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The Conclusion of Peter’s First Proclamation in Jerusalem,

The Immediate Reaction, and

The Implications of the Results for Those Who Joined the Movement

 

We find Peters’ closing remarks of his first sermon on the Day of Pentecost, and the situation which developed, in the last part of Acts 2:

36.  "Therefore, let all [the] house of Israel, for a certainty and without slipping or tripping, come to progressively know by intimate experience that God made and creates Him [to be] both Lord (Master; Owner) and Christ ([the] Anointed One; [= Messiah]) this Jesus, whom you folks put to death on a stake (publicly suspended from a pole; crucified)!"

37.  Now, upon hearing [this], they were pierced down to the heart (the core of their being), and so said to Peter and the rest of the commissioned and sent-forth folks (or: emissaries), "Men... brothers, what can or should we do?"

38.  So Peter at once affirms to them, "At once change your way of thinking (your frame of mind and point of view; [by customary use this implies: and return to Yahweh]).  Then at once let each one of you folks be immersed (baptized) within the Name (= in union with the identity, the character, the authority, the essence) of Jesus Christ (or: of [the] Anointed Jesus; which is Jesus [the Messiah]) into the midst of a release and sending away, a divorce and an abandonment, a cancellation and a forgiveness: of your failures, your mistakes, your times of missing the target, your errors, your deviations and your sins – and then you will proceed receiving and continue taking in hand the free gift (the gratuity) of the Set-apart Breath-effect (or: which is the Holy Spirit; or: which has its source in and the character of the Sacred Attitude).

39.  "For you see, the promise is (continuously exists being) to, for, with and in you folks, as well as to, for, with and in your children – even to, for and in all people: to, for and in the folks [being] a long way off – in such an amount as [the] Lord [= Yahweh] our God would call to [Himself]!"

40.  Besides [this], he gave full testimony, completely laying out the facts of the case, with different thoughts and ideas, and by many more words.  Then he kept on calling one after another to his side, repeatedly urging, encouraging and admonishing them, while saying, "You folks can be rescued and kept safe, away from this generation which has become warped and crooked from drying out ([cf Jn. 15:6]; or, and as an imperative: Be restored to health and wholeness – be at once saved – as you are separated from this perverse generation)!"

41.  Therefore the people who indeed, as it were with their hands, took away and fully received, welcomed and embraced his word (his idea; his message) were at some point immersed (baptized).  And so on (or: during) that day about three thousand souls (= people) were added [to the group and community] (or: were placed and set toward [the goal]).

42.  So they were continuing strongly focused toward and persevering in and by, while devoting themselves to, the teaching of the sent-forth folks (the emissaries; the representatives) and to the common existence and in the common being, to sharing, partnering, contributing and in the participation in the breaking of the loaves of bread (= eating meals), as well as to, in, with and by the thoughts, words and deeds that were focused toward having goodness, ease and well-being (or: prayers).

43.  Now reverence, awe, respect and fear began to be birthed in every soul (or: continued coming to be on every person), and many miracles (or: portents; omens) and signs began occurring through the sent-forth folks (the emissaries; the representatives).

44.  So all the folks continuing in trusting and believing were at the same [place], and they continued having and holding all things in common and with joint-participation (in a fellowship of partnership).

45.  Furthermore, they began, and from time to time continued, selling (disposing of) the possessions and acquisitions, as well at the properties and things that support their existence, and then were thoroughly dividing and distributing them to everyone – in correspondence to anyone who would continue having a need.

46.  Not only daily continuing strongly focused and persevering while devoting themselves in like passion and with one accord within the Temple courts and grounds, but also regularly breaking bread (= having meals) from house to house (or: home by home; or: in accord with [their] homes), they were sharing and partaking together of food (nourishment) in the midst of great rejoicing and with the evenness and smoothness of a heart without a stone,

