Acts 2             


1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one

accord in one place.” Was now come for was fully come, Authorized Version;

all together for with one accord, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus.

When the day of Pentecost was now come; literally, when the day of Pentecost

i.e., of the fiftieth day — was in the course of being completed. The fiftieth day

(reckoned from the end of the 16th of Nisan, on which Jesus was crucified) was

actually come, but was not ended (compare Luke 9:11). All together; ὁμοῦ - homou -

together - for ὁμοθυμαδόν – homothumadon – with one accord : but ὁμοθυμαδόν

 a favorite word in the Acts (ch. 4:24, note) — seems preferable to ὁμοῦ, which

occurs only in John. In one place (see ch.1:15, note). The purpose, doubtless, of

their coming together was for prayer, as in ch.1:14; and the third hour (9 a.m.,

v. 15), the hour of offering the morning sacrifice, was close at hand (compare

ch. 3:1 and Luke 1:10).


2 “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing

mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.”

From heaven a sound for a sound from heaven, Authorized Version; as of the

rushing of a for as of a rushing, Authorized Version. All the house; showing that

it was in a private dwelling, not in the temple (as in ch.3:1) that they were

assembled (see v. 46). Perhaps the word “church” (ὁ κυριακὸς οῖκος – ho

kuriakos oikos – the Lord’s house) derives its use from these early meetings

of the disciples in a house, as distinguished from the temple (τὸ ἱερὸν

to hieron - temple).


3 “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon

each of them.” Tongues parting asunder for cloven tongues, Authorized Version;

each one for each, Authorized Version. There appeared. They had heard the sound,

now they see the tongues of fire, and then they feel the Spirit working in them

(see v. 2).  Tongues parting asunder. The idea of the cloven tongue, i.e. a tongue

parted into two, which is thought to have been the origin of the miter, is

not suggested either by the Greek or by the circumstances, and is clearly a

mistaken one. Διαμεριζόμεναι – Diamerizomenai – dividing - means distributing

 themselves or being distributed. From the central apparition, or rather place of sound,

they saw issuing forth many several tongues, looking like small flames of fire, and

one such tongue sat upon each one of the brethren or disciples present.

Each one. That Chrysostom is right (‘Hom.’4.) in interpreting the each

one of this verse of the hundred and twenty, and not of the twelve, and the

all in v. 4 of all present besides the apostles, may be demonstrated. For

not only must the all of v. 1 refer to the same company as was described

in the preceding chapter (vs. 15-26), but it is quite clear in v. 15 of this

chapter that Peter and the eleven (v. 14), standing up separate from the

body of the disciples, say of them, “These are not drunken, as ye suppose;”

which is a demonstration that those of whom they thus spoke had been

speaking with tongues (see also ch.10:44). St. Augustine, too, says

that the hundred and twenty all received the Holy Spirit. To the same effect

Meyer, Wordsworth, Alford (who adds, “Not the hundred and twenty only,

but all the believers in Christ then congregated at Jerusalem;” so also

Lange). Farrar well remarks, “It was the consecration of a whole Church to

be all of them a chosen generation, a royal priest- hood, a holy nation, a

peculiar people” (‘Life of St. Paul,’ Acts 5.). Lange says, “Not only the

apostles, but all the disciples, were filled with the Holy Ghost. There is a

universal priesthood of all believers, and the Holy Ghost is the anointing

which consecrates and qualifies for this priesthood”


4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other

tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Spirit for Ghost, Authorized Version.

Other tongues (I Corinthians 14:21; Isaiah 28:11); the same as the “new tongues”

of Mark 16:17.  Paul speaks of them as “the tongues of men and of angels”

(I Corinthians 13:1), and as “kinds of tongues” (ibid. ch.12:10). His habitual phrase

is “speaking in [or with] a tongue [or tongues]” (ibid. ch.14:2, 4-6, etc.), and the

verb is always λαλεῖν – lalein – to be speaking, as here. What these tongues were

on this occasion we are explicitly informed in vs. 6, 8, and 11. They were the

tongues of the various nationalities present at the feast — Parthians, Medes,

Elamites, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Phrygians, Arabians, etc. This is so clearly

and so distinctly stated that it is astonishing that any one should deny it who

accepts Luke’s account as historical. The only room for doubt is whether the

speakers spoke in these divers languages, or the hearers heard in them though

the speakers spoke in only one tongue. But not to mention that this is far more

difficult to imagine, and transfers the miracle from those who had the Holy Spirit

to those who had it not, it is against the plain language of the text, which tells

us that “they began to speak with other tongues,” and that “every man

heard them speaking in his own language.” “Speaking,” said they, “in our

own tongues the mighty works of God.” There may, indeed, have been

something ecstatic besides in these utterances, but there is no reference to

such made either by Luke or by the audience whose words he reports.

The narrative before us does not hint at any after use of the gift of tongues

for missionary purposes. In ch.10:46; 11:15-17; 19:6, as well as in the passages

above referred to in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, the speaking with tongues

is always spoken of — often in connection with prophecy — simply as a gift and

a manifestation (I Corinthians 12:7) OF THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!   

In this case and in ch.10:46 the subject matter of the utterance is THE GREATNESS

OF GOD’S WORKS -  τὰ μεγαλεῖα  τοῦ Θεοῦ μεγαλυνόντων τὸν Θεὸν – ta megaleia

tou Theou megalunonton ton Theon.  In I Corinthians 14:2 it is “mysteries;” in v. 15,

prayers and psalms; in v. 16 it is blessing and thanksgiving (εὐλογῇς eulogies - 

to give a  blessing  and εὐχαριστία   eucharistia - thanksgiving).  But nowhere,

either in  Holy Scripture or in the Fathers of the three first centuries, is the gift

of tongues spoken of in connection with preaching to foreign nations.

Some suggest that the whole conception of speaking with tongues arose from

the anticipation on the part of the apostles that great difficulty would arise

in propagating the gospel from the impossibility of learning to speak the

necessary languages. The solution with some was that, under the ecstasy

caused by the Holy Spirit, the hearers would be able to translate what they

heard into their own tongue; others rather thought that by the same power

the apostles would be able to speak any dialect they pleased at the moment.

Hence the conception of the day of Pentecost as described by St. Luke!

The significance of the miracle seems to be that it points to the time when all

shall be ONE IN CHRIST and shall all speak and understand the same speech;

and not only all men, but men and angels, the whole family in heaven and earth,”

things in the heavens and things upon the earth” ALL GATHERED TOGETHER

IN ONE IN CHRIST!  (“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He

might gather together  in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven,

and which are on earth, even in HIM!”



The Symbols of the Spirit’s Presence (vs. 1-4)


It is important that we mark with some precision what actually occurred on

this memorable day. On the day of Pentecost the company of disciples met

together as usual at the customary hour of morning prayer, but whether in

one of the thirty rooms which Josephus tells us were connected with the

courts of Herod’s temple, or in the private house where they lodged, is

uncertain. As we know that they attended morning prayer in the temple

(see ch. 3:1), there is much in favor of the scene occurring within the

temple precincts. There a large company could be readily and conveniently

assembled, and there the high priest and Levitical guard would have the

necessary authority to arrest “disturbers of the peace.” While the apostolic

company was engaged in prayer, a sudden rushing sound was heard, like

that which accompanies an earthquake. It seemed to sweep through the

room, and fill it with a new and inspiring atmosphere; and then, as each one

of them looked in astonishment upon his companion, he saw a central

flame come and part, settling in divided streams upon each head. The

mystic symbols soon passed away, but they left the disciples conscious of a

new life; they were as men moved beyond themselves by a mighty inward

impulse. The glow of A DIVINE KINDLING was upon their faces, the passion

of a Divine urging was within their souls, the freedom of a Divine utterance

was upon their lips; they began to speak to the people around about the

Messiahship of Jesus, the crucified. The rumor soon spread among the

excitable multitudes, gathered from all parts, who were present at the feast.

They crowded round the apostles; they felt the influence of their

enthusiasm; they heard one and another of them speaking in the familiar

language of their birthplace; they were moved by the power of a Divine

presence, and that day three thousand bowed the knee to Christ. Those

disciples had been told to wait for spiritual power — inward, heart-power.

And the signs that attended the gift were designed to indicate the kind of

power that came. It was a mighty breath filling them with larger life. They

were caught up, and encircled as with a great wind of Divine energy, and in

this atmosphere they breathed more freely, and lived more nobly. Just as if the

temperature of this northern atmosphere were raised suddenly, and a

mighty tropical river were to pour its fertilizing inundation ever the

country, the result would be the impartation of a vigorous and gigantic

growth to the vegetation already in existence, and at the same time the

development of life in seeds and germs which had long lain latent in the

soil, incapable of vegetation in the unkindly climate of their birth. Exactly

in the same way, the flood of a Divine life, poured suddenly into the souls

of men, enlarged and ennobled qualities which had been used already, and

at the same time developed powers which never could have become

apparent in the cold, low temperature of natural life. It may be well to

recall the associations of the Feast of Pentecost, especially noting that it

was held to commemorate the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. Then

Law came as a series of formal commandments; now Law came as an

inward impulse to righteousness; it was “written in the mind and the heart.”

The symbols designed to show the character of the Spirit’s work in the

disciples are three, viz. wind, fire, tongues.


  • THE SYMBOL OF THE WIND. This would recall our Lord’s simile

used in conversation with the inquiring Nicodemus (John 3:8), “The

wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but

canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth:  so is every one

that is born of the Spirit.” It would also remind of the later

incident when Jesus “breathed on them, and said, Receive ye the Holy

Ghost” (John 20:22). The figure in the Hebrew word for Spirit (punch)

is “breath,” or “wind.” We may note that the wind suggests the freeness of

the Spirit, the force of the Spirit, and the elevating and inspiring influence

of the Spirit.


  • THE SYMBOL, OF THE FIRE. This would recall the words of John

the baptizer, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”

Fire is conceived as the great purging and purifying agent. John could not

forgive sin, or cleanse souls, or sanctify. For this work he prepared the

way. Christ cleanses and sanctifies, by His Spirit, with a fullness and a

power that can only be represented by the work of fire on precious metal.

A Power like fire is needed to destroy and root out SELF and SIN..


  • THE SYMBOL OF THE TONGUES. It is difficult to decide

precisely the form of the gift that came to these first disciples. Afterwards

we find the gift of tongues explained as an ecstatic utterance, which

required interpretation. Here we may assume that the gospel message was

delivered by different individuals, in different languages, and in different

parts of the temple courts. We should see that it fulfilled the promise made

to the disciples of power to witness. The first sign of the Power came in

adaptation to the particular circumstances and needs of the day, and they

might see in this the assurance that the power would come in adaptation to

every day’s needs. Not always as power to speak a foreign language, but

always as power to speak, as the freed loosened tongue, as a new tongue,

so that they might preach Christ, and witness everywhere for the “Prince

and Savior, exalted to give repentance, and remission of sins.”

The same Spirit is still with the Church and with us; and is as certainly and

precisely adapting his grace and help to the work and the witness we are

called to render.



The Epoch of the Spiritual Dispensation (vs. 1-4)


  • THE DAY. The fiftieth after the Passover; the beginning of the great

festival of harvest. What associations of joy! It was a focus of national life.

It was a convenient season for the designs of Providence. Jerusalem was

thronged, and the multitude was alive with thought. A sound now heard

from the depths of the world of spirit must vibrate through the conscience

of mankind for ages.


  • THE SOUND. As of a mighty blast from heaven, sweeping through the

whole house from top to bottom. The phenomena of the wind and of the

storm have ever been the natural symbolism of Divine presence and power

to the human intelligence.  The sense of hearing is the peculiarly believing

sense; all through the grades of language faith “cometh by hearing.” Now it

is the soft voice of love, and now that of power, which speaks; in the

zephyr or in the boreal blast.


  • THE LIGHT. The eye, too, is addressed. This is the more skeptical

sense, and either confirms or corrects the report of the ear. Thomas was in

the meeting, and would possibly have explained the sound away. The

testimony of the eye is needed for full satisfaction, and is given. Not one

but many tongues, cleft and as of fire, are seen; on the head of each disciple

rests a tongue. The picture is that of a wing of flame, distributed into

manifold parts according to the number of those present. And this is the

analysis of the symbol: cleansing, all-penetrating Divine activity; the love

that consumes evil, and fuses the material of life to ends of refinement;

unity of principle with distributive and various operation in this power. As

the burning ray reveals the gem, so does the dispiriting flame reveal the

love that ever burns in the center of things, in the heart of the living God.

Here, then, was the “Spirit of power and of love” made known through ear

and eye in inmost conscience and feeling.


  • THE EFFECT. It was fullness of conscious life, which in turn breaks

forth in wondrous action. All things are for this epoch possible. They begin

to speak in foreign tongues. Their utterances are felt to be not their own. It

is “according as the Spirit granted them utterance.” They are the AEolian

harps on which the wind is playing. The best of our speech and thought is

in like manner from an inner fullness, and is felt not to be our own. What

we do as we say “unconsciously,” i.e. conscious that it is not we but God

in us, is our true deed. Mozart could not explain to his friend the process

of his marvelous musical constructions. At times the thoughts flowed into

him in full stream, and he merely reported them as they came. We cannot

artificially bring on the hour of inspiration. We must watch and wait and

pray. For every faithful heart there are Pentecostal epochs. And of each it

will be recorded, “suddenly it came,” like all Divine comings, to leave

unlooked-for power and blessing behind.



The Great Lesson of the Pentecost (v. 4)


It seems a strange thing that our Lord, when preparing His disciples for the

coming of the Spirit, should set a higher value on that Spirit’s work than

on the continuance of His own (John 16:7-11). The only satisfactory

explanation is this — that the Spirit’s work was the continuance of His

own. It continued that Divine presence which was essential to the stability

and culture of the disciples; for both while He lived among men and when

He passed beyond human vision, our Savior’s words were true, “Without

me ye can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)   No longer is Christ outside us, only to be

seen by the eye, heard by the ear, and touched by the hand; we are now the

“temples of the Holy Ghost;” He dwelleth with us, and is in us. We do not

rightly apprehend the scene of Pentecost if we regard it only as the first of

a series of separate gifts of the Spirit, which may be made in answer to

prayer. We take a much more comprehensive and truthful view when we

regard it as the entrance of God the Holy Ghost upon His special mission in

relation to THE FULL REDEMPTION OF MANKIND!  It was, as it were, the

opening of the heavens, and the sending forth of the Divine Spirit, to brood forever

over the waters, quickening life. It was His reception in the hearts prepared

for Him, that He might begin a work which, ever spreading and widening,

seeks to enthrone God the Father in EVERY HEART and EVERY LIFE! As God

the Son entered and won first a mother’s heart, that He might get a foothold

from which to enter the heart of the whole world; so God the Spirit

came into the souls of a few disciples first, only that He might extend His

sway, spreading from heart to heart, entering, subduing, teaching, and

sanctifying, ever working for that glorious day when the “people shall be

all holy.” We fix attention on this one point: The disciples gained, and kept

from that day, a deep sense of their entire dependence on God, and on God

as the indwelling, in working Spirit. They could never recall that “day of

Pentecost” without contrasting what they were before it came, and what

they were after it had passed. There was contrast in their measure of

spiritual vision, and contrast in the energy and joy of their work. And so

they learned, in a most effective way, that their sufficiency was of God.

The secret of all moral strength is DEPENDENCE ON GOD! — open-

heartedness to receive, and simple readiness to obey and work out, all the

inward impulses and leadings of His Holy Spirit. Because the disciples learned

this lesson of Pentecost so well, therefore it can be thus reported concerning

them, “They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with

them, and confirming the Word with signs following.”


Application of this lesson may be made to the Christian.


  • We have a Christian life to maintain, culture and growth to watch over,

higher truth to reach, clusters of graces to ripen, and the power of a holy

example to wield. But we “are not sufficient of ourselves even to think

anything as of ourselves.” “Our sufficiency is of God.” We too need the

Quickener, Comforter, and Teacher.


  • We too have a conflict to wage, and sufferings to bear for our Master.

And who “dares to do the warfare at his own charges”? We are only strong

in God either to fight or to bear.


  • We too have a work to do for Christ, and a witness to render. And we

must learn to say after the great apostle, “I can do all things through Him

who strengtheneth me.” What we need is spiritual power, Spirit-power, the

Pentecostal power. When shall we fully grasp the inspiring truth the

Holy Ghost is with us?




   The Day of Pentecost: The Manifestation of the Spirit (1-4)


  • THE TIME AND PLACE. Correspondence with the facts of the natural

world and of the Jewish Church. Harvest festival. Connection with the

Passover, from which it was reckoned — seven weeks. The gifts of God

poured out at Jerusalem, where yet he was about to pour out his

judgments. The new must be grafted on the old, according to the promises

in the prophets, that there should still be a remnant according to the

election of grace. Favorable position of Palestine to be the center of the

world’s religious life. Distinction from Greece and Rome, and the great

absolutisms of the East. Providential education of the Jews to be the

world’s messengers in Christ’s Name. Rebuke of human pride. Not to the

wise, not to the wealthy, not to the politically powerful, was the function

assigned, but to the small and despised people in whom the gracious

preparation was made, to the Church when it was in the ATTITUDE OF





Ø      Tongues; not swords, not scepters, but the sign of persuasion and moral

victory over men’s hearts.


Ø      Fire, changing, subduing, penetrating, purifying, irresistible. The

      element of the world’s destruction. So the power of truth brings about

      the overthrow of error and the destruction of the evil world.


Ø      Accompanied with the sound of a mighty rushing wind from heaven,

symbol of the vastness of the spiritual forces now to be sent upon earth,

of their mysteriousness of operation, of their super-earthly origin; not

brought about by any devices or machinery of man’s, but the free gift

of God, that His Name alone be glorified.


Ø      Distributed amongst God’s people; “sat upon each of them,” “cloven

tongues,” probably referring to the flames being divided into portions -

“parting asunder” (Revised Version). Whether the all of v. 1 mean all

the twelve apostles alone, or all the disciples, is of little consequence,

for the promise of the Spirit was declared by Peter to be FOR ALL

FLESH!  (see below).


Ø      The voice of the Spirit. Either an unknown tongue which the Spirit

interpreted, partly by inspiration of those who heard it, and partly by

communication of its meaning to individuals, or the special gift of

languages imparted for the occasion, by a miraculous elevation of the

faculties, so that the uneducated Jew spoke a foreign tongue. The

former seems the most likely. But the one great fact is THE




Baptism of the Holy Ghost (v. 4)


Connect with facts; the position and responsibilities of the Church, the

promise given, the antecedent state of the world, the need of a Divine

power for the mission of grace, the importance of such a miracle for the

confirmation of faith and the establishment of Christianity, the uplifting of

the agents above natural infirmities, errors, and sins.


