Acts 2:32
This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32) This Jesus hath God raised up . . .—From the first the Apostles take up the position which their Lord had assigned them. They are witnesses, and before and above all else, witnesses of the Resurrection.

Acts

PETER’S FIRST SERMON

Acts 2:32 - Acts 2:47
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This passage may best be dealt with as divided into three parts: the sharp spear-thrust of Peter’s closing words {Acts 2:32 - Acts 2:36}, the wounded and healed hearers {Acts 2:37 - Acts 2:41}, and the fair morning dawn of the Church {Acts 2:42 - Acts 2:47}.

I. Peter’s address begins with pointing out the fulfilment of prophecy in the gift of the Spirit {Acts 2:14 - Acts 2:21}.

It then declares the Resurrection of Jesus as foretold by prophecy, and witnessed to by the whole body of believers {Acts 2:22 - Acts 2:32}, and it ends by bringing together these two facts, the gift of the Spirit and the Resurrection and Ascension, as effect and cause, and as establishing beyond all doubt that Jesus is the Christ of prophecy, and the Lord on whom Joel had declared that whoever called should be saved. We now begin with the last verse of the second part of the address.

Observe the significant alternation of the names of ‘Christ’ and ‘Jesus’ in Acts 2:31 - Acts 2:32. The former verse establishes that prophecy had foretold the Resurrection of the Messiah, whoever he might be; the latter asserts that ‘this Jesus’ has fulfilled the prophetic conditions. That is not a thing to be argued about, but to be attested by competent witnesses. It was presented to the multitude on Pentecost, as it is to us, as a plain matter of fact, on which the whole fabric of Christianity is built, and which itself securely rests on the concordant testimony of those who knew Him alive, saw Him dead, and were familiar with Him risen.

There is a noble ring of certitude in Peter’s affirmation, and of confidence that the testimony producible was overwhelming. Unless Jesus had risen, there would neither have been a Pentecost nor a Church to receive the gift. The simple fact which Peter alleged in that first sermon, ‘whereof we all are witnesses,’ is still too strong for the deniers of the Resurrection, as their many devices to get over it prove.

But, a listener might ask, what has this witness of yours to do with Joel’s prophecy, or with this speaking with tongues? The answer follows in the last part of the sermon. The risen Jesus has ascended up; that is inseparable from the fact of resurrection, and is part of our testimony. He is ‘exalted by,’ or, perhaps, at, ‘the right hand of God.’ And that exaltation is to us the token that there He has received from the Father the Spirit, whom He promised to send when He left us. Therefore it is He-’this Jesus’-who has ‘poured forth this,’-this new strange gift, the tokens of which you see flaming on each head, and hear bursting in praise from every tongue.

What triumphant emphasis is in that ‘He’! Peter quotes Joel’s word ‘pour forth.’ The prophet had said, as the mouthpiece of God, ‘I will pour forth’; Peter unhesitatingly transfers the word to Jesus. We must not assume in him at this stage a fully-developed consciousness of our Lord’s divine nature, but neither must we blink the tremendous assumption which he feels warranted in making, that the exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of God meant His exercising the power which belonged to God Himself.

In Acts 2:34, he stays for a moment to establish by prophecy that the Ascension, of which he had for the first time spoken in Acts 2:33, is part of the prophetic characteristics of the Messiah. His demonstration runs parallel with his preceding one as to the Resurrection. He quotes Psalm 110:1 - Psalm 110:7, which he had learned to do from his Master, and just as he had argued about the prediction of Resurrection, that the dead Psalmist’s words could not apply to himself, and must therefore apply to the Messiah; so he concludes that it was not ‘David’ who was called by Jehovah to sit as ‘Lord’ on His right hand. If not David, it could only be the Messiah who was thus invested with Lordship, and exalted as participator of the throne of the Most High.

