Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ | Acts 2:38-47

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

Commentary: Peter continues to address the apostles and disciples, in which he tells the multitude standing there to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins in the Name of Jesus Christ. Now, Jesus told the apostles right before He ascended (see Acts 1:5) that it would not be water baptism they would receive; however, they would receive a different and new type of baptism, which could be of the Holy Ghost.

Since there were about 3,000 people saved during this encounter, it is highly unlikely (especially in the upper chamber) to have water to do it, and to be able to baptize that many people – all on the day of Pentecost. Therefore, many people were saved and baptized of the Holy Ghost, because they expressed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Those who were saved continue to learn from the apostles, and fellowshipped with them often. The brethren gathered in each others’ houses and communed, along with several men and brethren bringing friends and family to be saved almost every day.

Peter’s sermon of fulfilled prophecy | Acts 2:14-37

Scripture: “14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Commentary: After Peter told the brethren that there was no possibility that they could be drunk with new wine due to how early it was in the day – for this was not happy hour – he explains the vitality – the importance – of this ministry for Jesus Christ.

Peter then recites the prophecy from Joel (the minor prophet), which was from Joel 2:28-32. The context of this prophecy from Joel represents that people may readily turn to God (accept God) during times of hardship; however, many of them may just forget God as quickly as they came unto Him. Some people, when prosperity occurs, they feel as if they have no need of help from God, because they have the delusion of self-sufficiency. The core of the prophecy is that they would be more obedient to God when understand His Will (including being in better devotion unto Him). God once only gave His Spirit to people to do certain tasks, but the time is coming one day where He will place His Spirit within each believer of any diversity, and it will occur before the final great day of the Lord. One of the signs of the great day of the Lord is the phenomenal locust plague, in which on that day, believers would be saved; however, sinners would perish.

Jesus came to do signs, wonders, and miracles, as Jesus does what He sees His Father (God) doing (John 5:19). The point stricken unto the apostles and disciples along with the other brethren, was that the Jews took and killed Jesus. But God… He raised Him, thus breaking the chains of death – for nothing could hold Jesus down any longer. Not only that, but He suffered to fulfill the Will of God (Psalm 22:1). Believers, just like Christ, will be raised the same way He was after death (1 Corinthians 6:14; Philippians 3:10; Romans 6:5).

King David spoke about Jesus’ first advent (His First Coming), in that he saw Jesus as Lord on the right hand of God, and this coming man would keep believers’ souls from Hell, and finally that Jesus would be without corruption (Jesus would be sinless). Jesus would guide people on the proper path, and His Presence in believers’ lives would bring great joy.

The spirit of David lives on, because Jesus inherited David’s throne, and had sat there after dying and rising again in His Resurrection (see 1 Kings 2:10; 2 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 16:10). David was not one whom had ascended into Heaven; whereas Jesus did ascend. The apostles and some disciples bore witness that Jesus lived, ministered, died sacrificially, resurrected, appeared to them again, and then ascended into Heaven (at Bethany).

Other notes: Isaiah also had a prophecy that was fulfilled in these days noted in the book of Acts. In Isaiah 44:1-5, we see that not only is God willing to forgive His People, but that He also wants to give His Spirit unto each believer, in which new life will spring up inside of them, which shall enable them to evangelize to Jews and Gentiles.

The Day of Pentecost – What happened? | Acts 2:1-4

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Commentary: The day of Pentecost was a day that was commemorated as when the apostles officially began ministry, especially on their way to Jerusalem. Gathered together were the apostles in full agreement in one place of fellowship – not a church – but a person’s home in the upper chamber.

Literally, a sound from Heaven enthralled them as if a downburst of wind tore through the building. The apostles had felt a different, unique presence there. Cloven tongues that appeared to look like fire, and it looked like it sat upon each of them. This is because when flames spread, they look like tongues; therefore, it is to mean an emblem of many or diverse languages. James calls the tongue a fire (James 3:6). With it sitting upon each of them, it is believed to symbolize the continuance of grace and gifting unto them to be equipped for ministry.

The apostles and the disciples, and anyone else there, were all filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with other tongues (meaning they spoke in an unknown language in a spiritual experience), because the Holy Ghost spoke in and through them. They were given the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, as promised (John 14:16), which was to enable them much better for the ministry. They are experiencing what every person should be experiencing when given Salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostles must choose Judas’ replacement | Acts 1:15-26

“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”

Peter presides in front of 120 disciples (with the other 10 apostles nearby most likely). As Peter presides, note his oratory here, as he speaks with confidence “Men and brethren.” He knows that God has brought them together to work together, so already he has dropped any leadership quirks such as titles, authority, etc. This is actually quite surprising due to Peter’s history of lacking understanding while a disciple of Jesus Christ. Peter told them that the Holy Ghost spoke through David that Judas would betray Jesus (Psalm 4:19).

Judas guided the law enforcement to where Jesus was. This was to bring forth the trials upon Jesus. Judas Iscariot was one of twelve disciples under Jesus, and received ministry from Jesus directly. Judas as well preached, did miracles with the others, and carried the bag as the treasurer stewarding God’s family in Christ. Of course, what Judas did not know was that even though people considered him untrustworthy (and it was already stated by Luke and Matthew well before of his untrustworthy behavior), Jesus had the knowledge of God and knew if Judas would mishandle what he had been placed steward over. It’s just that Judas’ heart was weak and easy to sway, which caused him to sin.