  • A GREAT EPOCH IN HUMAN HISTORY. World filled with many things —

thoughts, speculations, strivings, powers; capable of much, but the great

want the Spirit. Truth, love, life, for a false world — a world at enmity

with itself, fall of disorder; a dying world, needing to be renewed and



  • A GREAT GIFT OF GOD TO MAN. Suddenly bestowed; freely, apart

from man’s claims and merits; upon all, without respect of persons, for the

selection of the few believing Jews, with a view to the abolition of Judaism

and of all restrictions; abundantly — “all filled,” to their own astonishment,

with supernatural powers. Spiritual gifts above all other gifts. Even science

points to a continuous ascent of man. He is only highest when he is filled



  • A GREAT CHANGE in individuals and in the community. We may

anticipate a similar baptism of the Holy Ghost, not with the same external

manifestation, but with substantially the same elevation of faith and life.

Instances of such a baptism in great preachers and workers, in lowly men

and women, in periods of the Church’s history. Suddenly the fact may

appear, but, like the first Christians, our duty is to be ready for it, waiting,

expecting, with one accord, often in one place. Revival of the Church,

conversion of the world, should be viewed in their relation to this

stupendous change, and what came out of it. Baptism is consecration. The

Holy Ghost is not given for signs and wonders, but to endow the Church

for its mission to the world. The power of utterance is the great test of

Divine endowment, not in the sense of human eloquence, but in the

fulfillment of the Spirit’s work, to convince:


Ø      “the world of sin,

Ø      of righteousness, and

Ø      of judgment” (John 16:8-10). And so:


  • A GREAT OPENING OF HEAVEN. The one fact of Pentecost is the

pledge of the future. It is the gate through which we can see endless glory:

“angels of God ascending and descending.” “All the families of the earth”

blessed in the true children of Abraham. We must admit of no compromise

in the proclamation of such a message. If Christianity is no more than a

moral doctrine, then Pentecost is lost in the background of a primitive

antiquity; if it is “life from the dead,” then we must ceaselessly repeat the

watchword, “This is He that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” We can do

nothing without a Divine Christ, a Divine Spirit, the promise of the

Father, A NEW CREATION!  To this opened heaven all are alike invited.

The conditions of such a baptism were proclaimed by Jesus Himself on the

mount, through all His ministry. “Come unto me;” “Ask, and it shall be

given unto you;” “Walk in the light, and be children of light.”


5 “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of

every nation under heaven.”  Now for and, Authorized Version; from for out of,

Authorized Version. Dwelling; either Jews come up for the feast, or perhaps

rather domiciled at Jerusalem from motives of piety.


6 “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together,

and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in

his own language.” And when this sound (φωνῆς – phonaes - sound) was

heard for now when this was noised abroad Authorized Version, which the

words cannot mean; speaking for speak, Authorized Version. This sound.

The question still remains whether the sound (φωνή) refers to the sound

(ἤχος echos – resound; blare) of the rushing mighty wind mentioned in

v. 2, or to the voices of those who spake with tongues. If the last, we should

rather have expected sounds or voices in the plural; and it is further in

favor of the former that γενομένης τῆς φωνῆς ταύτης – genomenaes taes

phonaes tautaes – now when this sound seems to take up the ἐγένετο ἤχος

 egeneto echos – there came a blare  -   of v. 2. The word φωνή is applied to

πνεῦμα – pneuma – spirit -  in John 3:8. Nor is it likely, at first sight, that the

disciples in the house where they were sitting should have spoken loud enough

to attract the notice of people outside. Whereas the sound of a rushing mighty

wind, sufficient (as in ch. 4:31) to shake the house, would naturally be heard

by passers-by.  On the other hand, however, φωνή seems to point decisively

to the human voice (see its use, I Corinthians 14:10).


7 “And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another,

Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?” Saying for saying one

to another, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. Amazed

(ἐξίσταντο – existanto – they are amazed). Galilaeans; describing merely

their nationality. The Galilaean accent was peculiar and  well known

(see Mark 14:70; Luke 22:59; Matthew 26:73).


8 “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were

born?” Language for tongue, Authorized Version. Language (διαλέκτῳ -

dialekto – dialect; vernacular, as in Acts 1:19). It only occurs in the New

Testament in the Acts, and may mean either language or dialect. Here it

is properly rendered language, and is synonymous with γλώσσαις – glossais –

languages in v. 11.


9 “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in

Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,”

In Judaea for and in Judaea, Authorized Version. Parthians and Medes and

Elamites. These would be the Israelites of the first dispersion, the

descendants of those of the ten tribes who were deported by the Assyrians,

and of whom the Afghans are perhaps a remnant, and of the first

Babylonian captivity. Mesopotamia and Babylon were at this time in

possession of the Parthians. Babylon was a great Jewish colony, the seat of

“the princes of the Captivity,” and of one of the great rabbinical schools.

Judaea. The mention of Judaea here is very odd, and can scarcely be

right, both from its situation between Mesopotamia and Cappadocia, and

because Jews (Judaeans) are mentioned again in v. 10 (where, however,

see note). India, which seems to have been in Chrysostom’s Codex

(‘Hem.’4., end of [3]), Idumaea, Bithynia, and Armenia, have all been

suggested as conjectural emendations. One might have expected Galatia,

with its different Celtic dialect, and which goes with Pontus, Cappadocia,

and Asia in I Peter 1:1; a passage, by the way, which shows that there

were many Jews in those provinces: Aquila, too, was a Jew from Pontus

(ch. 18:2). ΛΨΔΙΑ, Lydia, would be very like ΙΟΥΔΑΙΑ; but all

manuscripts read Judaea.


10 “Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about

Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,” In Phrygia for Phrygia,

Authorized Version; the parts for in the parts, Authorized Version; sojourners

 from for strangers of, Authorized Version; both Jews for Jews, Authorized Version.

Asia; i.e. the western coast region of Asia Minor, including Caria, Lydia, and

Mysia”. “Ionia and Lydia, of which Ephesus was the capital, called Proconsular

Asia” (Wordsworth and ‘Speaker’s Commentary.’ See ch. 20:16, 18; Revelation 1:4).

Egypt, etc. These represent the third great dispersion, that effected by Ptolemy Lagus.

Some of this part of the dispersion are mentioned as very hostile to Stephen (ch.6:9).

“Two-fifths of the population of Alexandria were Jews.” “Jews formed one

quarter of the population of Cyrene” (‘Speaker’s Commentary.’) See ch. 13:1 and

Matthew 27:32). And sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes. The copula

and couples the οἱ ἐπιδημοῦντες Ῥωμαῖοι – hoi epidaemountes Romaioi – the

repatriated Romans; the strangers of Rome -  with the οἱ κατοικοῦντες τὴν

Μεσοποταμίαν – hoi katoikountes taen Mesopotamian – the dwellers in

Mesopotamia, etc., of v. 9.  It is literally, those of us who are Roman sojourners

at Jerusalem, whether Jews by race or proselytes. They were equally Roman

 sojourners, whether they were Jews whose home was at Rome or whether

they were proselytes; and it is an interesting fact that there were such proselytes

in the great capital of the heathen world. Sojourners, as in ch.17:21, the

strangers sojourning at Athens. 


11 “Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful

works of God.” Cretans for Cretes, Authorized Version   ; speaking for speak,

Authorized Version; mighty for wonderful, Authorized Version. (τὰ μεγαλεῖα –

ta megaleia – the greatnesses;the great things).


12 “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to

another, What meaneth this?” Perplexed for in doubt, Authorized Version  

and Textus Receptus  


13 “Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.”

But others for others, Authorized Version; they are filled with for these men

are full of, Authorized Version. New wine; more literally, sweet wine. These

mockers, men incapable of serious and devout appreciation of the work of the

Holy Spirit, attributed the tension of feeling which they saw, and the

unintelligible words which they heard, to the effect of wine.


Ø      So Festus said, “Paul, thou art mad.” (ch. 26:24)

Ø      So the unbelieving Jews of Pontus and Asia thought it strange

      that the Christians should live holily, and spake evil of

                        them in consequence (I Peter 4:4, 14).

Ø      So Ishmael mocked Isaac (Genesis 21:9); and

      so in all times “they that are born after the flesh do

                        persecute them that are born after the Spirit” (Galatians 4:29).



The Unity of the Spirit (vs. 1-13)


 If, with the idea of unity in our minds, we read this description of the first

outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, we cannot but be struck

with the manner in which that great idea is exhibited and illustrated.


  • There is first THE LOCAL UNITY OF THE CHURCH. They were all

together in one place. Many in number, but all of that many come together;

drawn by one common impulse to merge their separate existences, their

various pursuits, their divergent vocations, their several movements, their

independent actions, in one common action, and by that action to come

together to one place. All the different reasons and motives which would

have kept them separate, and which would have attracted them to different

places, were overcome by the common reason and motive which drew

them to one place. Nor must we overlook some of the aspects of this local

unity. It reveals to us that there was something in the heart of each one of

the assembly which felt the need of contact with the others, because there

was known to be in those others a like nature and a like spirit and a like

yearning to their own. No one felt himself sufficient to himself; there was

an outlook in each breast for that which should make up the complement

of its own wants, and that complement could only be found in the love of

the brethren. It reveals also that sense which each had of mutual support

and encouragement, that expectation of strength and countenance to be

derived from the presence and the communion of the rest. The Christian

instinct told each one, “It is not good to be alone;” faith, love, courage,

holy enthusiasm, heavenly zeal, power to act for Christ and His kingdom,

wisdom to know, and boldness to execute, counsel before the time of

action comes, and decision when it is come, — all are increased and

perfected “by that which every joint supplieth.” (Ephesians 4:16)  And then,

again, this local unity had its immense importance considered in regard to its

outward aspect — the aspect which it IT PRESENTED TO THE WORLD!

The individual Simon, or John, or James, might be thrust aside with contempt

as an ignorant enthusiast or an eccentric fanatic; but the compact body of the

twelve, with the hundred and twenty firmly attached to them, already presented

a front to the world imposing from its compactness and the close coherence of

all its parts. And, in like manner, a little thought will reveal other aspects of

this local unity. The one temple at Jerusalem had contributed not a little to

the unity of the twelve tribes, who looked upon it as their common center,

and who met together periodically at that one center for the offices of their

common faith. And so this local unity of the Church, to whom the upper

chamber — consecrated, perhaps, by the Lord’s presence at the Paschal

feast, and endeared by the hours of prayer and waiting passed in it between

Easter and Pentecost-was the common place of meeting, was a material

prop and buttress to that spiritual unity of which THE LORD JESUS



  • But mark next what we may call THE OBJECTIVE UNITY OF THE

CHURCH as contemplated by the Holy Ghost. It is not only that the

disciples felt their unity, and displayed it in the local unity of which we

have spoken, but God the Holy Ghost looked upon them as one, and

treated them as one. We read in v. 3 that “it sat upon each one of them;”

not upon the apostles only, not upon certain favored persons, but upon

each one of the assembled saints. It was the one Spirit filling the one body

(see Exposition, v. 3). It is added with emphasis, “They were all filled

with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit

gave them utterance.” Here, then, we have clearly and most impressively

set before us the unity of the Church in the sight of God; its unity in respect

of privilege and covenanted possession. It is an exposition in practice of

Paul’s saying, “If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His”

(Romans 8:9), which is here laid before us. It is the baptism with the Holy

Ghost, promised by Christ to all His disciples. Here there is neither Jew nor

Greek, neither male nor female. Sons and daughters alike, bond and free,

apostles and children, are all partakers of that one Spirit, because all have

been baptized into one body. The invisible bands which tie together in one

bundle of spiritual life each particular member of the mystical Body of

Christ are discerned by the Holy Ghost.


  • But thirdly, what we may call THE WILFUL UNITY OF THE

CHURCH stands out prominently in the passage before us: the unity i.e. of

will and purpose, resulting from the common possession and indwelling of

one and the same Spirit, and the fixed desire to act together. Their voices

were many, but their theme was one — “the mighty works of God.” Their

voices were many, but they had one end and aim — to proclaim God’s

glory, to praise God’s works, and to draw all men, however diverse, to his

blessed worship and service. The grand design of uniting all mankind in the

faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, of bringing men of all creeds and all colors,

of all nations and all languages, into one close unity and fellowship, was

present to all their minds and influenced their common action. It was the

work they had to do together. The end was dear to each single heart

among them, but it was to be accomplished by united effort. And what

wonders can be accomplished by united effort! Where one spirit runs

through and moves many wills in one direction with an unbroken

movement, and those many wills run willingly, harmoniously, and unitedly

in their onward course, realizing their union with the Divine will, and

rejoicing in the harmony of their own several wills, — what can withstand

them? It is the waste of force in the antagonistic movement of the several

wills which hinders and checks progress; when one thwarts another, and

subtracts his own motive power from that of his brother, instead of adding

it thereto. Hence the slow progress of Christianity in our own day

compared with that of the apostolic age; hence the weakness of the

Church, its feebler victories over sin, its almost defeats by the spirit of

infidelity, its apparent inability to cope with the powers of this world.

Surely the contemplation of the unity of the Spirit, as seen on the day of

Pentecost, should kindle in every Christian breast a longing for a like unity

among ourselves.



      in its completeness. The long list of nationalities detailed by the

historian, when he enumerates Parthians and Medea and Elamites, and so

many other nations of Europe, Asia, and Africa, as all hearing in their own

several languages the mighty works of God; the striking narrative of the

Holy Spirit of God lighting upon the heads of the Galilaean disciples, and,

by enabling them to speak with other tongues, removing the barrier of

separation between man and man caused by the confusion of tongues; the

exhibition of Jerusalem as the Christian metropolis, the birthplace of so

many sons and daughters, the center of union between the apostles of the

Lord and believers out of every nation under heaven” (v. 5); — all this

was surely intended to lead our thoughts and our hopes forward to that

blessed day, seen by John in vision, when “the great multitude, which

no man can number, out of every nation, and of all tribes and peoples and

tongues, shall stand before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in

white robes, and palms in their hands, crying with a loud voice and saying,


AND UNTO THE LAMB!”  (Revelation 7:9-10)   It is to this blessed

consummation, when all things shall be gathered together into one in Christ,

that every weary heart should look forward. It is a vision of glory to keep

before the mind amidst the strife and discord, the divisions and separations,

of the existing age. It is light which, seen even at the end of the long

perspective of this world’s troublous way, should reflect back a

softening cheering ray upon each step of our wearisome path, and

encourage us to press forward with unfaltering purpose till we reach

Mount Zion, and behold the Church in her glory. Then shall the brightness

of the Pentecostal day pale before the beauty of that day of Christ, and

God’s purpose will be accomplished in the perfect unity of heart and voice,

of will and purpose, of thought and speech, of work and habitation, of the

whole multitude whom Christ has redeemed and made kings and priests,

that they may reign for ever in the new Jerusalem of God.



The Coming of God in Power (vs. 1-13)


The ascended Savior was about to come in mighty power to the disciples.

They were in Jerusalem, “waiting for the promise of the Father;” doubtless

they had no anticipation of the way in which that promise would be

fulfilled, and must have been struck with the utmost awe and wonder when

they found themselves wrought upon with such Divine energies. Our

thought is directed to:


  • THE MANIFESTED PRESENCE OF GOD. God revealed His presence

through the media of air and fire; the one in unusual, indeed supernatural

agitation; the other in unkindled, lambent flame. Both air and fire are fitting

elements for the vehicle of Divine manifestation; their ubiquity, their

beneficence, the secret and indeed mysterious powers which reside in them,

the mighty and even awful forces which slumber in them, and which, when

aroused or kindled, work such terrible results (“Our God is a consuming

fire” -  Hebrews 12:29), — these qualities make them suitable agencies to

signify the presence of the Divine. But while our God is in the elemental forces

of nature, both when they render the kind and constant ministry to mankind

and when they are in unusual and quite exceptional activity — though He is

in the soft airs and the life-giving heats which breathe and brighten round

us, and though He is in the storm and in the fire which rage above and

about us — yet the way in which He manifests Himself in answer to our

earnest prayer and reverent waiting is not thus. Our Lord comes now to us



Ø      illumination of the mind,

Ø      enlargement of the heart,

Ø      multiplication of spiritual faculty and force,

Ø      renewal of the will and the whole spiritual nature — we are

“filled with the Holy Ghost.”


  • HIS CHOSEN TIME. Christ came again to His disciples when they

were “all of one accord in one place” (v. 1). When acting together,

praying together, feeling together, hoping and expecting together, then He

appeared in glorious manifestation. If we who “wait for His appearing

really desire His coming and would do our best to bring Him, we must act

in the same way; we must be united in thought, in feeling, in prayer, in

expectation, in activity.



only to “sound a bell” calling attention to the birth of a new dispensation

that Christ thus came in power. It was to CONVEY REDEEMING TRUTH

 to many minds and many peoples (vs. 5-11). “Devout men out of every

nation” heard “the wonderful works of God,” and carried back with them,

whithersoever they returned, the knowledge of the great things God had

wrought for the children of men. When men say to us “See here!” or “Lo

there!” “Behold these strange phenomena, these supernatural appearances,

these remarkable displays of Divine power,” etc., let us dismiss them with

incredulity unless they are working to the Divine end, the spiritual

enlightenment and moral elevation of mankind. By their fruits we shall

know them. If they “work not the righteousness of God,” they are not of

Him; if they do, they are. So shall we “try the spirits whether they are of



  • OUR HUMAN RESPONSE. (vs. 12-13.) The manifestation of

Divine power on this occasion excited amazement and incredulity. Of these

the former is wholly insufficient and the latter altogether wrong. Only too

often this is the result in our case.


Ø      We are surprised when we ought to be simply grateful; it ought to be a

surprise to us when, in response to our prayer and holy expectation, God

does not come to us in renewing, fertilizing power. When the Son of man

does come, does He find the expectancy of faith or the astonishment of

unbelief (Luke 18:8)?


Ø      We are incredulous, and perhaps derisive, when we ought to be

congratulatory. Some Christian men can account for Divine energy and

agency on any principle but the one which should be readiest to their

mind, viz. THAT GOD IS WITH US willing to appear on our behalf,

prepared to outpour His Spirit in rich effluence on our souls and on

our labors. By our incredulity we


o       displease Him,

o       hinder the cause we should help,

o       make impossible any blessed share for ourselves in the shouts of




Men’s Attitudes toward Things Beyond Explanation (vs. 5-13)


There are marked differences in the dispositions of men. At first sight the

differences may seem to be so many and so great, that it is hopeless to

attempt any classification of them. And yet, in the relations in which

dispositions stand to revealed truth and the mysterious, there is a simple

division, and a repetition of characteristic attitudes in each age. Observe

the peculiar phenomena here, which tested the dispositions of the crowding

multitudes. Uneducated, countrified Galilaeans were speaking to the

comprehension of men who came from various parts of the earth and used

several distinct languages. We do not know whether the disciples

themselves understood the new words which they were empowered to

utter, but it is certain that what the hearers heard was no jargon or

incoherent speech; it was the story of Christ crucified and risen, given in

the languages with which they were familiar. Manifestly here was a

mystery, something surprising, needing explanation, something to exercise

thought about; something which men of different dispositions would regard

in different ways; something which would bring into expression the marked

peculiarities of each class. Compare the way in which Paul’s preaching

at Athens tested the dispositions of his hearers (Acts 17:32, 34). “Some

mocked, and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter… certain

men clave unto him, and believed.” In our passage the attitudes taken

towards the mystery were, at first two, and afterwards three.



