Acts 2:14-36 – The First Gospel Sermon Of The Christian Dispensation

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Acts 2:14-36 – The First Gospel Sermon Of The Christian Dispensation


The year was 1491 B.C. God instructed the Jews, while they were in the Egyptian desert, that there were three major feasts in which all males of Israel were required to observe. Those feasts were: “Unleavened Bread; Pentecost (Harvest or Weeks); and Tabernacles (Booths or Ingathering).”The future location where those feasts would be observed would the temple in Jerusalem. (Exodus 23:14-10; Leviticus Chapter 23, and Deuteronomy 16:1-16) (MacArthur Study Bible Chart Leviticus 23).

In 722 B.C., the Jews of Samaria, (the northern kingdom) were captured and taken away by Assyria’s King Shalmaneser to exile in Assyria (2 Kings 17:6, Ryrie Study Bible). As a recognizable group, the Jews of Samaria never returned to their homeland. From 597 B.C. to 586 B.C., through three deportations, the Jews in Judah (the southern kingdom) were taken captive to Babylon by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:1-11, 21; 2 Chronicles 36:1-21) The Jews from Judah were kept in exile for 70 years (2 Chronicles 36:21; Ezra 3:8) (Ryrie Study Bible). Ezekiel 36:24-28 tells us that dispersed Jews who are still living around the world at the time of the end of the tribulation, who are known as “true Israel,” will be spiritually transported back to their homeland. (Matthew 24:29-31, ‘Israel is the elect.’ Deuteronomy 7:6; Romans 2:28-29; 6:6-7)

In Acts 2:5-11, per Exodus 23:16, Leviticus 23, and Deuteronomy 16:10,16, local Jews, and Jews from all of the dispersed lands had returned to Jerusalem for the observance of the Feast Of Pentecost, also known as the feast of Harvest and Weeks (Ryrie Study Bible). Even during the diaspora, dispersed Jews would return to Jerusalem to celebrate the three designated feasts (Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Tabernacles). The miracle of Pentecost is shown in Acts 2:11, “we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” It is important to know that this occurrence was a miracle of understanding unknown languages. This interpretation is similar to the United Nations where one speaker’s words are made understandable to all of the attendees regardless of their nationalities.

It was since 722 B.C. that the dispersed Jews were living in lands of people who spoke languages that were not Hebrew. The Greek Empire lasted from approximately 336 B.C. until 146 B.C. It was during that time that the Jews “were sucked into the Greek culture,” per Judaism Online:


Also, it was during the times of the four world empires of “Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome” (Daniel 7:4-7) that the Jews were living in the lands of other cultures and were subject to those cultures, and oppressive actions, and attitudes toward the Jews.

On this Day of Pentecost, all of the Jews who were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, “heard them speak in his own language” (vs 6). The Pentecost Jews heard the disciple Jews speaking in the upper room (vs 13), 120 in number, including 12 Apostles (vs 15) speaking in their Galilean dialect (vs 7) to at least 3,000 Pentecost Jews (2:41) who were from many far-away lands; “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?” (vs 8).

This discussion on “tongues” is not in the same in this chapter context as that of the discussion on spiritual gifts in Romans 12, and 1 Corinthians 12-14. The teaching here is that 120 Galileans spoke in their own Galilean language, and that more than 3,000 Passover Jews, of other languages, could hear the 120 disciples speaking words that were understandable to the Passover Jews.

It is important to know that many Jews who had been dispersed to foreign lands, many of which were far away from Jerusalem, had forgotten how to speak their native Hebrew language. They had learned to speak other languages, including Aramaic and Greek. When Saul (Apostle Paul) received the heavenly message from the risen Christ, Saul heard the words of our Lord in Aramaic, which was the common tongue of the first century Jew (Scofield Study Bible, MacArthur Study Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Acts 26:14). It is also important to know that the New Testament was written in the Greek language. Can we not say that “Divine” intervention was involved in choosing the Greek language for the writing of the New Testament? The preciseness of the Greek language provides us with the words for the New Testament that are far superior to those of any other language.

Consider the sermon that the Apostle Peter preached to the Jews who were present in Jerusalem. Consider the effectiveness of God’s Holy Spirit, in that one hundred and twenty Jews, who were born again believers in Christ, had devoted themselves to prayer for a period of ten days, from the time of the ascension of Christ into Heaven until the Day of Pentecost. Consider that God’s Holy Spirit led the Apostles to appoint a successor to replace Judas Iscariot during that ten-day period. Also, consider that at the end of Peter’s sermon to the Pentecost observing Jews, three thousand Jews believed in Christ as their Lord and Savior, and were Baptized (immersed) as a sign of their belief in Christ as their Lord and Savior (Acts 2:41-43)

Lesson Series – The Acts Of The Holy Spirit

Study Text

Acts 2:14-36

Peter’s Sermon

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,

For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Study Notes

The following study notes come from the MacArthur Study Bible, and are provided by

