But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them:
“Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; 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 BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOUR OF SMOKE. THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know– this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
“For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’
“Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT ONE OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.
“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”‘ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.”Acts 2:14-36
Are you aware that we have already begun the speeches of Acts? Remember Gem 1336 where I commented about the significance of the speeches in the Book of Acts? Well, this speech of Peter has already begun. If you go back to look at the Gem mentioned above, you will see this is the 3rd Speech of Acts. (The third speech in Acts – Peter’s speech at Pentecost 2:14b-36, 38-39, 40b) The two earlier ones were smaller ones. I let the significance pass by for the sake of moving on. But I can’t do the same in this case. Look back at what I said in Gems 1336. All of the speech material is included by Luke in Acts for a purpose. Our challenge is to work out why these speeches appear and for what purpose. Keep in mind the overall picture as you look at the minute details. Luke’s use of the speech material in the Book of Acts is a major challenge for us to work out. Why does Luke include so many speeches and place them where he does?
Notice how this long, significant speech is introduced:
Peter stands to make his point: This equates to standing to make an important speech. You don’t stay seated to give an address like this. Peter stood up in front of all who were gathered to make sure he got his point across forcefully. Both in the act of standing and the words used indicate the powerful and direct way in which he spoke.
With the Eleven: The Eleven plus Peter makes The Twelve. The solidarity and the leadership is at stake here.
He raised his voice: Indicating the forceful way in which he spoke. Remember he had no microphone back then. It was important that he be heard over the crowd. Imagine the babble going on at the time after the confusion of tongues present. So Peter speaks in a loud voice in order to be heard.
He declared: this is the same verb as was used in verse 4 – [apophtheggesthai]– the idea in both verses is to speak, make an utterance, to address a group of people. But it also has the sense of making a prophetic utterance, not necessarily an utterance related to predicting the future, but an inspired utterance, expressing oneself under the influence of the Spirit. To make a spiritual declaration of importance or to declare forcefully and with enthusiasm or passion – or both. Which leads to the ensuing question: when Peter spoke, did the same thing happen as happened when the 120 spoke to gathered multitudes? In other words did the people hear Peter’s speech (or impassioned explanation as to what was going on) each in their own languages as before? Or did Peter speak in Aramaic and only some could understand or did he speak in one of the languages of wider communication (Greek or Latin)? That is one of the first questions to ask about this passage. Of course there are many other questions that need to be asked.
Now note the elements in his speech – not the content of the speech but the setting and formal elements of it. Do you see the patterns and the repetition? They are important. The focus or intended audience is clear isn’t it? So too are the number of times they are challenged to see the evidence before them. This is a very strong speech which Peter makes boldly and with clarity and sharpness.
Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: [Acts 2:14-16]
Men of Israel, listen to these words: attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. [Acts 2:22-23]
Brethren, I may confidently say to you and so, because he was a prophet and knew to which we are all witnesses. He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain this Jesus whom you crucified, God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.” [Acts 2:29-32] Acts 2:2:14-16, 22-23, 29-32
Allow me to draw your attention to one further point before I leave you to ponder the content. Note how Peter addresses the wrong suppositions first and then he makes his point based on the Scripture and the evidence that is obvious to all of them. He could have made his point without pointing out their error. But Peter takes no such chance. He makes it clear they are wrong to suppose these people are drunk. He firstly addresses the issue of their claim and then launches into the matter of what was really behind all this. This is basically Paul’s approach as well. They address the presuppositions of their audience first. They don’t allow wrong presuppositions to stand but always address their audiences beliefs or what they suppose those beliefs to be. Paul is very good at second-guessing what he feels his audience are thinking. There are hints of that in Peter’s speech too but in the first instance Peter addresses the claim by members of the crowd present, that the earlier speakers were drunk. Then when he has refuted their claim, he moves on to the more important issues. Now what are they? Time for you to work that out.
You know what to do from years, months or weeks of following Bible Gems (for you old hands), when you are faced with an Old Testament passage being quoted in the New Testament. Don’t just read the excerpt you have quoted before you in Acts. Rather look up the segments quoted in Acts in order to investigate the original passage in the Old Testament. We will begin to address the issues raised by all of these approaches or methods in the next Gems.
When life asks you a question, how you answer explains why you are where you are!T D Jakes
Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward & uncomfortable when trying something new.Brian Tracy
Maturity has to do with the experiences you’ve had, not how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.Anon
Life is all about taking risks. If you never take risks, then you’ll never know what you’re capable of.Anon
When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills!Chinese Proverb