(v. 12.) They were struck with surprise, confused, perplexed. They did

not know what to make of these remarkable incidents; but they were not

disposed to put them away from consideration, as necessarily delusions or

impostures, because beyond a ready explanation. Their attitude was a right

and a hopeful one. Denial of the “supernatural” is:


Ø      a sign of mental weakness or

Ø      prejudiced obstinacy.


Doubt about the “supernatural” is rational, and leads to inquiry, consideration,

and due weighing of argument and proof. There is “honest doubt,” and merely

“willful doubt.”  (“for this they willingly are ignorant” – II Peter 3:5) 


Ø      The first disposition finds expression in sincere and earnest

inquiry for the solution and satisfaction and removal of the


Ø      The second disposition rejects inquiry, and keeps the doubting,

priding itself upon its ability to doubt. No proofs can satisfy

this class of doubters.


Both these are still found in our Christian society; and the times tend to

multiply that hopeless class that prides itself on doubting. Our Lord gave us

the best remedy for the doubting disposition when he said, “If any man will

do My will, he shall know of the doctrine.” (John 7:17)



Such dispositions even our Lord had to deal with. Some who saw His miracles

declared that He wrought them “by the power of the devil;” showing in this

their exceeding folly, for our Lord’s works were all good and kind and helpful,

and not in any sense mischievous or hurtful, as the work of devils is. So here,

we find some who would not think, would not doubt, but at once rejected the

mystery, and showed their folly in their insulting suggestion, “These men are

full of new wine.” This kind of disposition is a hopeless one. Such men have

no susceptibility, No argument or proof can reach them. To this class belong

the deniers and mockers of the “supernatural” in our day. The infidel class

of all ages and of this has been very largely made up of those who were

determined not to believe. The hard heart is too often the one great

hindrance to belief.




STRANGE PHENOMENA. Peter’s words were a stern rebuke of the

“mockers,” with whom he would not deign to argue; he would utter no

more than the words that should declare their folly. He preached to the

doubting and inquiring. He may not have satisfied them all that day. Many

may have needed to think quietly about it all, and seek further for

themselves; but then, even that very day, in response to his word, three

thousand accepted the Pentecostal wonders as the Spirit’s witness to Jesus

as the “Messiah,” and “risen” to become the present, living Savior. Peter

gives the example of bringing the doubting and inquiring to God’s Holy

Word: “To the Law and to the testimony.” And still there can be no better

way of guiding the seeking soul. The mysterious, the supernatural, is a

stumbling-block in these days of the enthronement of human science

(secular humanism – CY – 2016), more serious than it has been in any

previous age. (We seem to be living in a fantasy world without the

conception of reality – CY – 2016)  The dispositions of men towards it

remain the same; but the company of the scorners, who put the

subject away as unworthy of consideration, is larger than ever. Yet there

are still multitudes of susceptible and open-hearted doubters; and, with our

Bibles in our hands, and our personal convictions and experiences giving

tone to our words, we may hopefully plead with them to recognize God in

nature, and God beyond nature; God’s working within human explanation,

and God’s working beyond human explanation: a sphere “unseen and

spiritual,” that is altogether more real and permanent than the sphere “seen

and temporal.”   (“While we look not on things which are seen, but at the

things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal;

but the things which are not seen are ETERNAL.” II Corinthians 4:18)

In conclusion, the things of the soul, religion, and GOD must of necessity

lie in this “beyond,” “within,” “spiritual,” “supersensuous,” sphere.



The Amazement of the Multitude (vs. 5-13)



ORDER AND CUSTOM OF THE WORLD. It is so in the kingdom of

nature, and here in that of spirit. The country-folk of Galilee were least of

all likely to acquire the power to speak the tongues of nations with which

they were seldom or never in contact. And here unlettered men are found

speaking the tongues of ancient and cultivated peoples. It is a type and

prophecy of what the gospel in its simplicity is to do for all the varieties of




AS THE MANNER OF THE MESSAGE. The burden of this deliverance

in diverse tongues was the “great deeds” or “mighty works” of God.

Notice that power is the great theme. In any new beginning of spiritual life

or fresh era of revelation, perhaps it may be said, the power of God must

first be felt by the heart before His mercy and love can be rightly received.

Our weakness needs the disclosure of the power working within us to

make all things possible, and our pride may need chastising by the proof

that one touch of that power brings the wisdom of this world to NAUGHT!



INTERPRETATIONS, The elation and exaltation of the mind produced by

the incoming of Divine power outwardly resembles the intoxication of

wine, and may readily be mistaken for it. With allusion to this, doubtless,

Paul said, “Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit”). This is

an example of the coincidence of extreme opposites. Spiritual things are

spiritually discerned, and only the spiritual man can distinguish the spurious

from the genuine enthusiasm, the superficial effervescence of bodily excitement

from the sublime manifestation of the presence of God in the soul. (I Corinthians

2:14)  Here, too, lies a trial of faith. The enthusiast is liable to be confounded

with the madman or the fanatic by the many who judge according to appearances.

The results can alone show the reality or otherwise of influence. Genuine

spiritual  power is ever followed by MORAL REGENERATION in the




      Spiritual Facts in a World Unprepared to Receive Them (vs. 5-13)


  • DEVOUT MEN may still be living at a very low point of spiritual

apprehension and experience (v. 5). To many conscientious and sober-

minded people the manifestations of the Spirit is a perplexity. Hence the

importance of a progressive faith, a praying and expectant attitude.

Religion is apt to grow stagnant and perfunctory.


  • The MULTITUDE will be startled by that which comes from heaven.

They need to be roused and quickened with great and enthusiastic

utterances. The natural tendency of man is to rest in mere second causes.

How could these Galilaeans so speak? Yet God has something which

each one can feel,  “his own language.” The gospel message must be

brought home to men’s “business and besoms.” Speak to them, not in a

learned, or philosophical, or theological phraseology, but in a dialect with

which they are familiar.


  • There will be VARIETY among perplexed hearers. Some will ask for

information, others will mock and scorn, revile and blaspheme. Yet the first

opposition or indifference may be followed by a blessed ingathering of souls.


  • The FEW SPEAKERS compared with the vast sphere represented in

the multitude — east, west, north, south — reminds us that God hath

chosen the weak to confound the mighty. The field is the world, but the

small beginning is yet an announcement of the “wonderful works of God.

To Him there is no small and great.


14 “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said

unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be

this known unto you, and hearken to my words:”  15 “For these are not

drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.”

16 “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;”

Spake forth for said, Authorized Version; give ear unto for hearken to,

Authorized Version; hath been spoken for was spoken, Authorized Version.

But Peter, etc. Peter stands up before the eleven as their primate, foremost

in the authority of action as in precedence of place; and the apostles stand up

before the multitude of believers, as those to whom Christ committed the

government of His Church (see ch. 1:15). Spake forth (ἀπεφθέγξατο –

apephthegxato – said; utters; declaims - the same word as in v. 4,

“utterance”); implying the utterance of a loud and grave oration.

In I Chronicles 25:3 it is the phrase of the Septuagint for those who prophesied

with harps. From it is derived the word apophthegm, “a remarkable saying.”

Ye that dwell at Jerusalem; the same as those described in v. 5. They were

foreign Jews who, either for the feast or for other causes, had taken up their

abode at Jerusalem, and are distinguished from the men of Judea, the Jews

who were natives of Judaea. Give ear (ἐνωτίζεσθε – enotizesthe); found only

here in the New Testament, but frequent in the Septuagint as the rendering of

the Hebrew הֶאֶזִין (Genesis 4:23; Job 33:1; Isaiah 1:2). It is not classical Greek,

and seems to have been coined by the Septuagint as the equivalent of the above-

named Hebrew word.  It seems to be a rhetorical phrase. The thing to be known

unto them was that they saw the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy in what had

happened; for it was quite a mistake to attribute it to drunkenness. By the prophet

(διὰ - dia - through, not ὑπὸ - hupo); spoken by God through the prophet. The full

phrase occurs in Matthew 1:22; 2:5, 15. And so it is added in v. 17, “saith God.”


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:”  Be for come to pass, Authorized Version; pour forth

for pour out, Authorized Version. In the last days. This does not agree with

either the Hebrew or the Septuagint in the existing texts, where we read merely

afterwards (אַהְרֵי כֵןGreek - μετὰ ταῦτα).  The phrase, “in the last days,” which

occurs in Isaiah 2:2 and elsewhere, denotes the days of Messiah. Peter is perhaps

expounding the passage as relating to the days of Messiah; or בְ אַחְֲרִית הַיָמִים may

have been another reading. Saith God is no part of Joel’s prophecy, but

Peter’s words. Your young men shall see visions, etc. The order of this

and the following clause is inverted. In the Hebrew and Septuagint the old men

are mentioned first.


18 “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days

of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” Yea and for and, Authorized Version;

pour forth for pour out, Authorized Version; in those days will I pour for I will

pour… in those days, Authorized Version. And they shall prophesy. These words

are not found in the Hebrew or the Septuagint. The Septuagint differs from the

Hebrew in the addition of μοῦ - mou – my - after δούλους – doulous – men slaves –

and δούλας – doulas – women slaves. The Hebrew has merely “the servants and the

handmaids,” men and women of servile condition.


19 “And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath;

blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke:”  The heaven for heaven, Authorized Version;

on for in, Authorized Version. I will show (δώσω – doso – I will show; I shall be

giving, as in Matthew 24:24). This follows the Hebrew and the Codex Alexandrinus.

The Vatican Codex has, They will show or give (δώσωσι - dososi).  In the heavens

above… on the earth beneath. Above and beneath are not in the Hebrew or the

Septuagint. With these exceptions, the text of the Septuagint is followed.


20 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before

the great and notable day of the Lord come:” The day of the Lord come, that

great and notable day for that great and notable day of the Lord come, Authorized

Version and Textus Receptus  


21 “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of

the Lord shall be saved.”  Be for come to pass, Authorized Version.



Prophecies of the Times of the Spirit (14-21)


Some reference may be made to the Prophet Joel, the time when he wrote,

and the first reference of his prophecy. The principles on which we

discover Messianic allusions in the Old Testament books may be detailed

and illustrated. Especially the two following principles: —


1. Any reference which cannot fairly be fitted to or exhausted by any

passage of history, or the history of any individual, may be referred to

Messianic times, or to the Messiah himself. This principle guides us both in

the Book of Psalms and in the prophets. It helps to decide the intention of

Joel, in the passage before us, which no page of ordinary human history



2. Any reference from the Old Testament which an inspired apostle is led

to use as proof of the Messiahship of Christ, must be accepted as having

that for its proper application. On this ground Joel’s prophecy must be

received as dealing with the times and dispensation of the Holy Ghost. The

prophecies given by the Scripture writers are of the utmost importance, as

tending to check the material conceptions of the Messiah, which the later

circumstances and history of the Jewish nation seem to have greatly

encouraged. Those prophecies keep prominently before men’s minds the

suffering aspects of Messiah’s life, so suggesting that His power would be

moral, not material; and the spiritual aspects of the kingdom He would set

up, whose features should be “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy

Ghost.” The prophetical figures are often difficult, and need for their

apprehension some knowledge of the sphere of poetical imagery from

which Eastern writers used to draw their illustrations. Western composition

is more formal and precise; and we should be careful not to press our

associations with prophetic language in front of those associations which

were familiar to the Scripture writer. Forgetting this, men have mistaken

the meaning of the figures given in vs. 19-20.


  • THE DISPENSATION OF THE SPIRIT. The leading features of it may

be brought out by comparing it with the earlier dispensation of the Law.

Under that, God’s Law was written on tables, for men’s eyes to read;

under this, God’s Law is written on hearts, and becomes an inward

impulse. Under that, goodness was regarded as right conduct; under this,

goodness is regarded as right motive inspiring right doing. Other similar

contrasts may be urged; and it should be impressed that, in the gift of His

Son and Spirit, God sought to lay hold of men’s souls, and win them, in

love and trust, for Himself.



explains the present signs: the high enthusiasm of the disciples, the bold

preaching, the power of the tongues, etc. We may go on to show what are

the permanent effects, in present-day endowments for Christian work and

witness. Still we only work truly and successfully as we work in the

“power of the Holy Ghost.”



imagery is drawn as from one of the great thunderstorms of Palestine.

There is a lurid blood-red hue of clouds and sky; there are the fiery flashes,

the columns or pillars of smoke-like clouds boiling from the abyss. These,

in their turn, were probably thought of as symbols of bloodshed and fire

and smoke, such as are involved in the capture and destruction of a city

like Jerusalem. The fall of Jerusalem was the formal passing away of the

old dispensation of Mosaism, and the full establishment of the new

dispensation of the Spirit. In conclusion, the sublime hopes for

mankind lie in this dispensation. Especially note v. 21: there is

now full and free soul-salvation for every one that calls upon the Lord in

faith. The moral and spiritual redemption can now be applied to every

open-hearted man by the energy of the abiding, indwelling, regenerating

Spirit.   (I highly recommend Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin –

CY – 2016)



    Interpretation of the Phenomena of the Spirit (vs. 14-21)



SENSUOUS INTOXICATION. In this case the latter was not in the least

likely, for it was still early morning. Indeed, Peter waves aside the

explanation with an air of contempt.





Ø      The teaching of the prophetsthe most inspired and enlightened of the

race — must be fallen back upon. The prophet lived near to the fount of

truth, and was the mouthpiece of the oracles of God. The oracle quoted

from Joel lies in the center of his short roll, and burns there like a core of

fire. It seems the one portion of his prophecy which looks beyond the

circumstances of his time, and can only be satisfied by repeated

fulfillments in the course of all future history.


Ø      The contents of the oracle of Joel.


o       At some epoch undefined there is to be an outpouring of

      God’s Spirit upon all mankind.

o       The effect of this will be a general outburst of sacred utterance;

      an intense inward illumination.

o       The whole manifestation is to be accompanied by wonders,

      symbolic and significant of a spiritual revelation, and the passing

      away of old and outworn customs.

o       It will be an era of deliverance, of salvation. Men will cry to

      Jehovah, of old the Deliverer, and will be heard and saved from

      their distresses, with these prophetic hints the apostle would

      explain the wondrous events of the day. Christianity begins

      with a new effusion of the Divine into the human, the

      strengthening and illumination of the finite mind, the

      enlargement of its gifts of expression; a profound and

      general impression of the nearness of God, and the joy

      of a new-found freedom and salvation.



The Common Salvation (v. 21)


“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord

shall be saved!”




Ø      Salvation, both present and eternal, in the great day of the Lord; amid

the terrors of judgment.


Ø      Spiritual life, given by God, given to all and of every condition,

manifested in the life and in the character, opening the eyes of the soul

to Divine realities and future glories; flesh receives it, and is made

spiritual; a new creation is pledged by it; flesh lifted up into the

immortality of heaven.


Ø      Salvation through the Name of the Lord, wrought by Him, illustrated

      by the wonderful facts of His history, secured by His infinite merit.


  • THE SIMPLE CONDITION. “Call on the Name of the Lord;” another

description of faith in Old Testament language, including:


Ø      The soul’s cry for help in the sense of sin and misery; call as one dying.


Ø      Apprehension of the Savior. The name is the person, the character, the

claim, the authority, the promise.


Ø      Prayerful consecration in response to the Divine grace. The day of

salvation is light around us. We accept the light as the light of life.


Ø      Universality of the proclamation — whosoever. The spiritual gifts

      are not poured out upon all, but the moving of a new life is the

      invitation to growth in grace. The words of Joel remind us that there

      are special crises of opportunity, which it is awful sin to slight. Where

      many are “calling on the Lord,” shall we be dumb? “Who shall abide

      the day of His coming?”


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:” Unto you for among you,

Authorized Version; mighty works for miracles, Authorized Version; even as ye

yourselves know for as ye yourselves also know, Authorized Version. Ye men

of Israel. This title includes both the Jews of Judaea and all those of

the dispersion, to whatever tribe they belonged. Approved of God.

Observe the distinct reference to the miracles of Christ, as the proofs that

He came from God, the authenticating evidences of His Divine mission. So

Peter again, in his address to Cornelius, declares how God anointed

Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about

doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was

with Him (Acts 10:38). The miracles of the gospel are, and were

intended to be, a demonstration of the truth of Christianity, and it is at their

peril that Christians allow themselves to give up this argument at the

bidding of the skeptic. Mighty works and wonders and signs. δυνάμεσιν

dunamesin - are powers, acts of healing and such like, done by the supernatural

power of the Holy Spirit (see the above reference to ch.10:38); τέρασιν terasin –

are wonders or portents, such as are spoken of by the Prophet Joel, “wonders

in heaven above,” the darkening of the sun, the discoloration or the moon,

or any ether wonder considered only with reference to its portentous

character; σημείοις – saemeiois - are signs, not necessarily miraculous,

but things which are proofs, either by their miraculous character or from

the time or mode of their occurrence, of the truth of the things spoken.

“Miracles, wonders, and signs” occur together in II Corinthians 12:12.

The three seem to include every kind of miracle viewed:


            (1) according to their nature,

            (2) according to their appearance,

            (3) according to their destination or proposed end.


Which God did by Him. So we read Hebrews 1:2, “Through [or ‘by’]

whom also He made the worlds.” And so our Lord said of Himself, “My

Father worketh hitherto, and I work;” and “The Son can do nothing of

Himself, but what He seeth the Father do” (John 5:17, 19; compare

Matthew 28:18). On the other hand, our Lord often speaks of His own

power, as John 2:19; 10:18 (compare John 2:11). As Mediator, Christ

did all things by His Father’s appointment, and for His Father’s glory.

Even as ye yourselves know. Mark the confidence with which Peter appeals

to their personal knowledge of the miracles of Christ. This was a fitting

preparation for the announcement of that mighty power, wonder, and sign

which he was now about to proclaim to them — THE RESURRECTION




The Divine Humanity (v. 22)


“Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God.”




Ø      Viewed in the light of human work. A man, to teach, to atone, to lead,

as never man did. Compare the human supply of such wants with that

provided by God in Christ.


Ø      Viewed in the light of Scripture promises. The line of prediction from

the protevangel to the promise of the “Sun of Righteousness with

healing in His wings.”  (Malachi 4:2)




Ø      The superhuman character of Christ’s humanity; as spotlessly pure,

coming forth out of an impure nation and decayed religious life;

as supreme in spiritual qualities — love, self-sacrifice, etc.


Ø      The direct testimonies given by God, at birth, baptism, with a voice

      from the cloud, etc.


Ø      The works of the Lord Himself. Their authority thus solemnly and

conspicuously put forth by the Apostle Peter; their embodiment in the

gospel; their harmony with the character and mission of the Savior;

their superiority to all others, before or since. “God did them.”




Ø      A “great salvation!” “How can we escape, if we neglect” it?

