Descent of the Spirit—The Disciples Speak with Tongues—Amazement of the Multitude.
1-4. when the day of Pentecost was fully
come—The fiftieth from the morrow after the first Passover
sabbath (Le 23:15, 16).
with one accord—the solemnity of the
day, perhaps, unconsciously raising their expectations.
2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as
of a rushing mighty wind, &c.—"The whole description is
so picturesque and striking that it could only come from an
eye-witness" [Olshausen]. The
suddenness, strength, and diffusiveness of the sound strike with
deepest awe the whole company, and thus complete their preparation for
the heavenly gift. Wind was a familiar emblem of the Spirit (Eze
37:9; Joh 3:8; 20:22). But
this was not a rush of actual wind. It was only a sound "as of"
3. cloven tongues, like as of fire,
&c.—"disparted tongues," that is, tongue-shaped, flame-like
appearances, rising from a common center or root, and resting upon each
of that large company:—beautiful visible symbol of the burning
energy of the Spirit now descending in all His plenitude upon the
Church, and about to pour itself through every tongue, and over every
tribe of men under heaven!
4. they … began to speak with …
tongues, &c.—real, living languages, as is plain from
what follows. The thing uttered, probably the same by all, was "the
wonderful works of God," perhaps in the inspired words of the Old
Testament evangelical hymns; though it is next to certain that the
speakers themselves understood nothing of what they uttered (see on 1Co 14:1-25).
5-11. there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews,
devout men out of every nation—not, it would seem,
permanently settled there (see Ac 2:9), though the language seems to imply
more than a temporary visit to keep this one feast.
9-11. Parthians, &c.—Beginning with
the farthest east, the Parthians, the enumeration proceeds farther and
farther westward till it comes to Judea; next come the western
countries, from Cappadocia to Pamphylia; then the southern, from Egypt
to Cyrene; finally, apart from all geographical consideration, Cretes
and Arabians are placed together. This enumeration is evidently
designed to convey an impression of universality [Baumgarten].
Ac 2:14-36. Peter for the
First Time, Publicly Preaches
14-21. Peter, standing up with the
eleven—in advance, perhaps, of the rest.
15. these are not drunken—meaning, not
the Eleven, but the body of the disciples.
but the third hour—nine A.M. (see Ec 10:16; Isa 5:11; 1Th 5:17).
17. in the last days—meaning, the days
of the Messiah (Isa 2:2); as
closing all preparatory arrangements, and constituting the final
dispensation of God's kingdom on earth.
pour out of my Spirit—in contrast with
the mere drops of all preceding time.
upon all flesh—hitherto confined to
the seed of Abraham.
sons … daughters … young men …
old men … servants … handmaidens—without
distinction of sex, age, or rank.
see visions … dream dreams—This
is a mere accommodation to the ways in which the Spirit operated under
the ancient economy, when the prediction was delivered; for in the New
Testament, visions and dreams are rather the exception than the
19. I will show wonders,
&c.—referring to the signs which were to precede the
destruction of Jerusalem (see on Lu
21. whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord
shall be saved—This points to the permanent establishment of
the economy of salvation, which followed on the breaking up of the
22-28. a man approved of God—rather,
"authenticated," "proved," or "demonstrated to be from God."
by miracles … which God did by
him—This is not a low view of our Lord's miracles, as has
been alleged, nor inconsistent with Joh 2:11, but is in strict accordance with His
progress from humiliation to glory, and with His own words in Joh 5:19. This view of Christ is here dwelt
on to exhibit to the Jews the whole course of Jesus of Nazareth as the
ordinance and doing of the God of Israel [Alford].
23. determinate counsel and
foreknowledge—God's fixed plan and perfect foresight of all
the steps involved in it.
ye have taken, and by wicked hands have
crucified and slain—How strikingly is the criminality of
Christ's murderers here presented in harmony with the eternal purpose
to surrender Him into their hands!
24. was not possible he should be holden of
it—Glorious saying! It was indeed impossible that "the Living
One" should remain "among the dead" (Lu 24:5); but here, the impossibility seems to
refer to the prophetic assurance that He should not see corruption.
27. wilt not leave my soul in hell—in
its disembodied state (see on Lu 16:23).
neither … suffer thine Holy One to see
corruption—in the grave.
28. Thou hast made known to me the ways of
life—that is, resurrection-life.
thou shalt make me full of joy with thy
countenance—that is, in glory; as is plain from the whole
connection and the actual words of the sixteenth Psalm.
29-36. David … is … dead and
buried, &c.—Peter, full of the Holy Ghost, sees in this
sixteenth Psalm, one Holy Man, whose life of high devotedness and lofty
spirituality is crowned with the assurance, that though He taste of
death, He shall rise again without seeing corruption, and be admitted
to the bliss of God's immediate presence. Now as this was palpably
untrue of David, it could be meant only of One other, even of Him whom
David was taught to expect as the final Occupant of the throne of
Israel. (Those, therefore, and they are many, who take David himself to
be the subject of this Psalm, and the words quoted to refer to Christ
only in a more eminent sense, nullify the whole argument of the
apostle). The Psalm is then affirmed to have had its only proper
fulfilment in Jesus, of whose
resurrection and ascension they were witnesses, while the glorious
effusion of the Spirit by the hand of the ascended One, setting an
infallible seal upon all, was even then witnessed by the thousands who
stood listening to Him. A further illustration of Messiah's ascension
and session at God's right hand is drawn from Ps 110:1, in which David cannot be thought to
speak of himself, seeing he is still in his grave.
