Undeniable prophecy: Devotional Commentary for May 9-15
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
14But 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.
15For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
16But 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.
18And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
21And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.'
We recall from last week's devotional, the people who had assembled and witnessed the sound of numerous languages from the mouths of these simple and ingenuous Disciples could not figure out what was going on. All were curious and puzzled. Some believed, others mocked, but no one could deny the Power of the Holy Spirit and the fulfillment of God's promise in Jesus Christ.
Now Luke records for us the Disciples' response explaining the mystery of God's mighty Work upon them and its significance. putting forth a united front, the Disciples spoke with one voice. Peter addressed the crowd on behalf of the whole assembly of believers and the Disciples who stood with him. Unanimity of purpose and conduct was nothing new to the Disciples. They have been praying, worshipping, and waiting for the Lord with the singleness of mind and purpose.
Peter's opening remarks directly confronted the scoffers by pointing out the obvious. Reminding the crowd that it was so early in the day, Peter publicly discounted the derisive ridicule of the scornful calling the Spirit-moved Disciples, drunk. Having thus cleared the air and dispelled differences, misunderstandings, and any emotional tensions, Peter proceeded to expound on the meaning and significance of the event as the Spirit gave him wisdom and by using the Scriptures as his authority.
Peter assured the crowd that what they witnessed was the fulfillment of the prophecy foretold by the Prophet Joel, regarding events of the Last Days. In Joel’s time, the Prophet urged the people to repent after they had suffered God’s Judgment as a plague of locusts swarmed over the land. But as he looked forward, Joel saw a day in the last days, when God’s Spirit would be poured out on everyone. These are not the last few days of the End Times, but the last historic period of God's Plan and Purpose of Redemption.
Quoting the sacred Words spoken by the Prophet Joel, Peter affirmed that the supreme event they just witnessed was the beginning of the fulfillment of those prophetic Words. He declared that in the last days God will pour out His Spirit upon every one of His children and His servants. Sons, daughters, and God's servants—both men and women—will be equipped and empowered to speak and teach the truth. They will expound on what God had revealed. Young men will receive revelations from God. They will proclaim the truth and affirm the revealed mysteries of God. Older men will receive dreams from the Lord and convey God's message to the people.
Peter continued to recite Joel's prophecy which sounded increasingly more apocalyptic. He spoke of wonders in heaven above and signs on earth beneath, blood fire and vapor of smoke, the sun withholding its light, and the moon turning blood red; all of this before the coming of the Day of the Lord. But none of these latter things happened on the day of Pentecost as all the celebrants were watching the Spirit-moved Disciples. Why then did Peter get into more puzzling things not related to the immediate events which excited the curiosities of the crowd?
Obviously, Peter was not explaining just current events. He was unveiling the Gospel in its entirety. He was proclaiming the mystery of the mighty Deeds of God. He was declaring the Plan and the Purpose of God's Redemption and His Judgment as prophesied by Joel and as confirmed by Jesus Christ. He was both describing and presenting the Gospel. Ultimately, Peter told the crowd that, in the midst of the fulfillment of these prophecies and while God's Plan of Redemption continues to unfold, whosoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.
Following the transforming descent of the Holy Spirit, the Disciples and the assembly of believers began to preach the Gospel to the people around them with power and with courage. In declaring the Gospel, they spoke the truth expounding on God's Plan and Purpose of Redemption and His Judgment.
Peter addressed the people as the voice of the assembly, explaining to the people that what they heard from the Disciples and what they saw in them was the phenomenal affirmation of God's faithfulness to His own sacred Word as prophesied by His servant Joel many centuries prior. God poured out His Spirit upon the waiting assembly of the faithful; and the Disciples were given instant capability to speak in the several languages of the people as the Spirit gave them utterance.
As the Holy Spirit continues His divine Work in the hearts of God's children, some will courageously proclaim the Good news. Others will receive visions and dreams. Still others will serve God in many ways as each one is empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The fulfillment of these prophecies delineates God's continued presence and work among men signifying the dawn of the Messianic age inaugurated by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But that was not the only message Peter conveyed to the crowd listening to him. In these last days, emphasized Peter, the world will witness a lot more than the miraculous events the people just observed. More prophecies will come to pass gradually and steadily as time marches on.
The call to Redemption will go out steadily as the Gospel is preached throughout the world. When the end times come upon the world, cataclysmic events and violent upheavals will take place signifying judgment. Nevertheless, calling the people to faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God, Peter sought to draw the people out of their passing fascinations with the wonders of the moment, and pointed them to the Way of salvation. He assured the crowd that whosoever calls upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved.
Peter's fervent words and vehement plea to the puzzled crowd is more clearly rendered by the words of Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, echoing the sentiments of our loving Father:
"In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."