Then comes the final thrust of the spear, for which all the discourse has been preparing. The Apostle rises to the full height of his great commission, and sets the trumpet to his mouth, summoning ‘all the house of Israel,’ priests, rulers, and all the people, to acknowledge his Master. He proclaims his supreme dignity and Messiahship. He is the ‘Lord’ of whom the Psalmist sang, and the prophet declared that whoever called on His name should be saved; and He is the Christ for whom Israel looked.

Last of all, he sets in sharp contrast what God had done with Jesus, and what Israel had done, and the barb of his arrow lies in the last words, ‘whom ye crucified.’ And this bold champion of Jesus, this undaunted arraigner of a nation’s crimes, was the man who, a few weeks before, had quailed before a maid-servant’s saucy tongue! What made the change? Will anything but the Resurrection and Pentecost account for the psychological transformation effected in him and the other Apostles?

II. No wonder that ‘they were pricked in their heart’!

Such a thrust must have gone deep, even where the armour of prejudice was thick. The scene they had witnessed, and the fiery words of explanation, taken together, produced incipient conviction, and the conviction produced alarm. How surely does the first glimpse of Jesus as Christ and Lord set conscience to work! The question, ‘What shall we do?’ is the beginning of conversion. The acknowledgment of Jesus which does not lead to it is shallow and worthless. The most orthodox accepter, so far as intellect goes, of the gospel, who has not been driven by it to ask his own duty in regard to it, and what he is to do to receive its benefits, and to escape from his sins, has not accepted it at all.

Peter’s answer lays down two conditions: repentance and baptism. The former is often taken in too narrow a sense as meaning sorrow for sin, whereas it means a change of disposition or mind, which will be accompanied, no doubt, with ‘godly sorrow,’ but is in itself deeper than sorrow, and is the turning away of heart and will from past love and practice of evil. The second, baptism, is ‘in the name of Jesus Christ,’ or more accurately, ‘upon the name,’-that is, on the ground of the revealed character of Jesus. That necessarily implies faith in that Name; for, without such faith, the baptism would not be on the ground of the Name. The two things are regarded as inseparable, being the inside and the outside of the Christian discipleship. Repentance, faith, baptism, these three, are called for by Peter.

But ‘remission of sins’ is not attached to the immediately preceding clause, so as that baptism is said to secure remission, but to the whole of what goes before in the sentence. Obedience to the requirements would bring the same gift to the obedient as the disciples had received; for it would make them disciples also. But, while repentance and baptism which presupposed faith were the normal, precedent conditions of the Spirit’s bestowal, the case of Cornelius, where the Spirit was given before baptism, forbids the attempt to link the rite and the divine gift more closely together.

The Apostle was eager to share the gift. The more we have of the Spirit, the more shall we desire that others may have Him, and the more sure shall we be that He is meant for all. So Peter went on to base his assurance, that his hearers might all possess the Spirit, on the universal destination of the promise. Joel had said, ‘on all flesh’; Peter declares that word to point downwards through all generations, and outwards to all nations. How swiftly had he grown in grasp of the sweep of Christ’s work! How far beneath that moment of illumination some of his subsequent actions fell!

We have only a summary of his exhortations, the gist of which was earnest warning to separate from the fate of the nation by separating in will and mind from its sins. Swift conviction followed the Spiri-given words, as it ever will do when the speaker is filled with the Holy Spirit, and has therefore a tongue of fire. Three thousand new disciples were made that day, and though there must have been many superficial adherents, and none with much knowledge, it is perhaps not fanciful to see in Luke’s speaking of them as ‘souls’ a hint that, in general, the acceptance of Jesus as Messiah was deep and real. Not only were three thousand ‘names’ added to the hundred and twenty, but three thousand souls.

