Acts 2:14-36 NKJV
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 suppose, 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 young men shall see visions,
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 shall 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; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:
‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day, St. Peter is no longer hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. Instead, he is boldly preaching to a large crowd gathered from all corners of the globe, and he isn’t pulling any punches. His sermon ends like this: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” The Holy Spirit then does His job: “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn 16:8), and the hearers were “cut to the heart.”
Luther explains: “You should deeply believe and not at all doubt that you are the one who tormented Christ, for your sins have certainly done it. So, St. Peter struck and frightened the Jews with a thunderbolt when he said to all of them in common: ‘You crucified Him’ (Acts 2:). That same day three thousand were frightened and said to the apostles, trembling: ‘Dear brothers, what should we do?’ (Acts 2:).”
The Lord’s Apostles, and all true godly pastors who follow them, are called to preach the Word boldly and completely, in both Law and Gospel. However, an ever-growing number of people today would have us tone down the thunderbolt of the Law and preach a “milder, gentler” message of “gospel only.” This is not our calling, and such a “gospel” is no Gospel at all. As we see in this lesson, the Holy Spirit uses the thunderbolt of the Law to cut them to the heart—to convict them of sin—and to prepare them for the Gospel by making them thirsty for it. The Gospel of the forgiveness of our sins through faith in Christ’s death for us on the cross, only makes sense if we know first that we have sins that need to be forgiven. Only the thunderbolt of the Law can do that with the Holy Spirit working through that word in the hearts of the hearers to convict them. Then the Gospel is “good news” indeed.
Let us pray: O God, you taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit. By that same Spirit give us a right judgment in all things that we may have and always rejoice in His holy comfort; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.