Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 2:37-42
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 2:37
v37: Thousands of those who were listening saw that what Peter said about the Messiah was true, and realized that they had directly or indirectly participated in His execution, and as a result they would someday stand before Him in judgment. Luke says they were “stabbed in the heart,” meaning a deep, troubling conviction came over them. They were filled with sorrow for what had happened in the past and fear for what lay ahead in the future. They called out to Peter, and the apostles standing with him, “Brethren, what can we do?” In other words, they were asking, “Is there a way for us to escape the wrath which will fall on us for doing such a thing?”

Monday: Acts 2:38
v38: Peter answered using terms with which they were all very familiar. For years John the Baptist had challenged the nation to, “Repent and let each of you be baptized” (Mk 1:4), and many had responded to his call and been baptized in the Jordan River (Mt 3:5, 6). But unlike John, Peter doesn’t warn them about “One who is coming” (Mk 1:7), he is announcing that the Messiah has already come. Having just quoted a passage from the prophet Joel which concludes with the words, “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (v21), Peter tells them that the Lord’s name is Jesus, and the way to “call upon” that name is to repent and be water baptized. He says if they do this they too will receive the same “gift of the Holy Spirit” which had been given to the disciples.

Tuesday: Acts 2:38
v38 (continued): English translations of this verse do not normally translate it literally because Peter uses a preposition which initially appears to make no sense. He tells them to be baptized upon Jesus’ name. Everywhere else people are said to be baptized “in” or “into” someone or someone’s name (Ac 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; Ro 6:3; 1Co 1:13, 15; 10:2; Gal 3:27). So his substitution of the word “upon” is confusing, until we recognize that he is deliberately echoing the wording found in Joel’s prophecy. Joel said, “…everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (v21). By telling his listeners to be baptized “upon” Jesus’ name, Peter is explaining that by being baptized they are calling upon Jesus to save them. Being symbolically buried in water (Ro 6:3, 4) is a God-ordained way of expressing repentance and calling on God for mercy (Ro 10:13). In effect, baptism serves as a spiritual statement, a cry for help, which is understood in heaven as clearly as words.

Wednesday: Acts 2:39
v39: He calls the gift of the Holy Spirit “the promise” referring to the Lord’s words when He told them to “wait for what the Father had promised” (Ac 1:4). Jesus had explained that the promise was that they would be “baptized in the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit would come to dwell inside believers. No longer would He simply be with or rest upon people in a temporary, limited way. The Messiah’s atonement would be so complete that the Spirit would be able to come inside and remain in a person (Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:25-27). And, Peter was saying that this promise, because of Jesus, was now available to every believer, regardless of age, location, Jew or Gentile, and would continue to be available to all future generations, as long as people were being saved.

Thursday: Acts 2:40
v40: Luke recorded only part of Peter’s sermon. He tells us that “…with many other words, beyond these, he (Peter) thoroughly testified (concerning Jesus) and exhorted them saying, ‘Be saved from this rebellious generation which has chosen to walk away from God’s true path.’” Peter warns his listeners that they are part of a “perverse” (lit: crooked, bent, winding) generation. The word which is generally translated as “perverse” pictures people wandering away from God’s path. They refuse to stay on His straight path of truth, choosing instead to walk crooked paths of deception. Even when Jesus Himself did miracles among them, most refused to repent and call on God for mercy. That generation was marked by extremes of lawlessness and legalism. Jesus told them that no matter who God sent they always found a reason to criticize the messenger and reject His appeal (Mt 11:16-19). They loved to watch miracles, but refused to reflect on their own spiritual condition (Mt 11:20-24). Jesus Himself called them an “unbelieving and perverted (lit: distorted, twisted in two) generation,” and had asked in exasperation, “…how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Mt 17:17).

Friday: Acts 2:41, 42
vs41-42: About 3,000 people responded to Peter’s message and were baptized. If indeed this gathering was held on or near the southern steps of the temple (see notes on Ac 2:14) there were many places nearby where people could be baptized. Water tanks which contained at least 35 gallons can still be seen in that area. These tanks, called “mikvehs” were used for ritual cleansing (Miriam Feinberg Vamosh, Daily Life at the Time of Jesus, Palphot Ltd., PO Box 2, Herzliya, Israel, pp 26, 27). Under certain circumstances people need to be ceremonially cleansed before entering the temple. That person would walk down one side of the steps, immerse themselves completely, and then walk back out on the other side of the steps. Between the very familiar experience of these ritual baths and the recent ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus (Jn 3:22, 23, 26; 4:1, 2), the crowd would have easily understood what Peter meant when he called them to be baptized, and as we’ve noted, there was plenty of water available for them to line up to be baptized immediately.

Saturday: Acts 2:41, 42
vs41-42 (continued): From the very first day of its existence, the church numbered in the multiple thousands, and Luke explains how so many were cared for. He says they continually and energetically gathered in two different settings. First there was a large public assembly held in the temple courtyard in the shade of the Portico of Solomon (Ac 5:12). It was a daily gathering which drew many onlookers, and was the place where the apostles had the opportunity to speak to everyone at once. Undoubtedly they related memories of what Jesus said and did, and taught the passages of Scripture which He had explained to them. They also prayed for the sick and cast out demons just as Jesus had done in that same courtyard. In other words, they simply continued His ministry. This was also where much evangelism took place (Ac 5:14). But as we read on in the Book of Acts we see this public gathering came under growing persecution by temple officials (Ac 4:1-3, 18-20; 5:17, 18, 40-42) until Stephen was stoned and open violence, led by Saul of Tarsus, drove them into hiding and caused many to flee Jerusalem (Ac 8:1-4).

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