Acts 2:14-36

2:14–40 After the Holy Spirit’s arrival, the first major event of church history was Peter’s sermon, which led to 3,000 conversions and established the church (vv. 41–47).
2:14 with the eleven. This number of the apostles included the newly-appointed Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot (see notes on 1:23, 24).
2:15 the third hour. Calculated in Jewish fashion from sunrise, this was 9:00 a.m.
2:16–21 See Introduction to Joel: Interpretive Challenges; see notes on Joel 2:28–32. Joel’s prophecy will not be completely fulfilled until the millennial kingdom. But Peter, by using it, shows that Pentecost was a pre-fulfillment, a taste of what will happen in the millennial kingdom when the Spirit is poured out on all flesh (cf. 10:45).
2:17 last days. This phrase refers to the present era of redemptive history from the first coming of Christ (Heb. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:20; 1 John 2:18) to His return. My Spirit. See notes on 1:2, 5, 8. all flesh. This indicates all people will receive the Holy Spirit, because everyone who enters the millennial kingdom will be redeemed (cf. Matt. 24:29—25:46; Rev. 20:4–6). visions…dreams. Dreams (Gen. 20:3; Dan. 7:1) and visions (Gen. 15:1; Rev. 9:17) were some of God’s most memorable means of revelation since they were pictorial in nature. While they were not limited to believers (e.g., Abimelech, Gen. 20:3 and Pharaoh, Gen. 41:1–8), they were primarily reserved for prophets and apostles (cf. Num. 12:6). While frequent in the OT, they were rare in the NT. In Acts, most of God’s visions were associated with either Peter (chaps. 10, 11) or Paul (chaps. 9, 18; cf. 2 Cor. 12:1). Most frequently they were used to reveal apocalyptic imagery (cf. Ezek., Dan., Zech., Rev.). They were not considered normal in biblical times, nor should they be so now. The time will come, however, when God will use visions and dreams during the Tribulation period as predicted by Joel 2:28–32.
2:18 prophesy. The proclamation of God’s truth will be pervasive in the millennial kingdom.
2:19 wonders…signs. Cf. 4:30; 5:12; 14:3; 15:12. “Wonders” is the amazement people experience when witnessing supernatural works (miracles). “Signs” point to the power of God behind miracles—marvels have no value unless they point to God and His truth. Such works were often done by the Holy Spirit through the apostles (5:12–16) and their associates (6:8) to authenticate them as the messengers of God’s truth. Cf. 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3, 4. Blood…fire…vapor of smoke. These phenomena are all connected with events surrounding Christ’s second coming and signal the establishment of the earthly kingdom: blood (Rev. 6:8; 8:7, 8; 9:15; 14:20; 16:3); fire (Rev. 8:5, 7, 8, 10); and smoke (Rev. 9:2, 3, 17, 18; 18:9, 18).
2:20 sun…darkness…moon into blood. Cf. Matt. 24:29, 30; see note on Rev. 6:12. day of the Lord. See Introduction to Joel: Interpretive Challenges; see note on 1 Thess. 5:2. This Day of the Lord will come with the return of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2; Rev. 19:11–15).
2:21 whoever calls. Up to that hour of judgment and wrath, any who turn to Christ as Lord and Savior will be saved (see notes on Rom. 10:10–13).
2:22–36 Here is the main body of Peter’s sermon, in which he presented and defended Jesus Christ as Israel’s Messiah.
2:22 Jesus of Nazareth. The humble name that often identified the Lord during His earthly ministry (Matt. 21:11; Mark 10:47; Luke 24:19; John 18:5). attested…by miracles, wonders, and signs. By a variety of supernatural means and works, God validated Jesus as the Messiah (cf. Matt. 11:1–6; Luke 7:20–23; John 3:2; 5:17–20; 8:28; Phil. 2:9; see notes on 1:3; 2:19).
2:23 by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God. From eternity past (2 Tim. 1:9; Rev. 13:8) God predetermined that Jesus would die an atoning death as part of His pre-ordained plan (4:27, 28; 13:27–29). lawless hands, have crucified. An indictment against “men of Israel” (v. 22), those unbelieving Jews who instigated Jesus’ death, which was carried out by the Romans. That the crucifixion was predetermined by God does not absolve the guilt of those who caused it.
2:24 not possible. Because of His divine power (John 11:25; Heb. 2:14) and God’s promise and purpose (Luke 24:46; John 2:18–22; 1 Cor. 15:16–26), death could not keep Jesus in the grave.
2:25–28 David says. The Lord was speaking of His resurrection prophetically through David (see note on Ps. 16:10).
2:27 Hades. Cf. v. 31; see note on Luke 16:23. The NT equivalent of the OT grave or “sheol.” Though sometimes it identifies hell (Matt. 11:23), here it refers to the general place of the dead.
2:29 his tomb is with us. A reminder to the Jews that David’s body had never been raised, so he could not be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Ps. 16.
2:30–32 Peter exposits the meaning of Ps. 16 as referring not to David, but to Jesus Christ. He would be raised to reign (v. 30; cf. Pss. 2:1–9; 89:3).
2:30 being a prophet. Peter quoted Ps. 132:11. As God’s spokesman, David knew that God would keep His oath (2 Sam. 7:11–16) and Christ would come.
2:31 Peter quoted Ps. 16:10.
2:32 God has raised up. Cf. v. 24; 10:40; 17:31; 1 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 1:20. That He did so attests to His approval of Christ’s work on the cross. we are all witnesses. The early preachers preached the resurrection (3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 34, 37; 17:31).
2:33 After Jesus was risen and ascended, God’s promise to send the Holy Spirit was fulfilled (cf. John 7:39; Gal. 3:14) and manifest that day. exalted to the right hand of God. See note on 7:55.
2:34 The Lord said to my Lord. Peter quoted another psalm (Ps. 110:1) concerning the exaltation of Messiah by ascension to the right hand of God, and reminds the reader that it was not fulfilled by David (as bodily resurrection had not yet been; see note on v. 29), but by Jesus Christ (v. 36). Peter had been an eyewitness to that ascension (1:9–11)
2:36 Peter summarizes his sermon with a powerful statement of certainty: The OT prophecies of resurrection and exaltation provide evidence that overwhelmingly points to the crucified Jesus as the Messiah. both Lord and Christ. Jesus is God as well as anointed Messiah (cf. Rom. 1:4; 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:9, 11).

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The scripture text was taken from

The translation of the text is from The New King James Version.

Unless otherwise noted, scripture notes were taken from The MacArthur Study Bible notes that are contained in

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