Peter Preaches (Acts 2:14-40)

After hearing the mocking from people who do not understand the work of the Holy Spirit, Peter stood up and preached to the crowd. Peter’s sermon attracts the attention of many people in Jerusalem, as it starts with firm greetings: “fellow Jews and all of you how live in Jerusalem… listen carefully to what I say” (v.14) and finishes with: “God had made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (v.36). Those who heard what Peter said were moved, which is literally translated from Greek as ‘cut to the heart’.

In the first part of his address, Peter wants to clarify that they were not drunk with wine. He argues that it was only nine in the morning, whereas usually people get drunk in the evening (refer to 1 Thessalonians 5:7). Rather, it was the fulfilment of God’s Words about the coming of the Holy Spirit on those who believe, which is not limited by gender, age, and status (verses 17-21 are direct quotes from Joel 2:28-32). At the end of this quote, Paul uses verse 21 as a bridge to evangelism.

In the second part (verses 22-36), Peter preaches the Gospel. There are two issues that he focuses on in his preaching:

  1. about the people’s sin, which is to crucify/kill Jesus. Although the Romans were the ones who carried out the crucifixion, it was the Jews who asked for it and cried out ‘crucify Him!’. Peter rebukes them strongly and made them realised that Jesus, whom they crucified and killed, is Lord and Saviour.

  2. about Jesus and David (verses 22-36). Peter conveys to the Jews who Jesus is and His works (signs, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension). Interestingly, Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-11 to explain, compare, and correct their misunderstanding. The Jews think that David speaks of himself in Psalm 16 as David uses the word ‘I’. Peter proves that it is not right, because David died (v.29). Therefore, Psalm 16:8-11 clearly does not refer to David. Instead, the passage points to Jesus (verses 25, 31-32). Peter also proves that Jesus is Lord and Saviour by quoting Psalm 110:1. Again, in his argument Peter explains that David was not talking about himself. Verse 34 (which is from Psalm 110) says: the Lord said to my Lord ‘sit at my right hand’, which does not fit with the life of David. Because of that, Peter then said: for David did not ascend to heaven (v.34).

Peter’s emphasis is on sin and the Gospel; it does not just touch and satisfy minds and intellects, but it also moves the hearts of those listening. It results in real acts of surrender to repent and be baptised. Which part of God’s Words ‘pierces’ your heart today? In what way is God calling you to repentance and transformation? May the Lord Jesus bless you!

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