Another study from our Men’s Breakfast Bible Study group – we meet from 7-8am on Tuesday’s. Remember, I am team teaching with my boss so my studies are not concurrent!
We are already into chapter 2!! Last week Paul took us through Chapter one. Chapter One answers some fundamental questions – 1. Jesus is alive, and here is some proof, 2. What is the mission and purpose of the followers of Jesus – the continuation of his ministry, which now expands to the world, 3. If Jesus is alive, where is he now – ascended back into heaven, 4. Is Jesus gone forever? No, he is returning. 5. We see Peter taking the lead and initiating the replacement of Judas.
We now turn to chapter two.
READ ACTS 2:1-13
WHAT IS PENTECOST? Notice the text says, when the day of Pentecost arrived…
Pentecost has both an agricultural and historical meaning. Agriculturally it celebrated the completion of the grain harvest, which took place some 50 days after Passover (Pentecost means fiftieth). Farmers were to bring the first sheaf of wheat from the gathered crop and offer it to the Lord. Towards the end of the inter-testamental period it began to be observed as the anniversary of the giving of the law at Mount Sinai – which was fifty days after the Exodus.
One commentator has said that Luke may be expecting his readers to see the filling of the spirit like the sheaf which is offered to God as the sign of the great harvest to come. (Also, he says, Jesus has gone up to heaven and now is coming down, not with a written law but with the law which is written on the heart.)
THE SPIRIT COMES – WIND, FIRE AND SPEECH – ANY BIBLICAL SIGNIFICANCE?
Wind is often used as a sign of power – wind and spirit are words interchangeable – Genesis 1:1 – the Spirit / wind of the Lord hovered over the waters – God speaks to Job out of the wind – the whirlwind; Fire is often a sign of God’s presence and his purity – God appears to Moses out of the fire of the burning bush and declares the ground holy – the pillar of fire which is called the angel of the Lord leads Israel OUT of Egypt – while speech is a sign of universality – a reverse of babel in genesis 11.
They receive the promise of the Father – the Holy Spirit and the effect is instantaneous – they began to speak in other tongues – languages – almost certainly praising, worshipping, prophecying. This is completely consistent with how people react when the spirit come son them throughout the Bible – the disciples are doing what the 0 elders did in the camp in the desert, what Saul did when we encountered the prophets and so on.
WHY DO THE CROWD COMMENT THAT THESE ARE GALILEANS IN V7
There a bunch of what would be seen as uneducated, culturally backward rednecks sounding intelligent. The crowd is astonished – so astonished that some tried to say that they were simply drunk.
WHY DOES LUKE TAKE THE CARE TO LIST THE VARIOUS PLACES THAT THESE JEWS WERE FROM?
Note: Jew – comes from the word meaning one sprung from the tribe of Judah, or subject to the Kingdom of Judah, or a descendant of Jacob.
It illustrates the universality of the Gospel and is a further illustration of the reversal of Babel. The nations listed covers most of the first century Roman world, especially were Jewish communities existed. It provides one of the most comprehensive ancient catalogues of the Jewish Dispersion.
The world wide witness has begun.
God’s revelation is not bound to one particular language but transcends all variations of human speech. The spirit removes the barrier that hinders effective communication.
READ ACTS 2:14-21
HOW DOES PETER BEGIN HIS SERMON
By quoting scripture – Peter starts with scripture and then applies it – a good model.
Here we have a sample of one of the Themes of Acts – sermons / speeches. The sermon is abbreviated and obviously Luke has gotten he gist of it probably from Peter himself.
DO YOU NOTICE ANYTHING SIGNIFICANT IS LUKE’S REPORTING OF PETER’S SERMON?
No interpretation – he simply reports the abridged version – he makes no comment or interpretative suggestions. He lets Peter’s words speak for themselves.
WHAT IS PETER SAYING BY QUOTING FROM THE PROPHET JOEL
That the last days have been inaugurated. This is something which I think theologian N.T.Wright is correct about – the Jewish Messianic expectation was that the Messiah would come at the end of the age – this when they expected the out pouring of the spirit – but Jesus appears not at the end of the age but at the beginning of the end of the age – and that was something the Jewish leadership had a hardtime understanding. The OT prophecy of the messiah has now been fulfilled – the last days have begun because the Spirit has been poured out and here are the believers speaking languages and showing proof that this has happened – but there is work to be done by the people of God – and the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel is still in the future.
As one theologian has written – Between the day of Pentecost, when the spirit came, inaugurating the last days) and the day of the Lord (when Jesus will come concluding them) there stretches a long day of opportunity, during which the gospel of salvation will be preached throughout the world.
READ ACTS 22-41
WHAT DOES PETER PRESENT IN THESE VERSES?
Quite simply the Gospel. Peter has a defined concise gospel message here.
WHAT IS PETER’S KEY EVIDENCE OF WHO JESUS IS
The resurrection. I love v24 – God raised him up loosing the pangs of death because it was not possible for him to be held by it (death).
WHY MIGHT V38 SHOCKING FOR THE LISTENERS
Peter calls on this group of Jewish people to completely change their mind about Jesus and then submit to the humiliation of baptism – which the Jews regarded as necessary only for gentile converts because gentiles were unclean – in the very name of the person they had previously rejected and some may ven have been in the crowd screaming crucify him.
That they did this shows their belief – v44
WHAT TWO PROMISES DOES PETER SAY THOSE WHO BELIEVE WILL RECEIVE
Forgiveness and the HS
READ ACTS 2:42-47
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EARLY CHURCH?
- It was a learning church
- It was a loving church
- It was a worshipping church
- It was an evangelistic church