Luke begins the book of The Acts of the Apostles by addressing Theophilus again. He summarizes what he had told him in “the first book” — the Gospel of Luke, emphasizing the charge Jesus had given to the apostles after his resurrection, and the fact that He spent 40 days speaking with them about the kingdom of God. He also made a point to say that Jesus provided “many proofs” during that time. It was an important point, and one that Paul also stressed at times (1 Corinthians 15:5-7). Peter also said plainly that they were “eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
He further told Theophilus that Jesus had ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, “which you heard from me.” It was in Luke 24:49 that Jesus said “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you ware clothed with power from on high.” Here, he says “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” It is that baptism which will ensure that Jesus’ apostles have all of the knowledge they need to grow the Lord’s church.
On the day of Pentecost, the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began speaking in “tongues” – not gibberish, but languages that people who spoke such would understand. Then Peter preached the first Gospel sermon, telling them who Jesus was, and how they were guilty in His death.
Verse 37 says that when they heard this they were “cut to the heart.” How many of them, one might wonder, had been among the frenzied crowd that was calling out “Crucify Him” just about 50 days earlier? So they asked Peter and the other eleven apostles what they should do. Peter’s answer in Acts 2:38 may be the most important verse in the this whole book:
Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
But Peter made certain that they knew that this was not just a “good idea,” considering what had been done to the Lord. It was not something that just a few of them — the ones who may have been among that mob mentioned above. And it was not just a passing ritual to be done for now, but meaning no urgency for times to come. Quite the contrary, Peter’s next words sealed it as the promise of the path to salvation for all to come, as he said in verse 39:
For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.
About three thousand of them were baptized then, as the church immediately took hold. Now, this number has brought about some criticism from skeptics, of course, saying that 12 men could not have baptized so many. But of course, Jesus’ other disciples would have been baptized already, and would be there to help. God’s will would be done. I suppose that as a number of these were baptized, several of them joined in completing the task with those who remained, as well.
Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.