III. The fair picture of the morning brightness, so soon overclouded, so long lost, follows.

First, the narrative tells how the raw converts were incorporated in the community, and assimilated to its character. They, too, ‘continued steadfastly’ {Acts 1:14}. Note the four points enumerated: ‘teaching,’ which would be principally instruction in the life of Jesus and His Messianic dignity, as proved by prophecy; ‘fellowship,’ which implies community of disposition and oneness of heart manifested in outward association; ‘breaking of bread,’-that is, the observance of the Lord’s Supper; and ‘the prayers,’ which were the very life-breath of the infant Church {Acts 1:14}. Thus oneness in faith and in love, participation in the memorial feast and in devotional acts bound the new converts to the original believers, and trained them towards maturity. These are still the methods by which a sudden influx of converts is best dealt with, and babes in Christ nurtured to full growth. Alas! that so often churches do not know what to do with novices when they come in numbers.

A wider view of the state of the community as a whole closes the chapter. It is the first of several landing-places, as it were, on which Luke pauses to sum up an epoch. A reverent awe laid hold of the popular mind, which was increased by the miraculous powers of the Apostles. The Church will produce that impression on the world in proportion as it is manifestly filled with the Spirit. Do we? The s-called community of goods was not imposed by commandment, as is plain from Peter’s recognition of Ananias’ right to do as he chose with his property. The facts that Mark’s mother, Mary, had a house of her own, and that Barnabas, her relative, is specially signalised as having sold his property, prove that it was not universal. It was an irrepressible outcrop of the brotherly feeling that filled all hearts. Christ has not come to lay down laws, but to give impulses. Compelled communism is not the repetition of that oneness of sympathy which effloresced in the bright flower of this common possession of individual goods. But neither is the closed purse, closed because the heart is shut, which puts to shame so much profession of brotherhood, justified because the liberality of the primitive disciples was not by constraint nor of obligation, but willing and spontaneous.

Acts 2:46 - Acts 2:47 add an outline of the beautiful daily life of the community, which was, like their liberality, the outcome of the feeling of brotherhood, intensified by the sense of the gulf between them and the crooked generation from which they had separated themselves. Luke shows it on two sides. Though they had separated from the nation, they clung to the Temple services, as they continued to do till the end. They had not come to clear consciousness of all that was involved in their discipleship, It was not God’s will that the new spirit should violently break with the old letter. Convulsions are not His way, except as second-best. The disciples had to stay within the fold of Israel, if they were to influence Israel. The time of outward parting between the Temple and the Church was far ahead yet.

But the truest life of the infant Church was not nourished in the Temple, but in the privacy of their homes. They were one family, and lived as such. Their ‘breaking bread at home’ includes both their ordinary meals and the Lord’s Supper; for in these first days every meal, at least the evening meal of every day, was hallowed by having the Supper as a part of it. Each meal was thus a religious act, a token of brotherhood, and accompanied with praise. Surely then ‘men did eat angels’ food,’ and on platter and cup was written ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ The ideal of human fellowship was realised, though but for a moment, and on a small scale. It was inevitable that divergences should arise, but it was not inevitable that the Church should depart so far from the brief brightness of its dawn. Still the sweet concordant brotherhood of these morning hours witnesses what Christian love can do, and prophesies what shall yet be and shall not pass.

No wonder that such a Church won favour with all the people! We hear nothing of its evangelising activity, but its life was such that, without recorded speech, multitudes were drawn into so sweet a fellowship. If we were like the Pentecostal Christians, we should attract wearied souls out of the world’s Babel into the calm home where love and brotherhood reigned, and God would ‘add’ to us ‘day by day those that were being saved.’Acts 2:32-36. This Jesus — Whom we assert to be the true Messiah; hath God raised up — According to the tenor of his promise; whereof — Of which resurrection; we all are witnesses — On our personal and certain knowledge; having seen him with our eyes, and examined into the truth of the matter with all possible care. Therefore, being by the right hand of God — That is, by God’s almighty power, exalted from the grave to heaven; or, as some read the clause, Being exalted to the right hand of God, to supreme power, majesty, and glory; and having received of the Father — As the great anointed one of the Lord; the promise of the Holy Ghost — The Holy Ghost promised to his disciples; he hath — Agreeably to the notices he gave us before his ascension; shed forth this miraculous effusion of it, the effects of which ye now see and hear. For David himself — Who has not yet been raised from the dead; is not — With respect to his body; ascended into heaven — To be advanced there to the highest dignity and power: but he saith — In another Psalm, (where he plainly shows that he spoke of another person, and such another as was superior to himself, even his Lord;) The Lord — Namely, Jehovah, (the word here used;) said unto my Lord — That is, God the Father said unto the Messiah, (whom, though in one sense David’s son, he honoured as his Lord;) Sit thou on my right hand — Be thou invested with the highest power and glory; until I make thy foes — All that are so presumptuous as to persist in hostility to thee; thy footstool — Until I lay them prostrate at thy feet, so that thou mayest trample upon them at pleasure, as entirely subdued. See note on Psalm 110:1. This text is here quoted with the greatest address, as suggesting, in the words of David, their great prophetic monarch, how certain their own ruin must be, if they went on to oppose Christ. It may be proper to observe here, that in these two verses there is an allusion to two ancient customs: one, to that of kings placing those persons on their right hands to whom they intended the highest honour; as Solomon did Bathsheba, when sitting on his throne, 1 Kings 2:19; and the other, to the custom of conquerors, who used to tread on the necks of their vanquished enemies, as a token of their entire victory and triumph over them. Therefore — Upon the whole, from this concurrent evidence, both of prophecy and miracle, and from the testimony God has given to that Jesus whom we preach, not only by his resurrection from the dead, but by the effusion of the Holy Spirit on his followers; let all the house of Israel know assuredly — How contrary soever it may be to their former apprehensions and rooted prejudices; that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have rejected and crucified, both Lord and Christ — Hath demonstrated him to be the expected Messiah, and hath constituted him the King of his people, and Lord of all: let them know certainly that this truth has now received its full confirmation, and we our full commission to publish it. Thus Peter shows, in a striking light, what aggravated wickedness they had been guilty of, in that they had crucified one whom God designed to glorify, and had put him to death as a deceiver, who had given such pregnant proofs of a divine mission.2:22-36 From this gift of the Holy Ghost, Peter preaches unto them Jesus: and here is the history of Christ. Here is an account of his death and sufferings, which they witnessed but a few weeks before. His death is considered as God's act; and of wonderful grace and wisdom. Thus Divine justice must be satisfied, God and man brought together again, and Christ himself glorified, according to an eternal counsel, which could not be altered. And as the people's act; in them it was an act of awful sin and folly. Christ's resurrection did away the reproach of his death; Peter speaks largely upon this. Christ was God's Holy One, sanctified and set apart to his service in the work of redemption. His death and sufferings should be, not to him only, but to all his, the entrance to a blessed life for evermore. This event had taken place as foretold, and the apostles were witnesses. Nor did the resurrection rest upon this alone; Christ had poured upon his disciples the miraculous gifts and Divine influences, of which they witnessed the effects. Through the Saviour, the ways of life are made known; and we are encouraged to expect God's presence, and his favour for evermore. All this springs from assured belief that Jesus is the Lord, and the anointed Saviour.This Jesus - Peter, having shown that it was predicted that the Messiah would rise, now affirms that such a resurrection occurred in the case of Jesus. If it was a matter of prophecy, all objection to the truth of the doctrine was taken away, and the only question was whether there was evidence that this had been done. The proof of this Peter now alleges, and offers his own testimony, and that of his brethren, to the truth of this great and glorious fact.

We are all witnesses - It seems probable that Peter refers here to the whole 120 who were present, and who were ready to attest it in any manner. The matter which was to be proved was that Jesus was seen alive after he had been put to death. The apostles were appointed to bear witness of this. We are told by Paul 1 Corinthians 15:6 that he was seen by more than five hundred brethren, that is, Christians, at one time. The 120 assembled on this occasion were doubtless part of the number, and were ready to attest this. This was the proof that Peter alleged; and the strength of this proof was, and should have been, perfectly irresistible:

(1) They had seen him themselves. They did not conjecture it or reason about it; but they had the evidence on which people act every day, and which must be regarded as satisfactory the evidence of their own senses.

(2) the number was such they could not be imposed on. If 120 persons could not prove a plain matter of fact, nothing could be established by testimony; there could be no way of arriving at any facts.

(3) the thing to be established was a plain matter. It was not that they "saw him rise." That they never pretended: Impostors would have done this. But it was that they saw him, talked, walked, ate, drank with him, being alive, after, he had been crucified. The fact of his death was matter of Jewish record, and no one called it in question. The only fact for Christianity to make out was that he was seen alive afterward, and this was attested by many witnesses.

(4) they had no interest in deceiving the world in this thing. There was no prospect of pleasure, wealth, or honor in doing it.

(5) they offered themselves now as ready to endure any sufferings, or to die, in attestation of the truth of this event.

29-36. David … is … dead and buried, &c.—Peter, full of the Holy Ghost, sees in this sixteenth Psalm, one Holy Man, whose life of high devotedness and lofty spirituality is crowned with the assurance, that though He taste of death, He shall rise again without seeing corruption, and be admitted to the bliss of God's immediate presence. Now as this was palpably untrue of David, it could be meant only of One other, even of Him whom David was taught to expect as the final Occupant of the throne of Israel. (Those, therefore, and they are many, who take David himself to be the subject of this Psalm, and the words quoted to refer to Christ only in a more eminent sense, nullify the whole argument of the apostle). The Psalm is then affirmed to have had its only proper fulfilment in Jesus, of whose resurrection and ascension they were witnesses, while the glorious effusion of the Spirit by the hand of the ascended One, setting an infallible seal upon all, was even then witnessed by the thousands who stood listening to Him. A further illustration of Messiah's ascension and session at God's right hand is drawn from Ps 110:1, in which David cannot be thought to speak of himself, seeing he is still in his grave. This Jesus, whom ye crucified, and we preach,

Whereof we all are witnesses: they had now received the power spoken of and promised Acts 1:6, and testify what they had heard, and seen, and felt, and all agree in; though they could get nothing by it, but hatred and persecution, nay, death. This Jesus hath God raised up,.... That is, from the dead,

whereof we are all witnesses; namely, of his resurrection, they having seen him, and heard him, and ate, and drank, and conversed with him since his resurrection; and which was true, not of the twelve apostles only, but of the whole company: or "we are all his witnesses"; either of God, who raised Christ from the dead; or of Christ who was raised by him; and indeed, they bore testimony to the whole of this, to Christ, and to his resurrection, and to its being done by God the Father.

{7} This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

(7) Peter witnesses that Jesus Christ is the appointed everlasting King, which he manifestly proves by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of David.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 2:32. οὗ: may be masculine = Christ, cf. Acts 13:31, but is taken as neuter by Blass (so too Overbeck, Holtzmann, Weiss, Wendt, Felten). Bengel remarks “nempe Dei qui id fecit,” and compares Acts 5:32, Acts 10:41, and 1 Corinthians 15:15.32. This Jesus hath God raised up] (i.e. from the dead). The verb here, and the noun translated resurrection in the previous verse, are parts of the same word, and make the statement very forcible in the Greek. David spake of a resurrection, which manifestly was not his own, but here is now come to pass the resurrection of Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. The all is probably to be confined to Peter and the eleven, with whom he is more closely connected in this speech (see Acts 2:14) than with the rest.Acts 2:32. Τοῦτον τὸν Ἰησοῦν, this Jesus) Acts 2:23; Acts 2:36, τοῦτον, Him, this same Jesus.—ἀνέστησεν, hath raised up) from the dead.—οὗ, of Whom [but Engl. Vers. whereof]) namely, of GOD, who effected it: ch. Acts 5:32, “We are His witnesses of these things;” Acts 10:41, “God showed Him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even unto us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead:” 1 Corinthians 15:15.Verse 32. - Did God raise up for hath God raised up, A.V. Are witnesses (see Acts 1:22, note).
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