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 supposed, 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 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 will 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;
Our title comes from a question asked as a the result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The crowd was perplexed by these Galileans, considered uncouth and ignorant by others, but who were speaking a number of other, intelligible tongues, understood by those who heard them. Some were amazed, but others made fun of it.
When this happened, Peter immediately stood up and began to explain what was happening. Just in passing, it seems that “tongues” aren’t an end in themselves. Indeed, Scripture tells us that, even if they are for today, not every believer will receive them, 1 Corinthians 12, though every believer has one or more gifts. Further, Scripture indicates that tongues are ultimately not for the believer at all, but for unbelievers, 1 Corinthians 14:21-22. There are a number of other things governing the “gifts of the Spirit,” but that’s another post.
Another thing: notice all the Scriptures Peter quoted. He didn’t talk about tradition or custom, or what others thought about all this. He didn’t take a poll or start a study group. He went directly to the Scriptures. That’s always the best place to begin: What does the Scripture say? Romans 4:3.
As soon as some began to mock, Peter raised his voice, v. 14, and began to explain what was going on. Remember, it is through the foolishness of preaching that is the means God chose to save people, 1 Corinthians 1:21 (KJV). Newer versions have it as the foolishness of the message preached. It doesn’t matter. Except through the power and grace of God, it’s all foolishness to the natural mind, 1 Corinthians 2:14.
So, the truth is, as Peter brought out, that these men weren’t drunk at all. After all, it was only 9 AM. Instead, it was a fulfillment of prophecy, vs. 17-21. He quotes from Joel 2:28-32, although he doesn’t finish the quotation. Joel refers to the ultimate salvation of Israel and it wasn’t yet time for that to happen.
Having explained the truth about what was happening, Peter seems to go off on a tangent. After all, what did the execution of a criminal, as He was believed to be, have to do with anything?
But this Man was no ordinary criminal. His was a life of miracles, wonders, and signs. These signs indicated that He was no ordinary Man, but rather that He was who He said He was, the Son of God and His life was attested by God.
I know that many skeptics and unbelievers deny any such thing, and some even deny that our Lord existed. As far as they, and for all practical purposes, much of the rest of the world, are concerned, Jesus of Nazareth is dead and gone. And if that truly is the story, then there is no hope for any of us.
I’m thankful that the truth is that He lives, as Peter goes on to say. Lord willing, we’ll look at this in our next post.