      (Hebrews 2:3)


Ø      A Man amongst men, touched with fellow-feeling, tenderly claiming



Ø      A Name which gathers round it the testimony of the multitude which no

man can number, approved by the facts of salvation in the past, waiting to

find in us another proof that He is “able to save them to the uttermost,

that come unto God by Him!” (Hebrews 7:25)


23 “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,

ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” Delivered up for

delivered, Authorized Version; by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay for

have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain, Authorized Version and

Textus Receptus.   The determinate counsel. God’s counsel, that Christ should

suffer for sins, was not a vague, indistinct purpose, leaving much to accident and

the fluctuating will of man; it was determinate and defined in respect of time

and manner and the instruments used for carrying it out. (In fact, it was decided

that Christ would die for man before the world began!  Revelation 13:9 – CY – 2016)  

Foreknowledge is coupled with counsel or will, perhaps in order to show us that the

counsel or will of God, as far as it comprehends the action of free agents, is

indissolubly connected with His foreknowledge, and does not involve any force

put upon the will of man. (Compare the saying of Joseph to his brethren, “Be not

angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to

preserve life” (Genesis 45:5); also Judges 14:4; I Kings 12:15, etc. Delivered up

(ἔκδοτον – ekdoton – given up, only found here) is by many understood of

the action of Judas in betraying Jesus into the hands of His enemies (John 19:11)

ἔκδοτον being taken as equivalent to what πρόδοτον – prodoton – betrayed;

abandoned - would mean if it were in use. But it may with equal propriety be

applied to the action of the chief priests and elders in delivering Jesus to Pontius

Pilate (Matthew 27:2)to be crucified (ibid. v. 26). Our Lord Himself alludes to

Pilate’s power as circumscribed by the will of God (John 19:11, ὁ παραδιδούς μέ σοι

ho paradidous me soi – the one giving up me to you: compare Matthew 26:45). By

the hand of lawless men. “By the hand of” is the common Hebrew phrase

בְיַר,, by means of, through the agency of. The Jewish nation (ἄνδρες Ἰουδαῖοι –

 andres Ioudaioi) had crucified the Lord of glory by the hand of the heathen

Romans. Lawless, equivalent to the sinners of Matthew 26:45 (compare  for the

special application of the term to the heathen, Galatians 2:15; I Corinthians 9:21).


24 “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was

not possible that He should be holden of it.” Raised for hath raised, Authorized

Version; pangs for pains, Authorized Version.  Pangs. Luke follows the Septuagint

who render the מָוֶת or חֶבְלֵי of Psalm 18:5-6; 116:3, by ὠδῖνας θανάτου – odinas

thanatou – pangs of death, as if the Hebrew word were חֵבֶל, the pains or pangs of

a woman in childbirth, whereas it really is חֶבֶל, a cord, as it is rendered in the

margin of Psalm 18:5, meaning the snare of the fowler. The variation is very similar

to that of the fruit of our lips” in Hebrews 13:15, compared with the calves of our

lips” of Hosea 14:2. It is manifest that “loosed” applies better to cords than to pangs.

It was not possible. Why, not possible?


1. Because of the union of the Godhead and manhood in the one Person of Christ.

2. Because of God’s character, which makes it impossible that one who

    trusts in Him should be forsaken, or that God’s Holy One should see


3. Because the Scripture, which cannot be broken, declared the resurrection of Christ.


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:”  Saith for speaketh, Authorized Version; he held for foresaw,

Authorized Version.   Psalm 16 is ascribed to David in the title prefixed to it

in the Hebrew and the Septuagint. Without pronouncing the titles to be infallible,

we must confess that they carry great weight with them in the absence of any

strong internal evidence against them.  We may safely rest on the authority of

Peter here and Paul (ch. 13:35-36), and be satisfied that it is really David’s.

The manner in which it is quoted by the two apostles is also very strong evidence

that by the Jews of that day it was generally admitted to be a Messianic psalm.

The following quotation is verbatim from the Septuagint.


26 “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover

also my flesh shall rest in hope:”  My heart was glad for did my heart rejoice,

Authorized Version; rejoiced for was glad, Authorized Version; my flesh also

for also my flesh, Authorized Version; dwell for rest, Authorized Version.  


27 “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer

thine Holy One to see corruption.”  Hades for hell, Authorized Version;

give thy Holy One for suffer thine Holy One, Authorized Version, surely not

so good a rendering. Hades. The “hell” of the Authorized Version   .

is the exact English representative of ᾅδης – hades - Hades.The article in

the Creed, “He descended into hell,” is based upon this text especially, the

other two alleged in support of it (Ephesians 4:9; I Peter 3:18-19) being less

conclusive. It is a pity to lose the word “hell” in its true meaning. Corruption;

Greek διαφθρόραν – diaphthroran – corruption; decay, Hebrew שַׁחַת.  The

Hebrew  word always means a pit (from שׁוּחַ); but the Septuagint here render

it διαφθορά - diaphthora - , as if from שָׁחַת; (in Pihel, to destroy, waste; in

Hophal and Niphal, to be corrupted, spoiled, to rot). In the Authorized Version  

it is rendered corruption, here and in Job 17:14, where it answers to “the

worm,” in the parallel clause. It is very probable that the Septuagint is right.

Nothing is more common than for Hebrew verbs to take the meaning of

verbs with similar radicals. Holy One. So the Septuagint and the Keri of the

Hebrew text. But the Cethib has Holy Ones in the plural. It is obvious that

the singular, Holy One, agrees far better with the singulars which precede

and follow it — my heart, my glory, my flesh, my soul, thou wilt show me

— than the plural, which is entirely out of place. The two clauses taken

together show the full liberation of Christ from the dominion of death

that of His human soul from hell, and that of his body from the grave before

it saw corruption (compare ch. 13:34-37).


28 “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me

full of joy with thy countenance.” Madest for hast made, Authorized Version;

unto for to, Authorized Version; gladness for joy, Authorized Version. 



The Parable of the Resurrection in David’s Psalm (vs.25-28)


The apostle quotes one of the few utterances in the Old Testament which

yield with any distinctness the hope of a life after the grave. But, speaking

generally, the psalms, as the choicest expressions of the spiritual life of

Israel, are “dark sayings” and “parables” of higher relations than those to

which they immediately refer. In this psalm we find:



GOD. And this is a presence which, once enjoyed, carries with it the

promise of its enjoyment forever. God can never be less to me than He is at

the moment of my highest spiritual joy in the possession of Him. This sense

of His presence gives perfect security.



soul will not be left in the gloom of Hades, to live on a life but the cold and

shadowy reflection of the Bright life on earth. This cannot be believed and

God’s goodness be believed. This cannot be believed and the filial feeling

retained. At last all arguments for the immortality of the soul fall back upon

this deepest basis, the ineradicable conviction of THE GOODNESS OF GOD!



FUTURE. “Thou madest known…the ways of life; thou shalt make me full

of gladness.” And the argument may be applied in a wider sense than that

present to the mind of the psalmist. For he was a prophet; and all prophecy

is a germ which unfolds into endless meanings which history brings to light.

The greatest and most signal fulfillment of the prophecy was in THE





the risen Jesus had been seen by many. That now, after an interval from His

departure, there had been a remarkable effusion of spiritual power. With

these must be connected the fact that He had spoken of the coming of the

Holy Ghost, the “promise of the Father.” Putting the whole of the facts

together, the conclusion was: Jesus, the despised and crucified, had been

exalted to sovereign dignity, and in reference to Israel especially to the

Messiahship; to be anointed Prophet, Priest, and King over His people

FOR EVER!  The coincidence of extreme opposites is to be observed

throughout the scheme of the gospel. It is illustrated, above all, in:


Ø      the  humility and glorification,

Ø      the weakness and power,

Ø      the human contempt, and the Divine honor


          associated with THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST!



The First Facts of Gospel Preaching (vs. 22-28)


From the very first the gospel preaching was made to rest on an historical

basis. Apostles fearlessly appealed to certain known facts, which could not

be gainsaid. It has been left to these later times to find myth and legend,

when the contemporaries of the apostles dare not dispute the literal and

truthful character of their statements. The interest of Peter’s sermon — the

first gospel sermon — lies mainly in its indicating what were early regarded

as the essential facts of the gospel, and so the points to which the faith of

men was called. The interest of the occasion of this sermon may be shown,

and it should be impressed that we properly expect, at such a time, the

utmost clearness and definiteness. Whatever is essential to Christianity

surely found expression then, in broad statement and general principle. We




possibility of confusion or mistake. There were doubtless many persons

named “Jesus” in the country, but he speaks of Jesus of Nazareth; the

Teacher who was so well known by this name; the man whom the elders of

the nation despised and crucified. Peter, like Paul afterwards,

testifies for “Jesus,” whatever may be the disabilities that seemed to attach

to Him, and however Jew and Greek may despise Him. They take Jesus, and

His whole story, shameful crucifixion and all, and will not let any man doubt

who it is that they preach.



did them by Him.” The miracles as facts could not be denied, but their

testimony to the mission, authority, and power of Christ might be turned

aside if it could be made out that they were impostures, clever medical

triumphs, or works wrought by Satanic power. Therefore Peter so

earnestly declares that the miracles are signs of God’s power in Christ.

Show how this, once admitted, involves the truthfulness, sincerity, and

goodness of Christ, since God would not work gracious healing works

through a bad agent; and so it follows that Jesus rightly claimed the office

and mission of Messiahship. This line of argument from the miracles is of

permanent value in Christian evidence. In our Lord’s words. “Believe

for the very works’ sake.(John 14:11)



DEATH. There is permitted no dispute as to the personal guilt of Jesus; He

was admittedly innocent, freed from charge by every court that tried Him,

and made a victim to prejudice and malice and religious bigotry. There

could be no dispute as to His real death on the cross; Peter seems to

remind the Jews that their council held the Roman centurion’s certificate of

death, and that council had set “watchmen” to keep the grave. And still

there are two foundation facts of the gospel system:


Ø      Jesus was crucified as an innocent man.

Ø      Jesus actually yielded up his life on the cross.  (“I lay down my life

that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it

down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to

take it again.”  John 10:17-18)


In Christ’s blood, a “lamb without blemish” was the only fitting “burnt

offering” for humanity; it was consumed upon the altar, and the sacrifice

accepted of God.



DIVINE APPROVAL. Apostles constantly urge the fact that Jesus had

risen from the grave. It is significant that the men of their day could not

deny the fact. Give the lame and poor attempts to make out that the

disciples had stolen the body. But apostles carefully say God raised Him,

and so publicly declared His acceptance of Him and of His sacrifice. They

do not say “He was raised,” or “He raised Himself.” We know, therefore,

that with Him “God is well pleased.” Peter seeks to carry home his

teachings by appeal to Scripture. His plea is this — Jesus, crucified and

risen, asks our faith, and to all who believe in Him He gives “eternal life.”


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.” Brethren for men and brethren, Authorized Version; I may say

unto you freely for let me freely speak unto you, Authorized Version;  both died

and was buried for is both dead and buried, Authorized Version; tomb for sepulcher,

Authorized Version. Brethren; literally, men who are my brethren. Observe how

gentle and conciliatory the apostle’s language is; how exactly in accordance with

his own precept (I Peter 3:8-9), “Not rendering railing for railing,” etc. In

addressing them as brethren, he silently claims the good will and fairness due

to one who was a brother in blood and in the faith of the God of Israel. The

patriarch David. The term patriarch is elsewhere in Scripture applied

only to Abraham and the twelve sons of Jacob (ch. 7:8-9; Hebrews 7:4).

It is a title of dignity, signifying the head of a house. It seems to be

here applied to David, because he is spoken of as head of the family from

which Christ sprang. Abraham was the head of the whole Hebrew race:

Abraham our father.” The twelve patriarchs were the heads of their

respective tribes. The Septuagint use the word πατριάρχου – patriarchou –

patriarch as the rendering of רֹאושׁ הָאָבות “chief of the fathers’ houses”

(I Chronicles 24:31; II  Chronicles 19:8; 26:12); which they elsewhere render

by ἄρχων – archon - , or ἀρχαὶ πατριᾶς – archai patrias -  heads of their

father’s houses (Exodus 6:25, etc.). In common parlance, the term is also

applied to those chief persons who lived before the time of Moses, and

have their record in his books. His tomb is with us, etc. Josephus speaks

of David’s tomb (calling it, as Peter here does, his μνῆμα – mnaema - tomb) as

consisting of several chambers, and relates how one of these chambers was opened

by the high priest Hyrcanus, who took from it three thousand talents of gold

to give to Antiochus Pius, who was at that time laying siege to Jerusalem.

He adds that another chamber was opened later by King Herod, who

abstracted a great quantity of golden ornaments from it; but that neither of

them penetrated to the vaults where the bodies of David and Solomon

were deposited, because the entrance to them was so carefully concealed.

He further mentions that Herod, having been terrified by the bursting out

of flames, which stopped his further progress, built a most costly marble

monument at the entrance of the tomb (‘Jud. Ant.,’ 7. 15:3; 13. 8:4; 16.

7:1). For the sense, supply “and therefore he could not be speaking of

himself.” The explanation follows that he was a prophet, etc.


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;”  Being therefore for therefore

being, Authorized Version; that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon

for that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh He would raise up Christ

to sit on, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. Had sworn, etc. The first

record of God’s promise to David is in II Samuel 7:11-16:

“The Lord telleth thee that He will make thee an house. And… I will set up

thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and will

establish His kingdom…. Thy throne shall be established forever;” and in

Ibid. v. 28, David speaks of it as God’s promise: “Thy words be true, and thou

hast promised this goodness unto thy servant.” But there is no mention

there of an oath. But in Psalm 89:19-37, great stress is laid upon God having

sworn to David: “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn

unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy

throne to all generations” (vs. 3-4); and again, v. 35, “Once have I

sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David” 1 Samuel 7 and Psalm

89, should be read through carefully (compare  also ch. 13:23; Isaiah 4:3).

(For the phrase, “I have sworn by my holiness,” see Amos 4:2.)


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.”

Foreseeing this for seeing this before, Authorized Version; neither was He

left in Hades for His soul was not left in hell, Authorized Version and Textus

Receptus; nor did His flesh for neither His flesh did, Authorized Version  


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

Did God raise up for hath God raised up, Authorized Version. Are witnesses

(see ch.1:22, note).


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.”  Being therefore for therefore being,

Authorized Version; poured for shed, Authorized Version; see for now see,

Authorized Version. By the right hand, etc. Some render it, “being exalted to

the right hand,” etc.; or, “being at the right hand of God exalted.” It is very

questionable whether the Greek will bear the first rendering; and it would have

been more natural to express the second by εἰς τὴν δεξιάν – eis taen dexian –

to the right hand. It is best, therefore, to take it as the Authorized Version and the

Revised Version do. The phrase is equivalent to that in Psalm 98:1, “His right hand,

and His holy arm, hath gotten Him the victory,” and numerous other passages.

The promise of the Holy Ghost (see ch. 1:4, note).



                The Explanation of the Signs of Pentecost (v. 33)


Recall what those sensible signs had been. We may not think that the sound

of the wind was still heard, and it seems hardly likely that the tongues of

flame continued to rest on the heads of the disciples. But the ability to

speak in foreign languages was the sign that chiefly arrested the people’s

attention, and this may have continued throughout the day. Some of the

audience had, no doubt, also seen the “tongues of flame.”  Peter here

makes three distinct points.



he had been so distinctly referring. Here is an advance to a conclusion from

the facts which the apostles witnessed. They declared the facts of

resurrection and ascension. Peter now says — Admit the facts, and

what follows? Surely this: God has acknowledged, accepted, and exalted

Jesus, so affirming His Messiahship, and entrusting Him with Lordship in

the new spiritual kingdom (v. 35). In no sublime way could the Divine

attestation of Jesus have been given.



CHRIST. In John’s Gospel we have the promises of the Spirit as Teacher

and Comforter. The truth of our Savior rested on the fulfillment of those

assurances. Peter bids the people see, in Pentecostal signs, the fulfillment

of both the general promise of the Spirit given through ancient prophets,

and the special and precise promises of the Holy Ghost given through

the Lord Jesus.



He is given because Jesus is glorified. As exalted, as entrusted with holy

authority and power, the Lord Jesus has “shed forth this, which ye now see

and hear.” The Spirit witnesses to Christ, and especially to His present claim,

as Lord, to the allegiance of every heart, the surrender of every will, and the

            obedience of every life.



Royal Bounty (v. 33)


“Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted,” etc.


  • RECEIVED OF THE FATHER. The throne of Christ is the right hand

of the Father. Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”  (Psalm

85:10)  The obedience of Christ rewarded. The highest manifestation of

the Divine in the Man Christ Jesus. The only true view of infinite power

is that which sees it on Christ’s throne as the source of the Spirit of life.

Man’s power destroys, God’s power creates and saves. The thrones of

this world fall, because they are so unlike Christ’s throne.


  • THE HIGHEST SUMMIT which Jesus reached; to which He was

exalted. He did not throw off humanity, but carried it with Him. For the

sake of it He endured the cross. The glory of the throne shines through the

earthly scenes of His history. So we can see the summit of our blessedness

beyond and through the steep sides of the earthly path. Exalted for us,

Jesus shows us that there is a holy ambition which is not self-worship, but

self-sacrifice. James and John were not reproved for desiring to sit beside

Jesus, but for desiring it apart from Divine appointment — as mere

personal favor.


  • THE GIFT ITSELF. He hath shed forth this, which ye see and hear.”

Spiritual power is given that it may be manifested; not in the world’s

forms, not as ecclesiastics have claimed to exhibit it, but with Pentecostal

grace — distinguished men, subduing and captivating messages. The

poverty of the Church without this gift. The evidence of its presence in the

spirit of loyalty to the King from whose throne it descends. Christ-like

power is what we want. The individual appeal: “Ye see and hear.” The gift

is already bestowed. Why should any be without it? An appeal (as in v. 36)

to the Crucifixion. “Ye slew Him; yet He offers you His grace. Ye said,

‘We will not have this man to reign over us;’ yet He holds out His scepter,

and invites you to sit down with Him on his throne.”  (“….him that

overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I overcame
and am set down with my Father in His throne!” 
(Revelation 3:21)



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,”

Ascended not for is not ascended, Authorized Version . For David, etc. The

ascension of Christ is inferred from the previous prophecy, “Thou wilt

show me the path of life,” (Psalm 16:11); and is there distinctly proved from

Ibid. 110:1, which Peter (remembering, probably, our Lord’s application of it

as recorded in Matthew 22:42-45, which he had doubtless heard) shows could

not apply to David himself, but only to David’s Lord.


35 “Until I make thy foes thy footstool.”  Till for until, Authorized Version;

thine enemies for thy foes, Authorized Version;  the footstool of thy feet for

thy footstool, Authorized Version.


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.”

Let all the house of Israel therefore for therefore let all the house of Israel,

Authorized Version; Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye

crucified for that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and

Christ, Authorized Version, a change very much for the worse, inasmuch

as the Revised Version is not an English phrase, and adds nothing to the sense.



The Homily (vs. 14-36)


The first preached sermon was a great event in the history of the Church.