36. Therefore—that is, to sum up
let all the house of Israel—for in
this first discourse the appeal is formally made to the whole house of
Israel, as the then existing Kingdom of God.
know assuredly—by indisputable facts,
fulfilled predictions, and the seal of the Holy Ghost set upon all.
that God hath made—for Peter's object
was to show them that, instead of interfering with the arrangements of
the God of Israel, these events were His own high movements.
this same Jesus, whom ye have
crucified—"The sting is at the close" [Bengel]. To prove to them merely that Jesus was the
Messiah might have left them all unchanged in heart. But to convince
them that He whom they had crucified had been by the right hand of God
exalted, and constituted the "Lord" whom
David in spirit adored, to whom every knee shall bow, and the Christ of God, was to bring them to "look on
Him whom they had pierced and mourn for Him."
37-40. pricked in their hearts—the begun
fulfilment of Zec 12:10,
whose full accomplishment is reserved for the day when "all Israel
shall be saved" (see on Ro 11:26).
what shall we do?—This is that
beautiful spirit of genuine compunction and childlike docility, which,
discovering its whole past career to have been one frightful mistake,
seeks only to be set right for the future, be the change involved and
the sacrifices required what they may. So Saul of Tarsus (Ac 9:6).
38. Repent—The word denotes change of
mind, and here includes the reception of the Gospel as the proper
issue of that revolution of mind which they were then undergoing.
baptized … for the remission of
sins—as the visible seal of that remission.
39. For the promise—of the Holy Ghost,
through the risen Saviour, as the grand blessing of the new
all afar off—the Gentiles, as in Eph 2:17), but "to the Jew first."
40. with many other words did he testify and
exhort—Thus we have here but a summary of Peter's discourse;
though from the next words it would seem that only the more practical
parts, the home appeals, are omitted.
Save yourselves from this untoward
generation—as if Peter already foresaw the hopeless
impenitence of the nation at large, and would have his hearers hasten
in for themselves and secure their own salvation.
Ac 2:41-47. Beautiful
Beginnings of the Christian Church.
41-47. they that gladly received his word were
baptized—"It is difficult to say how three thousand could be
baptized in one day, according to the old practice of a complete
submersion; and the more as in Jerusalem there was no water at hand
except Kidron and a few pools. The difficulty can only be removed by
supposing that they already employed sprinkling, or baptized in houses
in large vessels. Formal submersion in rivers, or larger quantities of
water, probably took place only where the locality conveniently allowed
the same day there were added to them about
three thousand souls—fitting inauguration of the new kingdom,
as an economy of the Spirit!
42. continued steadfastly in—"attended
the apostles' doctrine—"teaching";
giving themselves up to the instructions which, in their raw state,
would be indispensable to the consolidation of the immense multitude
suddenly admitted to visible discipleship.
fellowship—in its largest sense.
breaking of bread—not certainly in the
Lord's Supper alone, but rather in frugal repasts taken together, with
which the Lord's Supper was probably conjoined until abuses and
persecution led to the discontinuance of the common meal.
prayers—probably, stated seasons of
43. fear came upon every soul—A deep awe
rested upon the whole community.
44. all that believed were together, and had all
things common—(See on Ac 4:34-37).
46. daily … in the
temple—observing the hours of Jewish worship.
and breaking bread from house to
house—rather, "at home" (Margin), that is, in
private, as contrasted with their temple-worship, but in
some stated place or places of meeting.
eat their meat with
and singleness of heart.
47. Praising God—"Go thy way, eat thy
bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart, for God now
accepteth thy works" (Ec 9:7, also
see on Ac 8:39).
having favour with all the
people—commending themselves by their lovely demeanor to the
admiration of all who observed them.
And the Lord—that is, Jesus, as the glorified Head and Ruler of the
added—kept adding; that is, to the
visible community of believers, though the words "to the Church" are
wanting in the most ancient manuscripts.
such as should be saved—rather, "the
saved," or "those who were being saved." "The young Church had but few
peculiarities in its outward form, or even in its doctrine: the single
discriminating principle of its few members was that they all
recognized the crucified Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. This
confession would have been a thing of no importance, if it had only
presented itself as a naked declaration, and would never in such a case
have been able to form a community that would spread itself over the
whole Roman empire. It acquired its value only through the power of the
Holy Ghost, passing from the apostles as they preached to the hearers;
for He brought the confession from the very hearts of men (1Co 12:3), and like a burning flame made their
souls glow with love. By the power of this Spirit, therefore, we behold
the first Christians not only in a state of active fellowship, but also
internally changed: the narrow views of the natural man are broken
through; they have their possessions in common, and they regard
themselves as one family" [Olshausen].