47.  constantly praising God and habitually having grace with and facing – also holding favor for, with reference to and toward – the whole People.  Now the Lord [= Christ or Yahweh] kept on adding and placing toward [the goal] the folks being from day to day rescued (saved; delivered; made whole; restored), at the same [place and time] [other MSS add: within the called-out community].

~~~~~~

In vs. 36, Peter proclaimed about the crucified Jesus, “that God made and creates Him [to be] both Lord (Master; Owner) and Christ ([the] Anointed One; [= Messiah]).”  It was because of this fact that Peter now told the crowd in Jerusalem, “Therefore, let all [the] house of Israel, for a certainty and without slipping or tripping, come to progressively know [this] by intimate experience.”  The question can be asked, “What does this mean, and how did the crowd understand it?”

We see that after hearing Peter’s message, “upon hearing [this], they were pierced down to the heart (the core of their being).”  He later metaphorically described this kind of experience in 1 Pet. 1:23,

folks having been born again (been regenerated; been given birth back up again), not from out of a corruptible (or: perishable) seed that was sown, but rather from an incorruptible (imperishable; undecayable) one: through God's continually living and permanently remaining Word (or: through a message or expressed thought of [the] continuously living and constantly abiding God; or: through means of a living and dwelling Thought, Idea and Logically laid out Expression and Communication, which is God).”

So Peter’s words invaded their hearts and gave birth to belief in what he had just said to them.  Not only that, some in the group made a verbal response to the group as a whole, asking, “Men... brothers, what can or should we do?

From this response, we see that the announcement of Jesus being made “both Lord (Master; Owner) and Christ ([the] Anointed One; [= Messiah]” had made them realize that they needed to do something in response to this change of events.  Peter had just spoken about a political and religious event (the crucifixion of Jesus) that had an unexpected outcome (God making Jesus both Lord and Christ).  By the proclamation that “Jesus is Lord” to people from all over the Empire that had been living under the political and economic reality that “Caesar is Lord,” he was saying that the Roman Empire no longer exercised lordship over them – in effect, they now had a new King.  This was a revolutionary turn of fortunes – but what did it really mean?

John later sent this same message to the called-out communities in Asia Minor, in Rev. 11:

15.  Next the seventh agent sounded a trumpet, and great (or: loud) voices of themselves came to be (birthed themselves; occurred of themselves) within the sky (or: atmosphere; heaven), continuously saying, "The reign of the ordered System (of the world of religion, culture, government and economy; or: of the realm of the religious and secular) suddenly came to belong to our Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] and to the anointed of Him

(or: The kingdom of the arranged system at once became our Lord’s and His Christ’s; The rule as king which pertains to the world, was birthed to be the possession of [Yahweh], as well as of His Anointed), and so He will continue reigning (ruling as King)

on into the ages (or: indefinite time periods) of the ages [other MSS add: So it is (Amen)]."

So in light of the announced political and economic changes, their first question was, “what can or should we do?

 

But this announcement by Peter had another meaning, as well.  The risen Jesus is also the Christ, which for the Jews meant that He was their Messiah, which meant that the promises of their prophets had now come true.  When Jesus began His ministry, Jesus read the scroll of Isa. 61:1,

[The] Lord's [= Yahweh's] Breath-effect (or: [The] Spirit of [the] Lord; or: a spirit from [Yahweh]; or: a spirit and attitude which is [the] Lord) [is] upon Me [Old Syriac MS: you], on account of which He anointed Me [Syriac: you] to bring and proclaim good news (a message of ease and wellness) to destitute folks…” (Lu. 4:18a).

Then Jesus told the gathering, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your ears (= your hearing)” (Lu. 4:21).  He had indicated that He was the promised “Anointed One,” or, the “Messiah,” and Luke records that when those folks heard that,

Then all the men in the synagogue, as they were hearing these things, were filled with a rush of emotion (or: anger; fury), and after standing up (arising) they hustled Him out – outside of the town – then they led Him to a brow (= an out-jutting cliff) of the mountain (or: hill) upon which their town had been built, so as to shove Him down the precipice.  But He Himself, after passing through their midst, continued on His way” (Lu. 4:28-30).

 

So Peter has informed his listeners that this Jesus, whom the rulers in Jerusalem had rejected, was in fact the Messiah, the King of the Jews (something that Pilate’s placard which he had attached to Jesus’ execution pole both proclaimed and prophesied).  But did this fact of Jesus being both Lord and Christ make a change in the Empire?  Not immediately.  And Peter in vs. 38 answered their question about what they should do: “At once change your way of thinking (your frame of mind and point of view; [by customary use this implies: and return to Yahweh]).  Then at once let each one of you folks be immersed (baptized) within the Name (= in union with the identity, the character, the authority, the essence) of Jesus Christ (or: of [the] Anointed Jesus; which is Jesus [the Messiah])…”

 