When we recollect the enormous influence that preaching has had amongst

mankind — the preaching of Peter and John, the preaching of Paul, the

preaching of the Augustines, Chrysostoms, Basils of the Church; the

preaching of the great monks, St. Bernard, St. Francis, Peter the Hermit,

and the preaching friars; the preaching of the Reformers, Wycliffe, Luther,

Tyndale, Latimer; the preaching of the Puritans, Knox, Calamy, Baxter; the

preaching of the Methodists, Wesley, Whitfield, Fletcher; the preaching of

the Evangelicals, Newton, Cecil, Simeon, Scott; the preaching of the

Huguenots, Camisards, Lollards, Vaudois; the preaching of the great

divines in the Church of England, and of the great pulpit orators outside

her pale — we cannot but feel that a peculiar interest attaches to the first

sermon preached in the Christian Church. It was a great occasion, and

there was a great preacher raised up to profit by it. It will be interesting, as

well as instructive, to mark some of the chief features of this primary

discourse of the Church’s inspired primate.


  • The first thing that strikes one is THE INTENSELY PERSONAL

CHARACTER OF THIS SERMON: I mean its direct, pointed, personal

application. The apostle is not reading an essay for the use of men in

general; he is not beating the air with philosophical speculations or

rhetorical flourishes; he is aiming a shaft straight at the mind and

conscience of his hearers. He is speaking with impassioned fervor, albeit

also with clear intelligence and logical precision, to the men who stand

before him; speaking to them of things which concerned them specially and

individually; speaking to them with a view to influence their conduct

decisively, and to affect their condition presently and ETERNALLY!

Almost everything in his sermon draws its propriety and its pungency from

its close relation to the circumstances, the actions, the belief, the knowledge,

the education, the whole character and condition, of those to whom he speaks.

The sermon could not have been addressed to any other congregation than

that to which it was addressed. Spoken to the Church of Ephesus, or

Corinth, or Rome, it would have been out of place and without point.

Spoken to the men of Judaea and those that dwelt at Jerusalem in those

eventful days; to the men of Israel, who were his own brethren in the flesh

and in the common hope of redemption; spoken to those who knew the

voices of the prophets and gloried in David their king, who were expecting

the advent of Messiah, and yet were partners in the guilt of crucifying

THE LORD OF GLORY -  the sermon was a sharp arrow, piercing even to

the dividing of soul and spirit, and discerning the thoughts and intents of

their hearts. This feature in Peter’s sermon ought to be noted and imitated by

all whose office it is to “preach the Word.” Thus much as to the manner of

the sermon. But if we turn to the matter of it, we notice:




facts, the reasoning, the quotations from Scripture, the arguments, the

reproofs, the exhortations, — all point to one central object, which is

JESUS CHRIST THE LORD!  Without Christ as the subject-matter and

end of the preaching, the sermon would go out in darkness. But in the apostle’s

skilful though simple treatment, the Lord Jesus stands out to the soul’s view

with great distinctness and with vivid delineations of His office and work. He

appeals to the miracles done by Christ in the presence of his hearers, as

proofs of His Divine mission. He points to His betrayal and passion; he

proves His resurrection from the dead, from the united testimony of the jury

of twelve whom they saw standing up before them, from the witness of

their own prophets, and from the marvelous signs and sounds which they

had just seen and heard. And then he brings home to them the awful guilt

of His crucifixion, that, their hearts being pricked and pierced with

penitential sorrow, they may turn to Him for forgiveness of their sins and

for the reception of His Holy Spirit. In this respect also Peter is to be

imitated by every evangelist and preacher of the Word.


  • Another observable feature in Peter’s sermon is THE DEEP


descent of the Holy Ghost, the death of Jesus, His descent into hell, His

resurrection from the dead, His ascension to the right hand of God, His

office as Christ and Lord, His succession to the throne of His father David,

are all proved and illustrated by infallible warrants of Holy Scripture. The

hidden meanings of the Word of God, its prophetic wisdom, its most

blessed revelations, are all brought forth from the treasury of the

preacher’s mind, to enrich his discourse and to give depth and solidity to

his utterance; teaching us that a thorough knowledge of Holy Scripture is a

necessary qualification of every successful preacher of the gospel of Christ,

If we add to these the boldness and straightforwardness, the sincerity and

the courtesy, with which the whole discourse was uttered, and the absence

of the least appearance of egotism or vain-glory in the whole style of his

preaching, we shall feel that we have indeed a good model in this primary

sermon for us to copy, and that in proportion as we frame our own

sermons upon this great example we may hope to be like Peter in the

abundance and fullness of our success.




OF THE GOSPEL. The hearts of stone turned to hearts

of flesh, and pricked to the quick with the stinging sense of sin; the

blood-stained crucifiers of the Lord hastening to wash away their sins in the

mystical waters of holy baptism; the bold deniers and blasphemers of the

Lord confessing Him to be both Lord and Christ; the scoffers who had said,

“These men are full of new wine,” now acknowledging them as brethren,

and inquiring of them, “What shall we do?” (I recommend How to be

Saved - #4 – this website and Lord Save Me! - #5 – this website -  CY – 2016)

and and in one hour, three thousand souls added to the company of the disciples.

From that moment the Church stood out before the world as a house built upon

an imperishable rock. It took its form and shape among men as:


Ø      a building of  God,

Ø      the habitation of His Spirit, never to be taken down.


            And it has stood  ever since, defying the power of weather and of time; and it

            will stand through all the fluctuations of human opinion and the convulsions

            of human institutions, till He whom Peter proclaimed as Lord and Christ

            shall appear IN HIS GLORY and His Church shall be glorified with Him.

            O Lord, add to thy Church daily, through the power of thy preached Word,

            such as shall be saved!



The Connection of the Christian Events (vs. 22-36)


All history has an inner logic and meaning, contained in the person and the

love of God. The secret links of events may be in part traced by us.




Ø      His simple and homely humanity. “Jesus of Nazareth,” a name of scorn

to many, of unpretentious lowliness to all.


Ø      His gracious, divinely attested career. Though poor and despised of

men, the favor of God was upon Him. And the proof was in the energy

which went forth from Jesus. Again we come upon the note of power.

“Mighty works” or “powers,” “wonders” which called attention to

introducing change, and “signs,” or all-significant acts which pointed to

an unusual meaning, attested that Jesus was the Organ of Divine power

and will.


Ø      This career was public, led in the light of day. The evidence was not

only of the highest quality, but of the most unquestioned universality:

“as you all know.”


  • THE DESTINY OF JESUS TO DIE. To the superficial observer, or

one knowing the facts only from the outside — a Jewish or Roman

historian of the time — it might appear that Jesus perished as Judas the

Gaulonite had done, the victim of the conflicts of the time. Jewish and

Roman interest and passion seemed to unite against Him, and He perished,

the Victim of hate and misconception. But this was but a small part of the

truth. To one instructed in the Divine logic of history, the death of Jesus

was no accident; it lay in the laws of the moral order, in the “definite

counsel and foreknowledge of God.” Yet it was an act of wickedness to

put Him to death. Possibly we cannot solve in thought the seeming

contradiction of the foreknowledge of God and the freedom of man.

Enough that we can recognize separately the perfect truth of each.


  • THE UPRAISING OF JESUS. God’s hand released Him from the

grasp of death. Here, again, was the operation of necessary law. It was

impossible that He should be mastered by death — He who is the very

affirmation of life. The absolute life cannot live beneath its negative. And

here, again, the past furnishes its hints to the solution of the truth of the

present. Spiritual life is IMPERISHABLE; he who possesses it has an

immediate consciousness of immortality, and can find parables of the

victory of life over death everywhere.



The First Argument for the Resurrection (vs. 29-36)


The apostles distinctly witnessed to the facts of the Resurrection, as having

come within their own personal knowledge. But they also argued from

Scripture, that the Lord’s resurrection was the natural and necessary

completion of Messiah’s earthly mission. In the above passage is given the

first specimen of such argumentation; and it should be carefully noted that

it is fitted to Eastern rather than to Western modes of thought. The late Dr.

Robert Vaughan says, “The Oriental intellect is not logical. Its faculty is to

a high degree intuitive; it reasons, but it rarely does so formally. It passes

to its conclusions with a subtle celerity, resembling what we see in women,

much more than by those scientific processes which are familiar to our

Western habits of thought.” The audience which Peter at this time

addressed was composed of devout, God-fearing Jews, who were

attending the feast, and it was therefore especially appropriate that his

argument should be based upon the Scriptures, and take Scripture form.

The passage which he first quotes is taken from Psalm 16:8-11, and he

argues that it could not be of himself that the psalmist there spake, for they

had evidence that the words could not be truly said of him; but that, having

regard to God’s promise, he spake of Him who was to be born from his

line, as identified with himself.  The second quotation is from Psalm 110.,

and is taken to suggest that David went down to the grave, and “slept with

his fathers;” and the allusion to ascension and place at Jehovah’s right hand

could not possibly apply to him, but must refer to his “greater Son,” of

whose resurrection and ascension the apostles gave their witness. The

argument may be followed through its several stages.



ASCENSION OF SOME ONE.  He does not deal, in these psalms, in

vague generalities and pious sentiment. He was a prophet, and under

Divine inspiration, and speaks with distinctness and definiteness. We must

seek for the person to whom he refers.


  • HE COULD NOT MEAN HIMSELF.  This, indeed, would be the first

thought of the reader of his words, but it will not bear examination. The

expressions are too large to be satisfied in the experience of any mere man.

And, if taken literally, as they should be, they cannot be applied to David

himself. They must refer to some great one who has no earthly sepulcher,

because, though He died, He rose, and no tomb holds His body. But David’s

sepulcher was then recognized, and all regarded him (like us all) as awaiting

the general resurrection of the just.


  • HE MUST HAVE REFERRED TO MESSIAH. It must have been a

prophetic utterance. And the Messianic character of both these psalms has

been generally admitted by the Jews; so that Peter’s proof-texts would not

be disputed by his audience as unsuitable. The only difficulty would be the

identification of Messiah. To this point he leads the argument.





Ø      He only had been thus raised after death to the spiritual and

incorruptible life.

Ø      He only had passed, after resurrection, into the eternal world

without another experience of death.

Ø      He alone met the conditions of the psalmist, and therefore

He must be the promised Messiah.


The other cases of resurrection narrated in Old and New Testament Scriptures

should be examined, and the points of contrast between them and our Lord’s

case should be carefully noted; especially the most marked peculiarity in our

Lord’s case, that ascension followed resurrection, whereas all other raised

persons died a second time. If, then, Jesus be the Christ, the Messiah, to

Him our “knees should bow, and our tongue confess.”



Truths from Peter’s Sermon (vs. 14-36)


A more glorious opportunity than that now presented no man could desire.

Peter was the last man in the world likely to let it go unused. He instantly

and, no doubt, eagerly appropriated it. In an animated and forcible address

he repelled the idea that the apostles were acting under lower excitements,

and showed that a new era had dawned upon the race, of which they

should hasten to avail themselves. We gather from his words:




SUPPOSED. (vs. 15-17.) It is true enough that what passes for Divine

inspiration is often nothing more or better than earth-born excitement,

mental or moral heats which are kindled by man and not by God — of the

flesh, fleshly. This is abundantly proved by the test of time, and, in these

cases, the last state is usually worse than the first. But, on the other hand, it

sometimes happens that what is ignorantly mistaken for human passion is

nothing less than a Divine afflatus. So here: these men “were not drunken;”

God was “pouring out his Spirit” upon them. So has it been in the history

of the Christian Church. Men that God has raised up and inspired to do His

work have been either contemptuously disregarded, or cruelly decried, or

systematically persecuted. Such facts as these should make us wait,

examine, inquire, before we dismiss as worthless, or denounce as evil,

those who profess to speak for Christ in ways other than our own.




The Prophet Joel tells us what God will do. His words are necessarily

obscure, for only the facts when they have occurred can make clear and

plain their full significance. But we perceive that it was God’s purpose,

looking on to the future of the world, to pour down at one epoch a very

rich effusion of His Spirit on the race, and to “show wonders” of the most

extraordinary kind before the end of the dispensation. Everything is

foreseen, arranged; the eye of God looks on, and all is before Him; His

hand, too, is stretched out, and at various points He makes His almighty

power to be felt.



IS ONE PLACE OF UNFAILING SAFETY. (v. 21.) “Whosoever shall

call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” Whatever visions are seen, or

dreams are dreamed, or prophesyings are uttered on earth; whatever

wonders may be wrought in heaven, — the man that makes God his

Refuge has no need to fear; he shall be hidden in the everlasting arms of

strength and love.



FREEDOM. (v. 23.) Christ Jesus was “delivered by the determinate

counsel and foreknowledge of God,” yet He was not so delivered but that

they were wicked hands” that crucified and slew Him. The providence of

God makes all things possible to us — the noblest achievements and also

the darkest crimes; it is our faithfulness which makes us the agents of the

one, and our sin which makes us the perpetrators of the other.



THRONE OF THE HUMAN WORLD. (Vs. 24-36.) Peter showed:


Ø      That David had predicted the resurrection of Christ (vs. 25-31).

Ø      That they could bear positive testimony that he had risen from the dead

(v. 32).

Ø      That prophecy pointed him out as One reigning in power, awaiting the

final and complete overthrow of all his enemies (vs. 34-35). Wherefore

let every knee bow to Him, every heart be subject to His sway; for


o       all power as well as all authority is His;

o       on His side, we are sure of victory and blessedness;

o       ranged against Him, we shall be overcome, with terrible

      disaster to ourselves.



The Spirit Speaking through the Voice of an Apostle (vs. 14-36)




  • The SIMPLICITY AND DIRECTNESS of the sermon; beginning with

the facts of the present, going back to the facts of the past, and ending in

the solemn appeal to enter the kingdom of Christ.


  • The SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY on which it rests. The ancient

promise of Messiah; the glory of the latter days; the prophetic psalms ;

thus showing that the unbelief of those who despised that day of grace

was inexcusable.


  • The INSPIRED BOLDNESS of utterance. The hearers charged with

the rejection of the Messiah; the facts openly proclaimed, and their

disproof challenged; the present, ascended glory of Jesus published as the

glad tidings which should, if welcomed, obliterate the gloom of the last

few years in Israel.


  • The AFFECTIONATE EARNESTNESS mingling with all the

discourse. A true Israelite is speaking as a brother to those who were the

“house of Israel,” over which JESUS CAME TO BE THE HEAD!


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?”  The rest for to the rest, Authorized Version; brethren for

men and brethren, Authorized Version. Pricked in their heart (κατενύγησαν

katenugaesan – they were pricked with compunction [a feeling of guilt]). The

Septuagint rendering of Psalm 109:16 (15, Prayer-book), “broken,” or “vexed

at the heart.” Genesis 34:7 it is rendered “grieved.” Unto Peter and the rest of the

apostles. It is important to note from the beginning the relative position of

Peter and the other apostles; a certain primacy and precedence, both in

place and in action, he has undoubtedly. He is always named first, and he

acts first, in preaching both to Jews and Gentiles. The keys are in his hands,

and the door is first opened as he turns the lock. But it is equally clear that

he is but one of the apostles; he is not set over them, but acts with them; he

is not their superior, but their fellow; they are not eclipsed by his presence,

but only animated by his example; inquirers after salvation do not ask at his

mouth only, but of the whole college of the apostles. Brethren (see v. 29).

The Jews and Israelites now hold out the right hand of brotherhood to

those whom before they reviled (v. 13). What shall we do? It is a sign

of the working of God’s Spirit in the heart, renewing it to repentance,

when men feel the need of changing their old course of thought and action,

and inquire anxiously what they must do to inherit eternal life (compare

ch. 9:6; 16:30; Mark 10:17;).


The Soul’s Questions Answered (v. 37)


“Now when they heard this,” etc.




Ø      It is towards God. The inner man recognizing the facts, responding to

the appeal, turning the heart from its perversity and selfishness, feeling and

acknowledging the greatness of the sin and the danger of condemnation.



Ø      It is towards man. They addressed themselves to Peter and the rest of

the apostles. Religious life is not a solitary thing, not a mere matter

between the soul and God; but between the man and his fellow-man —

between the individual believer and the Church of Christ. The

questions of the anxious and seeking souls should be drawn out by the

Church. The Church should present itself to the world in such a way

that the questions should be both humbly and affectionately asked.

There is an authority of superior knowledge and experience and

tried character which should be able to make itself felt. Yet men

should see that we are their brethren, and that love to their souls

is our ruling motive. “What shall we do?”  It is well to

follow the apostolic precedents, and seal impression and resolve,

with decided action and public testimony. We must cast ourselves on

God. We are safer in the Church than in the world. Everywhere there

is temptation, but the pledged Christian will have help in his holy vows.


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.” And for then, Authorized Version;

said (in italics) for said, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; repent ye

for repent Authorized Version; unto for for, Authorized Version;  your sins

for sins, Authorized Version. Repent, etc. We have in this short verse the

summary of Christian doctrine as regards man and God. Repentance and faith

on the part of man; forgiveness of sins, or justification, and the gift of the

Holy Ghost, or sanctification, on the part of God. And both these are

expressed in the sacrament of baptism, which as it were ties the act of man

TO THE PROMISE OF GOD!   For the sacrament expresses man’s faith

and repentance on one side, and God’s forgiveness and gift on the other.


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 is the promise for the promise is unto you, Authorized Version; shall

call unto Him for shall call. To you is the promise (see ch. 1:4; here v.33).

There is also a reference to the prophecy in Joel 3:28-32, quoted in vs. 17-21.

To all that are afar off; i.e. the Gentiles, as appears clearly from Ephesians 2:17,

where the same phrase is applied to the Ephesian Christians, and the Jewish

Christians are spoken of as “those that were nigh.” The fulfillment to the

Gentiles is specially recorded (ch.10:45; 11:15, 18, etc.). Shall call unto Him

(compare Romans 1:6; 8:28, 30; 9:24; I Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:6 (etc.),

which confirm the application of the “afar off” to the Gentiles.



The Gospel Demands from Men (vs. 37-39)


The moral influence exerted by Peter’s speech, in the power of the

present Spirit, should be noticed. Many of his audience were “pricked in

their heart;” that is, were “stung with remorse at the enormity of the

wickedness which had been committed in the crucifixion [of Messiah],

and at the blindness with which the whole nation had closed their eyes to the

teaching of the prophecies which had spoken of the Messiah.” They asked,

“What shall we do?” to escape the penalties which must fall on the nation

that has so sinned against light and knowledge; who have had the true

Light in their midst, but have comprehended it not, and have crucified

THE LORD OF GLORY!” By unfolding and illustrating the intense feelings

with which the Jews anticipated the coming of their Messiah, we may set forth

the terrible revulsion of feeling, and the overwhelming shame that smote

them, when they were convinced that they had actually crucified their

Messiah, offering Him thus the greatest insult, and rendering themselves

guilty of the gravest crime. Peter demands three things:


o       repentance,

o       faith, and

o       confession.


The first and last of these are distinctly stated, the second is implied.


  • THE GOSPEL DEMANDS REPENTANCE. This was the requirement

of John the Baptist, and of our Lord when He sent forth His apostles on

their trial mission. It is the proper and necessary preparation for

forgiveness; it is the state of mind and feeling to which alone forgiveness

can come, and by which alone it can be appreciated, Here the conviction of

the one particular sin of crucifying Messiah becomes a revelation of general

sinfulness; and so definite repentance is attended with a humiliation and

humility which can be a basis of faith, an openness to receive further truth,

and a condition fitted for a gracious forgiveness. Repentance is still the

first gospel demand. Possibly modern preaching greatly fails because

adequate prominence is not given to it.


  • THE GOSPEL DEMANDS FAITH. Here the special object of the

faith should be dwelt on. The repentance of these Jews involved their

believing that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed their Messiah. But this was not

saving faith. It only crushed and humbled. The faith required is PERSONAL


PRESENT SAVIOUR, and actual surrender of heart and life to Him.

It is belief in HIS NAME AS SAVIOUR. This distinction should be fully

unfolded and illustrated, with earnest pleadings for that faith, or personal

trust, which actually links us to the living Savior.


  • THE GOSPEL DEMANDS CONFESSION. This is the real point and

meaning of the rite of baptism, which is the public act in which our faith in

Christ is declared. If we are sincere in our faith we shall be willing to make

it known. If we are earnest in our faith we shall want to make it known.

And Christ’s kingdom is to be spread by just this confession and

acknowledgment of Him. Therefore the demand is, “If thou shalt confess

with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God

hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  (Romans 10:9) 

This duty of “public confession” is sadly neglected in our day, and there is

consequently a perilous vagueness, indefiniteness, and indistinctness

characteristic of religious life. The gospel response to those who meet its

demands is forgiveness, involving acceptance with God and the privileges

of restored sonship; and that this is SEALED TO US BY THE GIFT OF




God’s Promise of the Spirit (v. 39)


“For to you is the promise,” etc.


  • Consider it as the NEED of man, and the fulfillment of that whole

dispensation of mercy under which man was placed when he fell.


Ø      Trace it through the bestowments of the Old Testament, and show that

while God was ever bestowing his Spirit, both in special manifestations

as in the inspiration of His messengers, and in individual life, yet the

requirement of man was that in connection with a larger communication

of truth and redeeming love there should be the lifting up of humanity

itself, of the spirits of men BY DIVINE GIFTS!


Ø      Such is God’s method always. With gifts from without He

sends gifts within. The gifts of science and discovery accompany an

elevation of the mind and life of the world. Moreover, it is a

Divine gift to be able to speak for Christ.


  • Consider the EXTENT AND APPLICATION of the promise.


Ø      Apart from all restrictions of human merit. To the crucifiers of Jesus —

for God is merciful; to the Jew, notwithstanding his abuse of special

privileges; to the Gentile, notwithstanding ignorance and degradation.


Ø      Apart from all restrictions of age. To the children as well as to the

adults; to the families as well as the heads of households: for though the

word “children” does not necessarily denote infants, it does not exclude

them, and in such ways as by the analogy of Scripture we can interpret

the “promise to the children,” the word applies to the youngest. The

Jew might well understand it as a covenant, which, like that of

circumcision, was applied in its signs to the infant.


Ø      This is wider than the utmost limits of human knowledge and belief. It

      is not for us, as it was not for the Apostle Peter, to say “whom the Lord

      our God should call.” He has no respect of persons. He calls those

      whom we should not call. Peter himself was soon taught that God’s

      purposes cannot be judged by man. The universality of the Spirit is

      the basis of all missionary efforts — the bond of the true Church.


40 “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save

yourselves from this untoward generation.”  He testified, and exhorted

for did he testify and exhort, Authorized Version; crooked for untoward,

Authorized Version. Save yourselves, etc. The idea is that the

crooked generation which denied and crucified the Lord is HURRYING ON

TO THEIR DESTRUCTION!   Those who would not perish with them MUST


(II Corinthians 6:17), and seek safely in the ark of Christ’s Church (I Peter 3:21),


o       as Noah did in the ark, and

o       as Lot did in Zoar.


So the jailer at Philippi, seeking to be saved, was baptized straightway (ch.16:30-33).

This was the drift and end of all Peter’s exhortations.



The Gospel according to Peter (vs. 37-40)


That which followed immediately on the preaching of Peter’s sermon

brought out the truths of the gospel quite as fully and forcibly as the

discourse itself. We learn from these verses:


  • THE RANGE OF DIVINE LOVE. (v. 39.) Peter declared, at this the

outset of the new dispensation, that the range of God’s redeeming love

would be “exceeding broad.”


Ø      It was to go from generation to generation: “to you and to your



Ø      It was to extend to remotest regions: “to all that are afar off.”


Ø      It was to embrace every one whom the summons of the inviting Lord

            should reach: “as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Thus, at the

            beginning, the apostles gave a true idea of the fullness of that “kingdom

            of God” of which their Master had spoken so much, and which He lived

            and died to establish.


  • THE FIRST RESULT OF DIVINE TRUTH (v. 37.) This was (and is):


Ø      Spiritual agitation.

Ø      Earnest inquiry.


“When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart;” they said, “What

shall we do?” This is the simple, natural, constant course of things divine in

the heart of man. When the truth of God is faithfully preached, and when

the seed falls on good soil, there is spiritual agitation; the soul is smitten,

the heart pierced; there are “great searchings of heart” (Judges 5:16;  the old

apathy, self-sufficiency, equanimity, is disturbed and broken up, and the spirit

is troubled with a deep disquietude. It discovers that:


Ø      everything is wrong:

Ø      the past is guilty,

Ø      the present utterly unsatisfactory, the future clouded.


            Then comes earnest inquiry: Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

“Wherewithal shall we come before the Lord?” How shall we be forgiven,

justified, accepted? What is the path of reconciliation and peace? Through

what spiritual experiences must we pass? What is the way into the kingdom

of God? The soul, thus in earnest, turns to the sacred Scriptures or

addresses those who speak in the name of Christ.



`     (vs. 38, 40.)


Ø      Repent; i.e. turn from sin and selfishness to righteousness and holy

            service; abandon the old and evil life of folly, thoughtlessness,

            worldliness, wrong-doing; put that away with shame and sorrow,

            and enter the opposite path — turn Godwards, truthwards, heavenwards.


Ø      Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Teacher, Lord, Savior; be baptized

            into Him. Heartily accept Him, and honestly avow Him, as your Divine



Ø      Separate yourself from the sin which surrounds you; “save yourselves,”

            etc. (v. 40); have no participation in guilt, and have no sympathy or

            fellowship with sinners, as such.



POWER. These conditions fulfilled, there will be:


Ø      Remission of sins (v. 38).


Ø      The indwelling of the Holy Ghost (v. 38). Christ, our almighty Savior,

            our Divine Friend, being with us, we shall have above us a reconciled

            heavenly Father to whom we can look up with rejoicing, childlike trust

            and love; and we shall have within us the Holy Spirit, cleansing the

            thoughts of our heart by His inspiration; sanctifying our nature;

            empowering us for the burden, the witness, and the battle of life;

            preparing us for the companionships and engagements of immortality.


41 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the

same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

They then for then they, Authorized Version; received for gladly received,

Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; there were added unto them in that

day for the same day there were added unto them, Authorized Version.

Gladly received. The best manuscripts omit ἀσμενως – asmenos - gladly,

which, indeed, is superfluous, as the word ἀποδέχομαι – apodechomai –

welcoming - contains in itself the idea of a kind reception — a welcome

(ch.15:4; 24:3; Luke 8:40).



The Day of Pentecost, and Its Immediate Gifts (vs. 1-41)


And when the day of Pentecost… And the same day there were added

about three thousand souls.” The day of Pentecost is emphatically the

complement of the great days of the New Testament. The visible glories of

this day are the fitting sequel, the almost natural sequel, of the more veiled

glories of certain days that had preceded it. The heavenly luster and music

of the day of incarnation, unique as they were, reached the eye and ear of

but few. The world was asleep. The dread, tremendous glory of the day of

crucifixion, charged though it was with fullest significance, was not seen to

be such at the time. The glories of the day of resurrection undeniably

opened eyes and hearts to the keenest and most thankful appreciation of

them, but their appeal was to a very limited number. When the calm, sweet,

strange glory of Ascension Day revealed a vision of literally endless light,

the scene undoubtedly began to widen, if only that it so heightened. And

now but a short interval has passed, and there is a certain manifestation

given to this day of Pentecost which reflects floods of glory upon the

Giver, and pours light and hope, new and amazing, upon a world well-nigh

prostrate. It is the simply told history of this day that is written for us in

this chapter. And it tells us of:



PRESENCE. (vs. 2-4). Observe:


Ø      The signs of THE PRESENCE. It is distinguished by


o       the sound of wind, apparently without the usual other

accompaniments of it to the feeling.


o       The sound of wind of irresistible and conquering energy. It is

not as when” the Spirit of God moved on the face of the”

archaic “waters” (Genesis 1:2), and it is not “as summer

evening’s latest sigh, that shuts the rose. No; nor is it as the

stormy wind and tempest.”  The elements are not in confusion,

and the wind is not furious. But it sweeps along, nevertheless,

with a certain irresistible majesty; rather, it distinctly thus

sweeps down from heaven. It is wind that bears itself down,

and is full of might.”


o       Its facile pervading and penetrating of “all the house where”

the disciples “were sitting.” John, for certain, was there, and

learned then the grand original of his later — nay, much later —

Patmos experience, “I was in the Spirit.” (Revelation 1:10)

All in “that house” were enveloped, bathed, “baptized”

in the Holy Spirit.


o       An added appearance; an appearance of fire, manifold fire,

every several portion of the bright burning shaped as the

tongue, and one of these speeding to settle on each of the

startled assembly of disciples.


Ø      The first and direct results of THE PRESENCE.


o       Those to whom it was vouchsafed, and who “were sitting in the

house,” are “all filled with the Holy Spirit.” This is the

testimony, the assertion, of the historian at a somewhat later

period. Whether those who experienced the wonderful force

knew in that same hour what had thus taken possession of them

may be a question. If they knew it not in name, they very

certainly began to know it in its marvelous nature. We justly give

our imagination some leave of exercise here, and the more

happily if that imagination can assist itself in any degree from

the materials of our own experience of the quickening,

invigorating influences of the Spirit in our heart. Evidently in

degrees, ranging from little to the largest, does that Spirit

vouchsafe His visits and His work in human hearts. What would

it be if we knew Him today IN SOME REALLY LARGE

MEASURE!   What conviction it would be to the individual

heart! What commanding joy, inexpressible, overflowing to

the very life and soul of any one disciple! But if such a

visitation were granted to a gathering of disciples — just one

meeting of Christian people — making account of the different

time of day, the greater enlargement of scope of the day, the 

crowded people around, millions for thousands, the rapidity

and trustworthiness of communication, — surely America itself

would scarce contain the excitement, and the Church might

well be beside herself for very joy. The mere imagination of this

will help to reproduce for us some more vivid idea of the surprise

of that moment, that hour of the day of Pentecost.


o       Those who were thus filled with the Holy Spirit are not rapt in

ecstatic feeling, do not improvise celestial psalm and music,

but they speak the many languages of earth. They speak, but

the Spirit gives them the speech.  They speak, but it is now

literally fulfilled that the Spirit gives them in that same hour

what they shall speak. The case is one of genuine verbal

inspiration. There is little doubt, perhaps, that these numerous

disciples spoke words which they did not understand the

meaning of (I Corinthians 14:22), nor could have “interpreted”

had they been called to do so. They uttered sounds, their

faculties of speech being subject to the mighty and condescending

power of the Holy Spirit. What of loss of dignity this may at first

seem to the disciples, is far more than counterbalanced, not only

by the suggestions of honor set on the organs of human speech

in the use of them by One who may for the moment be called the

Maker and Giver of them, hut also by the gain of a clearly more

impressive result. There was far less mixture of the human

element in the Divine communication that purported to pass

from the Spirit to the ear and mind of a large number of

various-speaking peoples. It is the difference to us of

a correspondent who indeed uses an amanuensis, as Paul often

did in his Epistles, but who keeps with himself the dictating

of every word. Such a one has not left the selection of words,

or style, or turn of expression to another; and this is the chief

thing we care about, though we should have prized his

handwriting as well. Nor need it seem at all too far-fetched an

inference, if any one hesitated to count it a designed

arrangement, that through this speaking being so essentially

the act of the Holy Spirit, a very strong suggestion of the

personality of that Spirit should be borne in on the

disciples then, and much more on disciples of succeeding

ages. Absolute speech does not come from what is merely

an influence, an energy, a power. It is the function of a

person. And it is one of the highest of prerogatives of the

human being. The disciples had lost a personal Presence, in the

person of Jesus, which could never be replaced, and which

never was to be replaced till he should so come” again,

“in like manner as they had seen Him go into heaven.”

And yet, though the personal presence of Jesus was not to

be replaced by another personal presence, it was most

surely to be replaced by the presence of a Person. Would it

not be calculated to assist disciples both to believe correctly

 and to feel grateful that the ever-invisible Spirit was none

the less a Personage, a Being — not a vague influence nor a

phantom? And now there is probably no cardinal fact of

Christianity less honored, less operative, than that of the

personality of the Holy Spirit. It is one of the disastrous

causes of His being too often slighted, sinned against,

grieved, and “quenched,”


Ø      Certain incidents in THE PRESENCE. It is fitted:


o       to a certain time. “When the day of Pentecost was fully come.”

The time was certain; it was fore-spoken by Jesus; it was waited

for by His disciples. But though certain, alluded to, and awaited,

neither “the day nor the hour” was revealed.


o       To a certain place. The place certainly was Jerusalem. And the

same Being who told the disciples “not to depart from

Jerusalem, but wait” there, was one who “knew” also

“the place, the “one place,” of His loved people’s loved

meeting, as He had once well known “the place” of His own

agony — the garden.


o       To a certain temper of heart. “They were all with one accord,”

i.e. together, “in one place.” Juxtaposition and visible

association do not always infer the purest of harmony by any

means. But they did infer it now; and that the disciples were

all with one accord in one place was the real fruit of their being

all of one accord.” Since that blessed day, true it is —

too true — that Christ’s people have very often been “together”

when they have not been “of one accord,” “of one mind,”

having the same love,” “like-minded.” But it was so now.

And if it had not been, the grandeur of the day would either

never have been at all, or would have “set in darkness”

and shame.


o       Of undoubted design, to a congregate body, and one,

comparatively speaking, numerous. No longer to a woman

by herself, no longer to two disciples alone, no longer to the

twelve, or the eleven, but at all events to some ten times that

number (ch. 1:15). The Spirit often whispers silently, stealthily

almost, in the ear of the soul most solitary. Not so now.

The sacred illumination, sacred quickened faculty, and sacred

joy shall possess “each” and “all together” of that new style

of family, that infant Church — that little company of fellow-

pilgrims, of fellow-voyagers, of a mere handful of an army.

They need food, and strength, and comfort, and the inspiration

of experiences — never, never to be forgotten — shared

together. Grand uses frequently come of the Spirit’s force

over one individual, and him the obscurest of the obscure;

but now grand uses were to come for themselves, for one

another, for a world, in that the disciples were associated so

variously, yet so closely, in ecstatic privilege, in unbounded

surprise, and in the consentaneous joy of the unwonted

inspiration that came “wild-murmuring o’er their raptured



o       To an occasion that either admitted of the testimony or invited

the challenge of a large and various multitude. There were

present the comparatively large number of those who experienced

the power of the Holy Ghost, but there were also near at hand a

very much larger number of those who soon became spectators

of what was transpiring. They were not only a large number, but

a very various number. They hailed from different regions; they

spoke different languages; their objects and their modes of

life were, no doubt, very various. It were inconceivable that

any collusion should obtain here, so far as spectators, were

concerned. In their excitement, and in the open expression

of it, so natural, some did challenge, though the pitiful

challenge fell stillborn to the ground. “New wine” never

wrought such marvel, each nationality must have felt, when

addressed touching “the wonderful works of God” in its own

language.  But till then the Parthian, for instance, might set

down to “new wine” the discordant sounds, as they must seem

to him, of a dozen other nationalities. Just so far there was

reason in the “mocking;” and, at all events, there was use in it.

For the “new wine” theory found expression, got a hearing,

and got a verdict too. Most profitable was this occasion,

when “the multitude were confounded…were all amazed

and marveled…were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying

one to another, What meaneth this?… and others mocking

 said, These men are full of new wine.” Such awakening,

such spirit of inquiry and investigation, such clear proof of a

readiness to challenge appearances rather than succumb too

readily and run the chance of delusion, made for every man

that was there a strong, convinced witness in time to come,

and in the home and country of each.  From being excited

spectators, they became, man for man, so many intelligent

and determined witnesses of “the wonderful works of God.”

From being gaping hearers, they became instructed and

impressive preachers. And the unsettledness of their mind

gave place to deep, unmoved conviction. The adaptation

of occasion here gave two great advantages — the advantage

of satisfactory and conclusive evidence, and that of an

effective and willing missionary service over large portions

of the earth.



This was a very gala-day of prophecy. Often distrusted, often mocked,

and often saluted with the taunting question, “Where is the promise of his

coming?” — now the scene which stirred all Jerusalem was one “in

demonstration of that Spirit and power” which dwelt in it. The day

witnessed in matter prophetic the majestic force of the avalanche,

overwhelming doubt and disbelief in deep destruction indeed, but carrying

no other destructiveness with it. The piled predictions of ages past no

longer tower aloft so proudly and forbiddingly, but they fall at the feet of

an amazed, an astounded, but a revived and gladdened nation. Or, if the

figure be permitted, the leases of property of immeasurable value fall in this

day. And that this was a day of most just pride in the career of prophecy, may

be testified by the thought:


Ø      Of the largeness of the contents of it. The volume is an ample one

indeed. What treasures it unrolled, and all the while seemed to say

spontaneously, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your hearing! It

was an abounding harvest that was now gathered in ripe, — a rich and

gladdening vintage. It is not prophecy fulfilled for an individual king or

mighty man, nor for a caste of priests, nor for a band of prophets, but it

includes “all flesh,...sons and daughters,…young men and old men my

servants and my handmaidens.” It proved itself over a wide variety of

human character and condition.


Ø      Of the intrinsic nature of it. “They shall prophesy. It is a fulfillment in

spiritual sort. The Spirit is the great Worker, and spiritual results are still

what underlie great outer wonders. Living powers of human nature,

immensely intensified and diversified, these are the phenomena at all

events. They are marked as “the beginning,” not of “sorrows,” not of

“tribulation,” not of “miracles,” but of “signs” that contain an amount

and a kind of signifying power far in excess of all which had ever been.

Now began — whatever its duration should prove to be — this world’s

LAST AEON.   And strongly marked are its characteristics from the

first.  “All flesh” begin to answer responsive to the might of the invisible

Spirit, and in a certain sense the very presumption of Saul, and of those

who were stricken because they touched the sacred ark, begins to be

the law. Directness of individual contact with whatever should be

most holy, for each and all, becomes the established, the enthroned

religion of the world.




PROPHECY. (v. 21.) That very prophecy that had seemed

to cover, now served to proclaim loudly and distinctly the universal mercy

of the one universal “LORD!” The “gracious word” now proceeds from its

lip, to begin its unresting journey. What a word was this, And it shall

come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be

saved”! It is the disclosure in broadest daylight of the purpose of ages past;

yes, of a purpose that had been purposed before the world began. Most

assuredly prophecy had held it, and had made it visible, but to very few

who beheld, though it was before their eyes. The eyes even of those to

whom it was given to see “were holden that they knew” it not. And the

vast multitude outside were long time dying without the knowledge or so

much as one glimpse of it. Of the past three years Jesus had given

significant hints of it in some of His works, and had whispered it sometimes

in the ears of His disciples, and had distinctly uttered it in His parting

commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every

creature.” But to the day of Pentecost “is this grace given,” that it should

preach aloud, with a hundred tongues, and a hundred better than silver

trumpets, THE RICHES OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST! Three things

mark what was then in particular, and what must ever essentially be the

surprising riches of the proclamation.


Ø      It is hope to ALL and EVERY ONE!.


Ø      It is the call of a human voice alone, no doubt drawn deep from the

heart, that is the method, the one simple method of access to that hope.


Ø      The hope is that of no mere respite, subterfuge, soothing relief, but of

SALVATION!  Exclusiveness “is finished;” ritual, ceremony, sacrifice,

the earthly priest, — each “is finished; tantalizing expectancy, “is

finished;” and EVERLASTING SALVATION is to be had free, by

ANY ONE and by EVERY ONE, for the one anguished or trustful

call of the heart “on the Name of the Lord.” It is a fact worthy to

be noticed, that, as the gospel of Jesus’ own public ministry began

from the quotation of Isaiah’s prophecy (Luke 4:17-21; Isaiah 61:1),

so the gospel of the day of Pentecost begins its illustrious career with

the motto of a quotation from prophecy (Joel 2:28-32).  These two

links — were they the only ones — how strongly they bind

together the Scriptures of the old and new covenants, and the

covenant themselves!



PREACHERS. (vs. 14, 29, 38). This honor was reserved for Peter, to be

the first of that “great company which publish” the glad tidings of salvation

through Jesus Christ. He had been preparing for this place now these three

years. He had passed through good fame and through ill, through not a

little most merited rebuke; he had passed through, not the discipline of

warning and correction alone, but also through that of the genial influences

and constant stimulus of priceless privileges. The memories of the fishing,

and the storm, and the walking on the water, and the death-chamber, and

the brilliant heights of the Transfiguration, and the darkest contrasts of the

shades of Gethsemane’s garden, and the judgment hall, and the look

vouchsafed from the very cross after the terrible thrice denial, and of all the

rest, were now all upon him. And he has made, at all events,

this impression on us — the impression as of a man of:


Ø      Native impetuosity of temperament.

Ø      Imperious moral judgments.

Ø      Liability to fearful lapse.

Ø      Unbounded enthusiasm and devotion to a great and good Master

Ø      And now lastly, of a man with the eye of an eagle for the object

dear to his heart.



(vs. 14-36). The character of a model Christian sermon may be justly

claimed throughout for this address of Peter to the multitude. The leading

features of it are strongly marked.


Ø      It is one testimony to Christ; the subject is variously approached, but it

is one. Whatever the then reason, the subject is not lost sight of nor

allowed to linger. Each approach to it, each conclusion from it,

become more telling, till the pronounced assertion confronts the

people, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly,

that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified,

both Lord and Christ.”


Ø      It is a summary of indisputable historic facts. The incarnation and birth

of Jesus are, therefore, not adverted to, as perhaps too remote. They did

not come directly within the range of facts patent to the hearers of Peter.

“As ye yourselves know” was an argument Peter loved to use. He didn’t

beg reliance on his judgment, opinion, or assertion, but he challenged

the knowledge of those to whom he spoke. The “Man of Nazareth,…

the approved of God by miracles and signs and wonders… the

delivered” (though here Peter does insert the transcendent

statement of Divine “foreknowledge” and “counsel”), “the taken

crucified and slain… the raised up” from death’s kingdom and

dominion, “the exalted by the right hand of God,” and the

corroboration of these statements of the Resurrection and Ascension

from the prophecies of their own prized oracles, — these are the vital

facts summarized now by Peter.  The chain breaks nowhere. Peter is

strong in his facts.


Ø      There was an unflinching style in the address. The indiscriminate people

of Judaea and Jerusalem are before Peter, and barely seven weeks are

passed since the Crucifixion, and Peter brings the guilt home in

uncompromising language to the heart and the hand of those whom he

addresses; and also declares that the wonders of this day of Pentecost, of

which the fickle multitude were no doubt the willing witnesses, are all

the work of that “Man of Nazareth whom they had disbelieved, ill

treated, crucified. Many men will bear to be told of their guilt, who

won’t stand the demonstration of their exceeding folly. But the

hearers of Peter get both in his faithfulness and unflinchingness

to his subject. “This Jesus… hath shed forth this, which ye now

see and hear.”


Ø      There was intense earnestness in the address of Peter. This, no doubt,

went naturally a long way to disarm what might otherwise have seemed

the offensive character of the matter of his indictment. The instance is an

interesting and a remarkable one of the very severest rebuke consisting

with a kindliness only thinly veiled. And without a word of kindness

expressed, the impression and effect are probably gained by the manifest

intense earnestness and strongest conviction of the speaker. These things,

so that they are not abused, are legitimately within the province of the

Christian preacher. With this proviso it is given to him to dogmatize, only

not in his own name; to rebuke in the most uncompromising manner, only

not for any offence personal to himself merely; and to wield the

denunciations of the future and the unseen, only not otherwise than as

drawn, both for matter and for justifiable occasion, and justly drawn, from

the warrant of revelation.



was to be expected, in no respect is the transition from Judaism to

Christianity more worthy of interested study than as it offers to view the

healthy young growth of Christian institutions, taking root amid the ruins

of the old and corrupt traditions of the “Jews’ religion.” Many a site that

witnessed long time crumbling decay, stones no two of which lay together,

and the very squalidity of disorder, now witnessed the surprising signs of

vigorous, determined, and beautiful life. It were well if it had been possible

to secure that these should not in their turn succumb, in lapse of time, to

the affronts of human imperfection, and show again the pitiful sight of

diviner growths within cumbered, choked, and finally killed, by fungus,

excrescence, and merciless blight. Here, however, we have a fine example

of the vitality of roused religious life, its own cries, and the methods of

treatment with which it was blessed to meet. Observe:


Ø      The central fact — conviction. The conscience itself is touched, wakens

responsive to the touch, and takes upon itself to speak for its owner

sounds that have the sounds of life. Men hear, and are “pricked in the



Ø      The first immediate course resorted to under the circumstances. Those

whose hearts are thus “pricked,” whose conscience is thus touched,

begin to make inquiry, and inquiry of what they “shall do.” They play

not the role of excuse for the past, of moralizing reminiscence, or of

any other of the pretexts for procrastination. It is the moment for

undoubted action, for decided action, and, if honest ignorance exist

as to the shape of that action, for prompt inquiry as to the way: “What

shall we do?” No doubt, when the men and the time and the

circumstances and those to whom they now addressed themselves, —

when these all are put together, it must be granted that there was here

the reality and the best part of genuine confession.


Ø      Religious interrogatories made, not under the probing of the

confessional-expert; not under the conditions of morbidness, and it

goaded; not in secrecy and solitariness. These, as between man and

his fellow-creature, may be often more than doubtful. But it is in

open day that this confessional-scene is placed. And safety invests it,

and spiritual health and even symptoms of robustness are indicated.


Ø      Preachers not priest, doctrine not ritual, practice not penance, lively

repentance not remorseful reflection, are the order of that well-omened

hour. Yet, to speak of nothing else, if ever remorseful reflection —

something short of remorse itself — might have put in a reasonably

opportune claim, it was surely now, while Peter’s stinging words still

rang in their ears: “This Jesus whom ye crucified” (Revised Version).

But no; the answer to the questions put at this honorable, open

confessional is “Repent,” altering at once the thing you have been,

though alter you cannot the crucifying thing that you have done;

“Repent,and show it before men, by being “baptized, every one of

you,” actually in that very Name, “the Name of Jesus Christ,” whom

you rejected and crucified, acknowledging thereby that you are bounden

to Him for “the remission of sins;” “Repent,” and be baptized, and

enter at once on the inheritance of long promise, “the gift of the

Holy Ghost.” That “gift of the Holy Ghost,” after repentance and

offer baptism and after the remission of sins, as distinguished from

the preeminent quickening effected by His sacred breath, would be

the conclusive, surest token of the absolution of sin. For them and

for ourselves this may sufficiently distinguish the ever-necessary

working of the Holy Spirit in quickening the human heart from death,

necessary equally with Abel and Enoch as with Paul or any man of

modern days, from that special endowment of the Spirit for other uses,

vouchsafed to the “new covenant” from the day of Pentecost downward

to this day.  This is the special grace and crown of the Christian Church,

though probably still little understood, and its conquering force

accordingly still little tested. From the language of v. 40 we may

understand that we have but a sketch of all that Peter said from the

moment that he stood up to vindicate the prophesying army from

the charge of drunkenness, to the moment that the actual administration

of the rite of baptism began.  Unstintingly he “testified,” unweariedly

he “exhorted,” and this the burden of his enthusiastic and impassioned

appeal, that those who heard should show themselves willing, anxious,

eager to be rescued from the following and from the belongings of

an inherently “crooked generation.”



(vs. 41-47). Three thousand were that day added to the hundred and

twenty or thereabout, who began the day as believers in Christ. The

multiplication was twenty-five for every one. They are those who “received

his word.” It will not be going beyond chapter and verse if we regard this

as equivalent to “receiving the Word.” Still, this is not the exact meaning of

the historian, and as it is very possible that some of these very thousands at

some subsequent time were guilty of defection, we may prefer to hold that

those who came to be thus guilty did not receive “with meekness the

engrafted Word, which was able to save their souls.” They only caught a

transient enthusiasm as they listened to Peter. Any way, some then also did

not “receive” the word of Peter. “Some” then also “believed and some

believed not. Some tares then also were mingled with the good seed.”

Glorious, therefore, as that harvest was of the “latter day,” it falls very

short of the glory that shall be of “the last day.” Then no Peter shall

baptize, and no Church shall charitably judge, and no adulteration shall be

possible. Then “the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from

among the just” (Matthew 13:49); “The Son of Man shall send forth His

angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and

them which do iniquity” (Matthew 13:41); “The Son of man shall come

in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him And He shall separate,” etc.

Meanwhile the spiritual harvest and ingathering into the Church visible and

militant of that day of Pentecost was glorious and heart-reviving. The

thought of it is so still. It is still unique for one time, one place, and one

preaching. Yet these are but the clothing of circumstance; and perhaps

many a day since, the eye that surveys all, and sees everywhere at one and

the same time, may have witnessed equal proofs of the converting power

of Word and Spirit, the one spoken by the lip of man, the other teaching

that lip to speak.


42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and

fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Teaching for doctrine, Authorized Version; in the breaking for and in

breaking, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; the prayers for in prayer,

Authorized Version. And fellowship; better, as in the margin, in fellowship;

not meaning the apostles’ fellowship, but the fellowship of the Church —

that common life of close brotherhood in which all that they did was done

in common, and all that they possessed was possessed in common, so that

there seemed to be but one heart and one mind amongst them all.

Breaking of bread; in the Holy Eucharist (see Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22;

Luke 22:19; 24:30; I Corinthians 11:24; 10:16; here ch.20:7). The prayers;

the common prayers of the Church.



The First Practice of Baptism as a Christian Rite (vs. 38,41)


“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized… the Holy Ghost.”

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized… three thousand

souls.” The sun of the day of Pentecost did not set without marking the

moment of the inauguration of the rite of Christian baptism — a rite which

has never ceased to prove the occasion of stir and difference of opinion

down the history of the Church. Baptism, and the baptism of water, was of

course a familiar thing to the minds of the disciples of Jesus. It was in no

sense a novelty, for they had known it from the preaching and the practice

of John the Baptist. And with the original of even this there can be no

doubt the Jewish nation as such had long been acquainted. The rite,

however, unavoidably invests itself with fresh dignity and fresh significance

from the time that Jesus, in the interval between the Resurrection and

Ascension, and especially in His very parting words before the latter event,

enjoined His disciples to observe it, in the sense, not of submitting to it

themselves at the hands of one another, but of calling others to it and

administering it to them. They are expressly advised by Jesus that in their

own case it would be utterly superseded by the baptism of the Holy Ghost,

which the day of Pentecost was to bring, and which it now had brought.

“This beginning,” therefore, of baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ may

well attract most interested notice. It practically owned to certain objects

or requirements, whether more explicit or implicit in their character. And it

is our duty to study it in the appearances it then offered to view.






appeal to men was, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Now

the more permanent appeal has taken its place: “Repent, and be baptized in

the Name of Jesus Christ.”





the retirement of sacred shrine, or of more sacred closet, or of most sacred

heart alone, must the relationship be established. There were reasons why a

certain kind of notoriety should attend it. That notoriety might be expected

to have in it:


Ø      Some share of useful influence on the individual character of the

      person making profession.

Ø      Some helpful influence in the founding and holding together of the

                        Christian society.

Ø      Some tribute of grateful and willing acknowledgment to Him who

      once was put to “open shame.”





PURIFICATION. The indistinctness of prophecy that went before by

centuries, and the unequivocal distinctness of apostolic language in both

history and Epistle, give the description of washing, cleansing, purifying,

as the symbolic significance of the rite of baptism.





impossible, in the nature of the circumstances described in the history

before us, that even apostles, under the highest amount of inspiration,

could have done more than accept simply the profession of those who

offered themselves for baptism. The guarantee they took of the very

repentance which they urged and preached as the deepest matter in

question, was only that which belonged to the fact of the people’s

willingness and desire to be baptized. That was indeed a great and open

change of mind, or repentance, which brought the people to this point. It

seems impossible to imagine that baptism was now accepted as anything

but the very first step toward holiness of heart and life. Those who were

baptized did thus much — they “set their faces Zionward.” These are the

appearances that invest the first occasion of the observance or use of

baptism as a Christian rite. These appearances by themselves scarcely

amount to the assertion of a permanent institution; and they can scarcely be

accounted as speaking with authority the subjects, or the convictions, or

the methods of its administration for all time and all circumstances, even

upon the supposition of its permanent obligation. They are not, therefore,

the less interesting; nay, they may kindle keener and more observant

inquiry. But they need such inquiry, and they must be interpreted under the

light of Christ’s ascending commission to His disciples, of obedience to

which this is the first possible occasion, and in the light of the succeeding

history of Christ’s followers during the apostolic period. At present

baptism may be said to hold the place of an initiatory rite. Through that

first Christian baptism three thousand persons were introduced into the

ranks of those who believed in Christ as the Messiah, and who were

prepared to become learners in His school, and to put in practice (as was

immediately seen) His principles. They no longer are of those who believe

in sacrifices and ceremonial observances innumerable for “the remission of

sins,” but “in the Name of Jesus Christ.” And they are introduced within

the covenant of promise — that covenant the abiding promise to which

was “the gift of the Holy Ghost.”




The First Practice of Baptism as a Christian Rite (vs. 38,41)


“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized… the Holy Ghost.”

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized… three thousand

souls.” The sun of the day of Pentecost did not set without marking the

moment of the inauguration of the rite of Christian baptism — a rite which

has never ceased to prove the occasion of stir and difference of opinion

down the history of the Church. Baptism, and the baptism of water, was of

course a familiar thing to the minds of the disciples of Jesus. It was in no

sense a novelty, for they had known it from the preaching and the practice

of John the Baptist. And with the original of even this there can be no

doubt the Jewish nation as such had long been acquainted. The rite,

however, unavoidably invests itself with fresh dignity and fresh significance

from the time that Jesus, in the interval between the Resurrection and

Ascension, and especially in His very parting words before the latter event,

enjoined His disciples to observe it, in the sense, not of submitting to it

themselves at the hands of one another, but of calling others to it and

administering it to them. They are expressly advised by Jesus that in their

own case it would be utterly superseded by the baptism of the Holy Ghost,

which the day of Pentecost was to bring, and which it now had brought.

“This beginning,” therefore, of baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ may

well attract most interested notice. It practically owned to certain objects

or requirements, whether more explicit or implicit in their character. And it

is our duty to study it in the appearances it then offered to view.






appeal to men was, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Now

the more permanent appeal has taken its place: “Repent, and be baptized in

the Name of Jesus Christ.”





the retirement of sacred shrine, or of more sacred closet, or of most sacred

heart alone, must the relationship be established. There were reasons why a

certain kind of notoriety should attend it. That notoriety might be expected

to have in it:


Ø      Some share of useful influence on the individual character of the

      person making profession.

Ø      Some helpful influence in the founding and holding together of the

                        Christian society.

Ø      Some tribute of grateful and willing acknowledgment to Him who

      once was put to “open shame.”





PURIFICATION. The indistinctness of prophecy that went before by

centuries, and the unequivocal distinctness of apostolic language in both

history and Epistle, give the description of washing, cleansing, purifying,

as the symbolic significance of the rite of baptism.





impossible, in the nature of the circumstances described in the history

before us, that even apostles, under the highest amount of inspiration,

could have done more than accept simply the profession of those who

offered themselves for baptism. The guarantee they took of the very

repentance which they urged and preached as the deepest matter in

question, was only that which belonged to the fact of the people’s

willingness and desire to be baptized. That was indeed a great and open

change of mind, or repentance, which brought the people to this point. It

seems impossible to imagine that baptism was now accepted as anything

but the very first step toward holiness of heart and life. Those who were

baptized did thus much — they “set their faces Zionward.” These are the

appearances that invest the first occasion of the observance or use of

baptism as a Christian rite. These appearances by themselves scarcely

amount to the assertion of a permanent institution; and they can scarcely be

accounted as speaking with authority the subjects, or the convictions, or

the methods of its administration for all time and all circumstances, even

upon the supposition of its permanent obligation. They are not, therefore,

the less interesting; nay, they may kindle keener and more observant

inquiry. But they need such inquiry, and they must be interpreted under the

light of Christ’s ascending commission to His disciples, of obedience to

which this is the first possible occasion, and in the light of the succeeding

history of Christ’s followers during the apostolic period. At present

baptism may be said to hold the place of an initiatory rite. Through that

first Christian baptism three thousand persons were introduced into the

ranks of those who believed in Christ as the Messiah, and who were

prepared to become learners in His school, and to put in practice (as was

immediately seen) His principles. They no longer are of those who believe

in sacrifices and ceremonial observances innumerable for “the remission of

sins,” but “in the Name of Jesus Christ.” And they are introduced within

the covenant of promise — that covenant the abiding promise to which

was “the gift of the Holy Ghost.”



