Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost is a Jewish festival (Feast of Weeks) celebrating the first fruits of the wheat harvest (Exodus 34:22). Jewish men from all over the Middle East would make pilgrimage to Jerusalem to participate. This would be an ideal time to reach a maximally diverse group of Jews in one sermon! The fire that came probably symbolized God’s presence as it did at many other key moments in Israel’s history (Exodus 3:2-5; 14:24; 19:18 cp. Deuteronomy 4:24; Exodus 40:33-38; Leviticus 9:22-24; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3). Although being filled with the holy spirit was not new (see Exodus 31:1 and Micah 3:8), speaking in tongues was unique.
Acts 2:5-13 Pentecost momentarily reversed the confusion injected into humanity at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). We know that in the end, God “will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord” (Zephaniah 3:9). When interpreted by those who understood the languages, they summarized the tongues as “telling…the mighty works of God” (v11). People responded with confusion and incredulity.
Acts 2:14-21 Peter begins by answering the absurd claim of some that new wine was involved. Then he moves on to explain to the seekers what, in fact, speaking in tongues signified. He did this by drawing attention to a prophecy from Joel 2:28-32, which predicted the outpouring of the holy spirit. Several other end-times prophecies also mentioned God pouring out His spirit (Isaiah 32:14-18; 44:2-5; Ezekiel 36:24-28; 37:12-14). This outpouring of the spirit is happening right in their midst, and it’s available to everyone: men and women, young and old, slave and free. Acts 2:22-24 Now Peter starts into the substance of his message to his fellow Israelites. He asserts four claims: two of them accepted and two of them controversial. They already knew that Jesus was a miracle worker whom the Romans had crucified. However, Peter also wanted them to know that this crucifixion was planned by God and that later God had raised him from the dead.
Acts 2:25-32 In order to make the case for Jesus’ resurrection, Peter points to two reasons: (1) In Psalm 16:8-11, David prophesied about a descendant whom God would rescue from the grave, and (2) Peter and the other apostles were eye-witnesses of the resurrected Jesus.
Acts 2:33-35 Now Peter goes on to make his case that Jesus is now exalted to God’s right hand by pointing to two major pieces of evidence: (1) the prophecy of Psalm 110:1 and (2) what they had seen and heard.
Acts 2:36 This now is where everything had been driving the whole time. This is the conclusion, the denouement. God has made Jesus Lord and Messiah! What’s more, they had participated in his crucifixion.
Acts 2:37-40 The message sliced through the people like a hot knife through butter. They were overwhelmed with conviction and cried out for help. Peter told them they needed to (1) repent and (2) be baptized so that they could have forgiveness and receive the holy spirit for themselves.
Acts 2:41-47 Peter and the apostles didn’t ditch the people but welcomed them into their lives and did community together. They continued in the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. Furthermore, those who had surplus possessions voluntarily sold them with glad hearts and distributed their finances to those in need.
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