The original thirty pieces of silver? Judas gave that back. Good thing too, because just as Balsam with his soothsaying, such wages gained for wrong activities was called “wages of unrighteousness”. The chief priests felt they should take those wages of unrighteousness and buy a field that they could bury Judas (at a later time, it became a cemetery for the Gentiles). Just a little later… Judas hung himself and died. Upon dying, he eventually was reported to have fallen through the roof of a man’s house or have fallen from a branch, to which his belly had opened due to its putrefication (in a graphic way). Luke notes here that the field purchased by the chief priests to bury Judas was called the field of blood (Aceldama or Akeldama). This has been known traditionally to be located on the southern side of the Kidron Valley.

Judas’ place as an apostle has become vacant, and another person is to fill that by being called to do so. Peter thinks that the man chosen to fill Judas’ place as replacement apostle should be among the 120 before them. The someone chosen to fill Judas’ place must have been someone who would have witnessed most of Jesus’ Life from His Baptism from John the Baptist up until His Resurrection from the dead.

Joseph was first chosen and given the name Barsabas (a pseudonym or ministerial name), and Matthias was second chosen. Most Bible scholars agree that Joseph has three names total: Joses (translates to Joseph), Barsabas as shown here, and Barnabas. Therefore, when referencing the same person, you may read one of these three names (such as in Acts 4:36). Other references note, that similar to Simon Barjona, “son of Jona” (Matthew 16:17), Barsabas can be referred to as “son of Sabas.” Matthias’ name means, “gift of Yahweh.” Matthias had been known for a while, scholars suggest, since Luke references him in Luke 10:1.

The Lord God is the complete and noblest of all in knowledge, who looks at the heart and understands it fully. He sees everything, such as sin, disease, hurt, pain, joy, peace, laughter, anger, sadness, wealth, poverty, humility, pride, love, lust, and so many more things — nothing is hidden from the understanding of our Father God.

These two, Barsabas and Matthias, have been shortlisted by the apostles, and the apostles are praying to ask the Lord who it is to be chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot. The ideal one selected should be given issue to ministry and apostleship – and believe it, it is not fortune and fame that is at stake here. The man chosen would not be given a special title or authority; rather, he would be given servant leadership and responsibility to help lead disciples and conduct ministry journeys to commit evangelism unto the Jews and eventually unto the Gentiles. A servant leader is to set an example for other disciples to follow.

The apostles drew lots, a common way of election in especially antiquity. They intended to find the man who would be called to be the next apostle. It seems that the lot fell on Matthias after probably receiving the most votes, as God likely laid upon the apostles’ hearts the man of His Choice. Matthias is then given the designation of twelfth apostle numbered, and now there are once again twelve apostles. Now they shall prepare for a special celebration… Err, well, maybe an impartation would be better wording.

Also in antiquity, people tended to discern God’s Will by three different methods that have been usually or unusually noticed: 1. Drawing lots; 2. Dream incubating; or 3. Inspiration (such as prophetic). Oracles were frequently sought by the pagans, but the Jews knew this taboo method was risky – especially due to idolatrous behaviors. Proverb 16:33 had great confidence in the lots method, because Solomon and other wise men were confident that God had every decision of the lots. It is not unlike God to impress upon the heart His Will, in which this may be true. Pagans always thought lots were the best method, so their eyes were smiling when the Jews regarded lots – incidentally, there were times the Jews were tricked by pagans in this (see Jonah 1:7 and context; 1 Samuel 14:41; Isaiah 34:17; etc.).

Historical notes: The Jewish Diaspora

The type of Jews that were living outside of Israel were known as the Jewish Diaspora, also called Dispersion (see James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1). They were not discriminated, as some might assume, for Peter and James thought highly of them. It was hard to imagine why the Jews were pushed to outside of Israel; however, we look at 722 BC where the first dispersion occurred under the Assyrian capture of the northern Kingdom of Israel, sending many Jews into exile in Mesopotamia (2 Kings 17:6). Then, also notice the Babylonians’ southern kingdom capture to deport Jews to Babylon (2 Kings 25:21). Otherwise, some Jews emigrated to Egypt (2 Kings 25:26), and others relocated to avoid circumstances under the three grave generals who submitted unto Alexander the Great. Some ancient scholars reported the relocation of 2,000 Jewish families around 210 BC under Antiochus III’s reign.

The apostles travel to the upper room | Acts 1:12-14

“Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”

The apostles went back to Jerusalem to Mount Olivet (Mount of Olives), likely speechless from their experience seeing Jesus ascend into Heaven before their eyes. Mount Olivet was on the eastern side of Jerusalem, and it is named as so due to the abundance in olive trees that are upon the mountain. They returned to Jerusalem with “great joy” (Luke 24:52). From Mount Olivet to Jerusalem is about a 1 day journey approximately. The Syriac notes that it is “about seven furlongs”, or nearly a mile. Although the Jews seem to think a sabbath day’s journey was about two-thousand cubits (see Numbers 35:4), which is equivalent to about 0.56 of a mile (a little over half a mile). Jews were usually prevented from going more than 0.75 of a mile (three-quarter mile) on the sabbath, which is why the Greek idiom is used “a sabbath day’s journey.”

As all eleven remaining apostles had gathered in the upper room, one may note that Jesus had twelve disciples/apostles; however, remember that Judas Iscariot took his own life, which brought the number down to eleven. The apostles prayed alongside Mary (Jesus’ mother), brethren, and other women – most likely to pray for the ministry they were about to do and pray for whom the next apostle would be. Supplication is usually supplemented to the word prayer, which means “urgent and/or earnest prayer.” The apostles had reason to expect Jesus’ promise shall be fulfilled unto them, and they have kept faithful unto Him. Mary, Jesus’ mother, seemed to stay by the apostles’ sides, but this seems to be the last place we hear about her. Mary may have stayed with them since it was in her piety to do so, or that she felt it necessary especially in memory of Jesus. It is assuredly true that the apostles had many stories to tell about Jesus, and Mary was fond of hearing such stories.