. Some believe that "And be baptized" makes baptism a requirement in order to be saved. Others, equally sincerely, believe that baptism is a symbolic testimony to testify of the change which has already taken place in a person's heart. I am personally convinced that baptism is not a requirement for salvation. Jesus requested that people believe on him but did not attach, "And be baptized" to his request. It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates the human spirit, not any human ritual. However one of the results of the Holy Spirit in a person's life is a desire to share their faith in Christ with others. Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. " Matthew 10:32-33. If it were up to me to determine whether or not a person is born again (and I am thankfull it is not) I would be rather concerned about a person who in Christian company professes Christ, but is unwilling to make a public profession through baptism.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

[To You, and to your children, and to all that are afar off] "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. "And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 26:47.
You (Jewish adults), your children (your descendants), afar off (non-Jews and their descendents).

40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

[Three thousand souls] The Jewish priesthood had been busy trying to stamp out this sect of believers in Christ, but they were fighting against God.

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

[And the Lord added to the church daily] "... I will build my church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18.


This page updated 10/28/2007

Copyright (C) 2007 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved