THE ACTS 3
THE DOORS OF THE KINGDOM ARE OPENED
The events of the second chapter of Acts are so dramatic that we need to take some time to examine them. Their importance is indicated by the amount of detail the author uses to describe them. First we note that this occurred at a time when Jews from every nation of the earth were gathered in Jerusalem. It was God’s purpose that the family of Abraham, the family of the promise and the family of Jesus Christ, should be the first to hear the message of the fulfillment of the promise. They would then be the ones to spread the message to the rest of the world. The Apostles were all Jews, and they were given the commission by Jesus to go into all the world with the story of the Cross.
The scene opens with a spectacular display of mighty wind and tongues of fire sat on each of them, and they began to speak in other tongues as they were enabled by the Holy Spirit. Peter was later to say that this was what God promised by the prophet Joel when He said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”. The Holy Spirit was God’s Spirit, enabling them to carry out His purposes. Peter and the rest could not have known or understood the Gospel message they were to preach, without the direct guidance of God, through His Spirit given to them.
The “other tongues” they were enabled to speak were obviously a language which could be understood by all the nationalities gathered there. The Scripture says there were God-fearing Jews from every nation of the world. Only by His miraculous intervention could these Apostles have preached the Word of God to all of them, so that each heard them “in their own tongues”.
Then Peter stood up and began the speech that opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all men. He used the “keys” Jesus had promised him when he made his great confession recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. By the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, he spoke the great invitation to come into the Kingdom and specifically included the Gentiles in his invitation. The evidence that he was given words that even he did not clearly understand was that, later, God had to use a vision miracle to make Peter go preach to the very Gentiles he had said were to be accepted in this sermon. Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was baptized by Peter, after God told him that he should not reject that which God had accepted.
In his sermon, Peter proclaimed that Jesus was sent by God, that wicked men had crucified Him, but that God had raised Him from the dead. He quoted from the prophetic writings of David to graphically emphasize the reality of the resurrection. The victorious crescendo at the end of his sermon was that God had made this crucified Jesus “both Lord and Christ”.
In answer to the cry of the convicted ones, “What shall we do?”, Peter said they should repent…be baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ, so their sins could be forgiven, and they would then receive the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in them. He added that the promise was to them, their children, and those “afar off”, meaning the Gentiles.
The last of this chapter indicates the close fellowship and joy they all felt in the wonderful gift of forgiveness that God had given them. This made them one with all others who had received this gift and their numbers grew as others, who heard the message and responded to it, were added to their number. These were the “saved” who had accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and had been added by God to His family.