The charge of drunkenness gave Peter the opportunity to explain what was happening. In his speech, the apostle first pointed to Scripture (Acts 2:16-21), describing the outpouring of the Spirit as the fulfillment of prophecy.
Joel’s prophecy was about the future age of salvation (Joel 2:32), which would be characterized by several signs in the natural world and a lavish outpouring of the Spirit (Joel 2:28-31). By interpreting the Pentecost event in light of such prophecy, Peter intended to stress the historical relevance of that moment. But there is an important difference in the way he quotes Joel. Instead of Joel’s introductory “afterward” (Joel 2:28), which pointed quite generally to the future, Peter said “in the last days” (Acts 2:17), indicating that the final act in the great drama of salvation had just begun. This is not, of course, a full description of last-day events but an evidence of the high sense of urgency that distinguished the early church. They did not know when the end would come but were convinced it would not take long.
Read Acts 2:22-32. What was the main point in Peter’s presentation of the gospel?
After highlighting the prophetic significance of Pentecost, Peter turned to the recent events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It is the resurrection, however, that received greater emphasis, as it represented the decisive factor in the gospel story. For Peter, the resurrection was the ultimate vindication of Jesus (Acts 2:22, Acts 2:27), and he quoted Scripture to help make his point about the meaning of the resurrection.
Because Jesus was the Messiah, He could not be detained by death. So for Peter and for all the writers of the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus had become powerful evidence, not only of Jesus as the Messiah but for the whole Christian message of salvation.
|With death all around us, always threatening us or our loved ones, why is the resurrection of Jesus such an important truth?|