Practical Reflections on Acts: Acts 2:14-28

Acts 2:14‑28  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
14. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.
“With the eleven.” The first gospel message preached after the formation of the church had the full support and fellowship of the apostles. So too the words we preach (indeed, all we say) ought to be in full fellowship with the apostles’ doctrine.
15. For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
Under the power of divine grace, Peter does not rebuke their wicked mockery. He does, however, deal with it as “that which is natural” (1 Cor. 15:4646Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (1 Corinthians 15:46)), soberly giving answer to their irreverent jesting.
16. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.
Having arrested their attention by his calm reply which they could not gainsay, he begins to answer their unbelief, using “that which is spiritual.” If we are to effectively share the Word with others, this same calm spirit with Scriptural order and divine guidance must be used.
17. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
18. And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
“Servants” and “handmaidens.” Outward, public service and quiet, unseen service for Christ must be energized by the Spirit. Service submitted to and directed by Him will result in blessing, bringing God (prophesy) to those who are in need.
19. And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
Such signs as Peter speaks of aren’t characteristic of the present day of grace. But the realities of death (blood), judgment (fire) and sorrow (smoke) are, and they form a solemn, necessary gospel warning.
20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.
Before the Lord appears in that coming day of solemn judgment, all that man has relied on (without acknowledging God as the Giver) for his life and guidance won’t provide comfort or help. Today, believers especially need daily enjoyment of communion with the Giver not just His gifts.
21. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
These words of hope, though taken from the Old Testament prophecy of Joel, are rightly applied by Peter as guided by the Spirit to their current needs. We should also allow the Spirit full liberty to apply, as He sees fit, all of the Word Old and New Testaments—to every circumstance of our lives.
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 lowly, despised “carpenter’s son” (Matt. 13:5555Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? (Matthew 13:55)) is the one Peter preaches. They had witnessed His mighty works. Oh! the joy of connecting our lives and testimony in this world to this humble, rejected Jesus.
23. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.
God gives; man takes and murders. God’s sovereign purposes never set aside man’s solemn responsibility for crucifying the Lord of glory. Peter did not seek to gain their ear by speaking “fair words.” They were guilty of terrible, wicked acts against Messiah. He tells them the truth. Initially it may have offended them. But solemn, eternal issues rest on their hearing and submitting to God’s truth.
24. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.
Man’s part in the cross was to slay the innocent one. God raised Him from the dead. Impossible that death, the conquered foe, could hold the Conqueror! It was not possible for the grave to hold Him! In a world of death, sorrow and hopelessness, what a glorious hope is Christ’s resurrection! Let us boldly live and proclaim it before those without hope.
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.
The Lord was David’s constant object of life. Faith gave David that view the Lord’s presence was a living reality “He is on my right hand.” So the Lord’s constant presence and strength is our joy. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
26. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope.
Faith that knows in reality the Lord’s presence and strength in resurrection life brings joy, praise, rest and hope. Hope in a hopeless scene! What a bright message we have to proclaim to the lost!
27. Because Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.
Faith gives confidence in the unseen. David, knowing not Jesus, but by faith looking for Messiah and in faith prophesying of Him, looked forward to what we see as an accomplished fact. Jesus’ grave is empty. He is risen and we are risen with Him. Death has lost its sting and the grave its victory, and light has appeared in the region and shadow of death.
28. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy countenance.
The Lord Jesus has said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:66Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)). In walking by faith with Him, believers have the same assurance as David had that in following Him we walk in the “way of peace” (Rom. 3:1717And the way of peace have they not known: (Romans 3:17)) and the “way of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:2121For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (2 Peter 2:21)). David found that being in the ways of life brought joy, with the thought of seeing the Lord.
What a motive for obedience the thought of seeing the blessed Lord Jesus face to face in glory! May that blessed hope and joy constrain our hearts and feet to walk pleasing to Him in every step.
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:88Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8)).
Ed.