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ACTS - In the Triumphal Procession of Christ
Studies in the Acts of the Apostles
PART 1 - The Foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Syria - Under the Patronage of the Apostle Peter, Guided by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1 - 12)
A - The Growth and Development of the Early Church in Jerusalem (Acts 1 - 7)

6. Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36)

ACTS 2:22-23
22 Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know, 23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed;

The Holy Spirit does not emphasize Himself, but glorifies Christ. God is not selfish, for He is love. Each Person of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Spirit, loves the other, and leads us to the other. The Son glorifies the Father, and the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son. As the Son sent the Spirit to implement salvation, so the Father gave to His Son all authority in heaven and on earth. He who desires the knowledge of God must look intently at the love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for God is love, and His union continues in love.

Peter did not speak long about the truth of the outpouring of the blessed Spirit, for he soon turned his testimony to the person of Jesus Christ. The picture of their Lord, who had sacrificed Himself and arose from the tomb early Sunday morning, filled the disciples’ subconscious minds. They prayed, reflected on these things, looked into prophecy, and came to a manifest understanding. Peter portrayed Jesus of Nazareth to his hearers so that they might comprehend the reason for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The speaker sensed, at the bottom of his heart, how the Holy Spirit was opposing the sin of the Jews, who had rejected Jesus and killed Him. Peter could not comfort his hearers with beautiful words and promised blessings. First, he had to declare to them that they were criminals. Yet he did not reveal this truth to them violently or harshly. He made them clear of their sin gradually; in a language of love he led them to recognize completely their crime. It is observable that at the beginning of his speech he did not use the title “Christ”, or “the Son of God”, but called Jesus “the Man of God”. He desired that the Jews continue listening to him and not boil over immediately.

Peter breathed deeply, for the next part of his speech demanded attentive listening and true understanding. He said, “You all know Jesus of Nazareth. This man was supported by God with more signs and miracles than any other prophet before or after Him. He raised the dead, cast out demons, forgave sins, satisfied five thousand hungry people using only five loaves, and stilled the furious storm. These wonderful miracles were not acts of man, but of God. The Man Jesus lived in such full harmony with the will of the Most High that the Almighty worked through Him. As such, the power of heaven began to spread out on earth. Christ did not work separately or apart from God, His Father. He was so one with Him that the Holy One could carry out His will completely through Him. It was just as Jesus had said: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

It is strange that the Jews refused the One who had the power and authority of God. Peter did not say that the chief priests or the members of the Sanhedrim were responsible for refusing Jesus, but that his hearers were at fault. They had been afraid of their leaders, and therefore had kept away from Jesus of Nazareth and did not defend Him. Some of them had taken part in the crying out: “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Peter stabbed their hearts with the courage of the Holy Spirit, saying to them: “You yourselves killed this Man who was commissioned by God, not by ordinary stoning, but by delivering him to the heathen Romans. You crucified Him through them. This signifies double shame.” Peter did not speak to his hearers about robbery, lying, or impurity, but made apparent that their attitude toward Jesus made them disobedient, blind, and ignorant enemies of God. This sermon of Peter did not signify the condemnation of the Holy Spirit. It did, however, condemn every lawless deed and uncover every evil attitude toward God, as seen in man´s disobedience and enmity.

God, however, did not lose the battle, in spite of Christ’s crucifixion, but completed the salvation He offers in His foreknowledge. In spite of the shocking crime He freely declared His love. No one can hinder God’s plan. The Holy One was determined to redeem the world, knowing that this could only be done by His Son’s sacrifice at the hands of disobedient sinners. The cross is the triumph of God’s foreknowledge and the banner of His inconceivably great love for the world. This predetermination of God, however, did not signify an indulgence of the Almighty toward the Jews, for with all intensity the Holy Spirit had said through Peter: “You are the murderers, killers, and enemies of God.”

How great was the difference between the beginning and the end of Peter´s speech! First, the apostles had stood with great joy in the Holy Spirit, praising and thanking God abundantly. Then, the Holy Spirit had led Peter to severely condemn the hearers’ hearts. The love of God is not soft or superficial, but holy and true.

PRAYER: O Holy Father, we thank You that You gave Your only Son to shamefully die for us. We killed Him with our malice and stubbornness. Forgive us our sins, and sanctify us completely by the Spirit of Your magnificent love.


  1. Why did Peter have to tell the Jews that they were Jesus’ murderers?


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