The “change in their way of thinking” would have far-reaching ramifications.  Their “immersion” into the Name of Jesus Christ meant that they were transitioning away from the Roman Empire and into the Kingdom of God.  It meant that they were joining this new movement that had a new Way of living.  They would now, “proceed receiving and continue taking in hand the free gift (the gratuity) of the Set-apart Breath-effect (or: which is the Holy Spirit; or: which has its source in and the character of the Sacred Attitude).”  And in vs. 39 he instructs them that, “the promise is (continuously exists being) to, for, with and in you folks, as well as to, for, with and in your children – even to, for and in all people: to, for and in the folks [being] a long way off – in such an amount as [the] Lord [= Yahweh] our God would call to [Himself]!”  Note his inspired words of the extent of this promise.  This was not just a localized event, nor was it limited to their own generation.  It was, “to, for and in all people.”

 

But more important than the new mindset and horizon concerning the Empire was the “change in their way of thinking” in their relationship with the Law and the old covenant which Heb. 5-7 address concerning the change in the priesthood and Heb. 8 addresses concerning Christ inaugurating a “better covenant,” with vs. 13 saying about these two covenants,

In thus to be saying "new [in kind and quality]," He has made the first (or: former) "old," and that [which is] progressively growing old and obsolete (failing of age; ageing into decay), [is] near its disappearing (vanishing away).”

This required a whole new paradigm which included the temple now being a group of people with the Holy Spirit indwelling them.  It would later be revealed to Paul that in God’s kingdom economy the concepts of “race” and “ethnicity” were abolished (as well as the male/female distinctions; the slave/free distinctions) – Eph. 2:15; Gal. 3:28.  This all required a change of perspective and a different way of thinking about EVERYTHING!

 

Peter went on to give “full testimony, completely laying out the facts of the case, with different thoughts and ideas, and by many more words,” and then informed them:

You folks can be rescued and kept safe, away from this generation which has become warped and crooked from drying out ([cf Jn. 15:6]; or, and as an imperative: Be restored to health and wholeness – be at once saved – as you are separated from this perverse generation)!

So this was to mean a change in their society and their social conditions.  As Paul later put it,

the original things (the beginning [situations]; the archaic and primitive [arrangements]) passed by (or: went to the side).  Consider!  New things have come into existence (have been birthed; or: It has become new things; or: He has been birthed and now exists being ones of a different kind, character and quality)” (2 Cor. 5:17b).

Verse 41 informs us that around three thousand people were immersed into, and joined, the community, and then we see that,

So they were continuing strongly focused toward and persevering in and by, while devoting themselves to, the teaching of the sent-forth folks (the emissaries; the representatives) and to the common existence and in the common being, to sharing, partnering, contributing and in the participation in the breaking of the loaves of bread (= eating meals), as well as to, in, with and by the thoughts, words and deeds that were focused toward having goodness, ease and well-being (or: prayers).”

 

Verses 43-47 describe the picture of how this newly formed called-out (i.e., called out from their former culture, religious associations, way of life and kingdom allegiances) covenant community began forming and taking shape.  History would demonstrate that outward form and religious ritual were no longer the markers of God’s kingdom.  But the progression into the new both began slowly and continued slowly – to this very day.  One of the key changes was that of “devoting themselves to, the teaching of the sent-forth folks (the emissaries; the representatives).”  They were no longer following the teachings of the scribes (Jewish theologians; Torah scholars) or of the Pharisees.  The sent-forth folks (which began with Jesus’ disciples) taught what Jesus taught and what the Holy Spirit was revealing to them.  Their understanding expanded (especially through the unveilings given to Paul), and with the new insights came an expanding view of what it meant for Jesus to be both Lord and Christ.  Their story continues on through the book of Acts and the other letters in the NT.  As to the new meaning of the title, “Lord,” which speaks to the God-human relationship in His kingdom, we find Paul describing and identifying himself in this new relationship in Rom. 1:1, “Paul, Jesus Christ’s slave (or: a slave servant of and from [the] Anointed One, Jesus; a slave belonging to Jesus [the] Anointed [= Messiah]).”  The titles “Lord and Christ” were eschatological in character – they meant that God’s deliverance had invaded human history.  But Jesus’ favorite reference to God remained: Our Father.

 

All His goodness is with you,

 

Jonathan

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