The Beginning of Great Things (vs. 41-42)


“Then they that gladly received His word,” etc. Trace the instrumentality

from the shore of Lake Gennesaret, through the fall and restoration of

Peter, to the day of Pentecost. One man standing up in that multitude

endowed with spiritual gifts — with the proclamation of the gospel, or the

sling and stone with which to conquer.




Ø      The victory over prejudice, indifference, fear — all the evil of heart and

life. Full-grown men — Jews. Jews of that degenerate age, in the midst

of anti-Christian influences, accepting a Word which condemned

themselves — which incited them to forsake their old life, and count

all things loss for Christ. Not only moved and partially changed, but

wholly converted; ready to be put, by baptism, into the new life

opened to them.


Ø      The vastness of the work accomplished. Not here and there one, but

three thousand souls, which, as representatives of families and

connections, may be reckoned as at least twenty thousand. Scarcely

possible that every one should be individually solicited. The work

was spiritual, miraculous.  While there is much in the effect of

numbers — the rapid spread of a common sentiment by contact of

soul with soul, there is in the narrative no appearance of undue

excitement. We must regard the fact as specially ordained, that

there might be A MIGHTY IMPETUS given to the gospel at its

starting-point. Many of the three thousand would become

messengers to prepare the way of the Lord in heathen lands.


Ø      The signs of a new creation. In that multitude of converts there is no

chaotic confusion, but the order of a new world rising into view, in:


o       the leadership of apostles;

o       the fellowship;

o       the observance of the two  ordinances of baptism and the

      Lord’s Supper;

o       the recognition of  prayer as an expression of faith and

o       the dependence on the continual outpouring of

            THE HOLY SPIRIT!


The apostolic commencement of the Church must be the model to

which we continually refer for the corrections of those natural errors

of development which, if not so called back to the ideal of the

kingdom, will, by mixture with the world, destroy the fundamental

conception of Christianity.  (Is this not the major shortcoming of

our day?  CY – 2016)





Ø      Remark the entire simplicity and sincerity of the agents. Much of our

failure caused by mixing up mere human schemes and inventions with

the gospel. Danger of reactions. The Word was clearly, boldly, and fully

preached, with direct personal appeal to the conscience as well as to the



Ø      The steadfastness was the result of a continued use of the means of

grace — teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayers. We lose

many whom we reach with our word by not throwing round them

quickly the net of our Christian community and institutions.


Ø      A great lesson on the importance of waiting for God’s time, and being

ready to receive the Spirit. All mere got-up revivals result in failure.

God’s Spirit will Himself teach us how and when to expect the success.

Follow the leadings of Providence.


43 “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were

done by the apostles.” Fear came, etc. This seems to be spoken of the awe

which fell upon the whole people, and restrained them from interfering with the

disciples. Just as at the first settlement of Israel in the land of Canaan God

laid the fear of them and the dread of them upon all the land (Deuteronomy 11:25),

so now the fear engendered by the events on the day of Pentecost, by the signs and

wonders which followed and by the wonderful unity and holiness of the newborn

Church, so wrought upon every soul at Jerusalem that all enmity was paralyzed,

and the disciples had time to multiply and to consolidate and establish themselves

before the storm of persecution fell upon them.


44 “And all that believed were together, and had all things common;”

Were together (ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό - epi to auto – on the same place; see ch.1:15, note,

and above, v. 42). Had all things common. Just as the Transfiguration gave a

passing glimpse of the state of glory, so here we have a specimen of what

Christian love and unity in its perfection, and unchecked by contact with

the world without, would, and perhaps some day will, produce. But even at

Jerusalem this bright vision of a paradise on earth was soon troubled by the

earthly dissensions recorded in chapter 6; and the Christian community

received a timely lesson that things good in themselves are not always

practicable in an evil world, where sluggish virtues require the stimulants of

bodily wants to draw them out and strengthen them, and where hypocrisy

often claims the kindly offices which are due only to disciples indeed.



Early Impulses of Christian Disciples (vs. 41-44)


Estimate the fervor of feeling which those knew who had found the

Messiah; had found Him altogether more glorious, more spiritual, than their

highest thoughts had ever conceived, and actually felt the joy of

forgiveness from Him, and the inward witness of His sealing Spirit. It was a

time of rapture and intensity, in which all selfish thoughts would be easily

overcome, and the common joy bind all together in common bonds. In their

enthusiasm they expected the Lord Jesus to return at once, and therefore

they were so ready to resign even their worldly goods, and devote all that

they possessed to the use of the brethren. The custom of large numbers

living and eating together is familiar to Easterns, and may be illustrated by

the daily meals provided for the citizens of Sparta. Possibly the first

thought that came to the early disciples was that they might realize, in the

larger sphere, the state of things existing between Christ and His apostles

when He was in the flesh. Those apostles gave up their trades to be with

Christ, and he and they had lived together, and had “all things common.”

The company so gathered present the first model of a Church.

Circumstances soon modified the form of it; but we keep the essential idea

of it, which is this: common indebtedness to Christ, and devotion to him,

bring men together into a gracious sense of brotherhood and fellowship.

They recognize their ONENESS IN CHRIST!


  • THE IMPULSE TO FELLOWSHIP. (v. 42.) Or, to gather together.

The center of the gathering was naturally the apostolic company. A desire

to hear more about Christ was awakened, and the converts would not

separate. Staying hour after hour, there would arise the necessity for meals;

and though this may have been readily met on the first day, some order and

provision would be necessary as they kept together day after day. The

impulse to fellowship felt by those sharing common opinions and beliefs is

constantly recognized, and is the basis of all associations, clubs, and

societies of men. Those with the common opinions enjoy, and are benefited

by, each other’s fellowship. Therefore the apostle bids us “not forsake the

assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.”  (Hebrews 10:25)

Neglected fellowship is the sign of weakened impulse, failing “first love,”

(see Revelation 2:4) and inadequate impression of the great grace”

received in Christ Jesus.


  • THE IMPULSE TO SELF-SACRIFICE. Others were more thought of

than self. There was a general desire to imitate Christ by giving up for

others. This seems the idea in their “having all things common.” Under the

strong and general feeling of Christian charity, which sprang out of

Christian unity, men gave as freely as if what they had were not really their

own, but only held by them in trust for others. Practically, what was any

brother’s came to be the brethren’s; no man asserted his private

proprietorship, or said that “aught of the things that he possessed was his

own.”  (ch. 4:32)  The following points may be illustrated:


Ø      Community of goods is a dream. One which earnest and sentimental

philanthropists have dreamed over and over again.


Ø      Community of goods is an impossibility. Socialistic systems have

always broken down. If the community could be once established,

the disabilities of life and the different dispositions of men would

immediately introduce irregularities. Religious communisms have

generally rested, like the monastic orders, on an ascetic rather than

a social basis. The fanaticism of the German Anabaptists, indeed,

did not lack force, but it involved the ruin of society. Humanitarian

attempts to realize a voluntary communism, lacking a religious

motive, have broken down.


Ø      Community of goods is an extravagant assertion of a true and high

principle, viz. that whatsoever a man holds, he holds in trust, and

in trust for the service of others.


Ø      Community of goods is substantially realized in the Christian Church,

where, ideally, each seeks not his own but his brother’s good. There is

no real cure for diseased society except THE REGENERATION OF

THE INDIVIDUAL and the individual is regenerated when you have

substituted brotherly kindness for selfishness as the ruling motive or

ground of character.” Just in so far as any man takes in the peculiar

teaching of the gospel, such as the saving mercy of the Father in heaven,

our oneness in the incarnate Son, and the binding common life of the

Holy Ghost — to that extent he will cease to be a difficulty in the way

of social economics. He will help others as much, and grasp as little

for himself, as possible.”  We are to keep our hearts ever open to

the gracious and loving impulses of God’s Holy Spirit; and also

press the relation to an earnest life of charity, brotherhood, and

goodness which is found in keeping our first love.


45 “And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men,

as every man had need.”  They sold for sold, Authorized Version; all for all men,

Authorized Version; according as any for as every, Authorized Version.


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,” Day by day continuing steadfastly for they continuing daily,

Authorized Version; at home for from house to house, Authorized Version;

they did take their food for did eat their meat, Authorized Version. In the temple.

It is very remarkable that at this early age of the Church’s existence Christians did

not deem themselves separated from their Jewish brethren, or from the

Old Testament institutions. Christianity was but Judaism perfected; the gospel the

full blossoming of the Law. The first Christian Jews, therefore, did not

conceive of themselves as quitting the religion of their fathers, but rather

hoped that their whole nation would in a short time acknowledge JESUS TO

BE THE CHRIST!  Christian institutions, therefore — the prayers, the breaking

of bread, the prophesyings and speaking with tongues, and the apostolic

teachings — were supplemental to the temple service, not antagonistic to

it; and the church took the place rather of the synagogue than of the temple

(see ‘Dict. of Bible:’ “Synagogue”). At home. This version hardly

represents the true idea of the original; ; κατ οϊκον – kat oikon – according

to home represents the private Christian place of meeting, as contrasted with the

temple. The meaning is not that every disciple broke bread in his own house, but

that they broke bread at the house where the Christian assemblies were held, whether

one or more. We have already seen the Church gathered together “in an upper

room” (ch.1:13), in “one place,” in “a house” (vs. 1-2), and“together” (v. 44; see too

ch. 4:31); and we know that as the synagogue was called בֵּית תְפִּלָּה, house of prayer,

or בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת, the house of assemblage, so the Christian place of meeting was called

ὁ Κυριακὸς οῖκοςho Kuriakos oikos - the Lord’s house, whence the word “church.

(For breaking bread, see above, v. 42.) They did take their food. The link of

connection is the ἀγάπη – agapae - or love-feast, which formed an important part of

the κοινωνία – koinonia - fellowship, or common life, of the early Christians. The

whole description is a beautiful picture of Christian unity, piety, love, and joy.


47 “Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to

the church daily such as should be saved.”  To them day by day for to the Church

daily, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; those that were being saved for

such as should be saved, Authorized Version. Added to them day by day. The

Received Text has instead of τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ - tae ekklaesia – to the church, to

the out-called the words ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό -  epi to auto -, which in v. 1  are properly

rendered “in one place,” but do not seem to be rendered at all in the Revised Version

of this verse. In fact, they have no sense unless you construe them with

τοὺς σωζομένουςtous sozomenous – the ones being saved;  those who

escaped to the same place, i.e. to the Church. But it seems most probable

that the words ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό do really belong to ch.3:1, where they are found

in the Textus Receptus. If τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ (the church) does not properly belong

to the text (it is wanting in A, B, C, א, and many versions), then προσετίθει

 prosetithei – added - must be taken absolutely, as προσετέθησαν – prosetethaesan -  

were added - is in v. 41, the Church, or the disciples, being understood. Those that

were being saved. The exhortation in v. 40 was “Save yourselves from this crooked

generation.”  Those who were added to the Church were those who complied with

the exhortation, and escaped from complicity with their unbelieving countrymen.

They were the remnant that escaped.



God’s Work Amongst Men (v. 47)


“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

 This last verse of the chapter is connected with what goes before.

It is all a testimony to the Lord and His work. The prejudice against

the supernatural is best overcome by pointing to the facts of Christian

history and life. How could the Church have conquered the world unless

the Divine had been manifested specially in the human? The few verses

which describe the immediate sequel of the day of Pentecost is like an open

door into the new temple, which should take the place of the old. The

disciples clung to the building in Jerusalem, but they themselves were the

prophecy of a higher, spiritual edifice which should be filled with a greater

glory.  (“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy

priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

(I Peter 2:5)   The open secret of Christianity is the mingling together of

Divine power and human agency. Incarnation begins the Gospels, the day

of Pentecost the Acts. The Lord must add to the Church. The Church must

confess its own insufficiency, and seek the Lord. “Day by day” the addition

was made, day by day the blessing falls. Ask for it, individually and in




Effects of the Pentecostal Day (vs. 41-47)



were found receptive to the truth, so powerfully attested in word and deed,

and submitted to baptism.


  • PERSEVERANCE IN DISCIPLESHIP. That the conversion was

genuine is shown by their diligent attention to the apostolic instruction, and

frequentation of the Christian society. Perhaps no better tests of genuine

change can be found. The breaking of bread and the prayers stand for the

regular ordinances of religion. The life that is of God will ever prove its

worth by becoming a social power, by seeking social nourishment and

common edification.



too, is symptomatic of an outpouring of the Divine Spirit. It is not without

reason we speak of the general “tone of society.” When and wherever the

Church is really alive unto God, and Christians have received an unction

from the Holy One, public and private life feels the influence; the

newspapers, books, gossip, turn upon serious matters; and the scoffer is




Wonders and signs by the agency of the apostles; in other words,

indications of the Divine presence with chosen men, intimating special

meanings directing to moral ends. But the occasional ever rests upon the

constant and permanent. The wonderful ever serves to direct attention to

the regular and the common. We should forget the beneficent law of

spiritual things, did not special interruptions arouse us from the stolid

apathy of custom.


  • A NEW MODE OF LIFE INTRODUCED. There was a deep sense of

unity, and consequently delight in fellowship. They met together; they

instinctively sought a perfect equality with one another. To carry this out

involved in many instances, doubtless, great personal sacrifices — the

parting with personal property and distribution to the needy. It was the

best proof of love that could be given, and the best of sincerity. Usually the

instinct for property is the last thing to go beneath the gracious expulsive

power of Divine love. They were striving after the brightest ideal of life

that Christian love can dream of; to make “all men’s good each man’s

rule.” A joyous religion inspired this conduct. The temple became again

what it was designed in idea to be — the house of the Father and the home

of man. By that sacred hearth there was for a time a bright, visible picture

of the spiritual reunion between God and man. They “sat at feast, enjoying

each the other’s good,” because all conscious of partaking of the bread of

God. Joy broke into thanksgiving, and the dark shadows of mutual envy

were dispersed. Finally, this life of the new Christian community became an

irresistible center of attraction; and daily men “in the way of salvation”

were added to the Church. This episode is a type in history of the power

and effect of the gospel. That life could not continue at this ideal height

only reminds us that the actual world presents irresistible obstacles to the

attainment of our best wishes. That it was manifested, though but for a

short time, proves the direction of love, and is prophetic of its final

dominion in the life of mankind.



Holy Baptism (vs. 37-47)


As the sermon preached by Peter on the day of Pentecost was the first

sermon preached in the Church of God, so the baptism of which we have

here an account was the first ministration of that sacrament. Our Lord’s

last command to His apostles was, “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing

them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”

(Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; ch.1:5), and now for the first time that command

was carried out. A few points of special interest and importance are brought out

in the narrative of this first Christian baptism.



preaches the Word with power, the hearers are pricked in their heart, and

by his direction they are baptized, and so put in possession of the promised

salvation. In like manner, in Mark 16:16, faith comes by hearing the

gospel preached, and baptism is the complement of faith. The first baptism

of Gentile believers — that recorded in ch.10:48 — was the fruit of

Peter’s sermon to the house of Cornelius.


  • ITS DISTINCTIVE FEATURE as the “one baptism for the remission

of sins.” So Ananias said to Saul, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away

thy sins” (ch. 22:16). And Paul teaches that we are baptized into

the death of Christ, and so are freed from sin. And so in the Baptismal

Service we pray that the water may be sanctified to the mystical washing

away of sin, and that those who come to it may receive remission of their

sins; and Peter speaks of those who turn away from the holy

commandment delivered unto them as having forgotten that they were

“purged from their old sins” (II Peter 1:9). The clement of water points

distinctly to this characteristic feature of the sacrament of baptism, as

appears in the prophecy of Ezekiel, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon

you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols,

will I cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25).



PART OF THE BAPTIZED, as it is written, “Repent ye, and be baptized

every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ,” where repentance is

expressly named, and faith is necessarily implied in the phrase, being

baptized “in the Name of Jesus Christ.” And this is exactly the teaching of

the Church in the Catechism, where the answer to the question, “What is

required of persons to be baptized?” is, “Repentance, whereby they forsake

sin; and faith, whereby they steadfastly believe the promises of God made

to them in that sacrament.”




THEM, have been baptized into Christ, viz. the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“Repent, and be baptized… and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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.” Upon this promise we

shall all do well to fix our thoughts, and to put in our own individual claim

to its fulfillment. To have THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD dwelling in us is

our birthright, as we are Christ’s. Our common likeness to Christ as the Head

of the Christian family depends upon our possession of the portion of the

one Spirit which is given to all that are Christ’s. He is the Fountain of all

true wisdom, holiness, and love in man; and the great Christian rite of

baptism is manifestly incomplete unless we actually possess the great gift

which is promised to us in that sacrament. We shall have read in vain the

inspired history of the first Christian baptism on the day of Pentecost, when

the gift of the Holy Ghost to the newly baptized was surrounded with such

striking incidents, and its connection with holy baptism was made so visible

and apparent, if we disconnect in our own thoughts the grace of baptism

with such an actual indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts as shall make

us holy in thought, word, and deed. Rather this striking and, one may say,

awful narrative should fall upon the ear of the whole Church as a message

to urge us who are “afar off” to be at one with those who were “near,” in

surrendering ourselves to the Holy Ghost to dwell among us and in us as in

the holy temple of God.



Spiritual Fervor (vs. 41-47)


The Pentecostal outpouring was more than a mere flashing forth of Divine

energy, suddenly emitted and immediately withdrawn; it was the

communication of Divine power which remained in the Church and

resulted in lasting spiritual fervor. This fervor, no doubt, took certain

exceptional and temporary forms.


1. There were miracles wrought by the apostles (v. 43).

2. There was a community of goods (vs. 44-45), which was so far from

being permanent and general, that it only lasted for a short time in the

one Church at Jerusalem.

3. There was daily temple-worship, necessarily restricted both as to time

and place (v. 46). But though there were these peculiar and exceptional

features, there was much in the spiritual fervor of those earliest days which

belongs to every age of the Christian Church.



sever this passage from all that precedes, but remember that this

remarkable manifestation of sacred feeling was the outcome of Divine

influence. It was the gift of the Holy Ghost, descending upon the Church in

copious streams of sacred power, which brought forth these abounding

signs of spiritual life. All life in the soul of man is “born from above.”

Whatever looks like it, in the shape of extraordinary activity or intense

feeling, which is not awakened by the Spirit of God, is but the semblance

and show of it, and is not the vital thing itself.




Ø      In open declaration of faith in Christ: “They that gladly received his

            word were baptized” (v. 41).


Ø      In attachment to saving truth: “They continued steadfastly in the

            apostles’ doctrine” (v. 42). Souls in earnest will not leave the truth by

            which they have been led to God to wander in byways of unsatisfying

            human fancies; still less to go off into the high-road of error.


Ø      In fellowship: with man, and also with God (vs. 42, 44, 46). The

            disciples “continued in fellowship, and in breaking of bread;” they

            “were together;” they “continued with one accord in breaking bread.”

            Here was:


o       human fellowship — the cordial, frequent associating one