But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem…
A more glorious opportunity than that now presented no man could desire. Peter was the last man in the world likely to let it go unused. He instantly and, no doubt, eagerly appropriated it. In an animated and forcible address he repelled the idea that the apostles were acting under lower excitements, and showed that a new era had dawned upon the race, of which they should hasten to avail themselves. We gather from his words -
I. THAT THE SOURCE OF HUMAN INSPIRATION MAY BE VERY MUCH HIGHER, AS IT MAY BE VERY MUCH LOWER, THAN IS SUPPOSED. (Vers. 15-17.) It is true enough that what passes for Divine inspiration is often nothing more or better than earth-born excitement, mental or moral heats which are kindled by man and not by God - of the flesh, fleshly. This is abundantly proved by the test of time, and, in these cases, the last state is usually worse than the first. But, on the other hand, it sometimes happens that what is ignorantly mistaken for human passion is nothing less than a Divine afflatus. So here: these men "were not drunken;" God was "pouring out his Spirit" upon them. So has it been in the history of the Christian Church. Men that God has raised up and inspired to do his work have been either contemptuously disregarded, or cruelly decried, or systematically persecuted. Such facts as these should make us wait, examine, inquire, before we dismiss as worthless, or denounce as evil, those who profess to speak for Christ in ways other than our own.
II. THAT THE WHOLE HISTORY OF OUR RACE IS OUTSPREAD BEFORE GOD, AND THAT HIS HAND IS LAID UPON IT. (Vers. 17-20.) The Prophet Joel tells us what God will do. His words are necessarily obscure, for only the facts when they have occurred can make clear and plain their full significance. But we perceive that it was God's purpose, looking on to the future of the world, to pour down at one epoch a very rich effusion of his Spirit on the race, and to "show wonders" of the most extraordinary kind before the end of the dispensation. Everything is foreseen, arranged; the eye of God looks on, and all is before him; his hand, too, is stretched out, and at various points he makes his almighty power to be felt.
III. THAT AMID ALL THE ROCKINGS OF REVOLUTION THERE IS ONE PLACE OF UNFAILING SAFETY. (Ver. 21.) "Whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved." Whatever visions are seen, or dreams are dreamed, or prophesyings are uttered on earth; whatever wonders may be wrought in heaven, - the man that makes God his Refuge has no need to fear; he shall be hidden in the everlasting arms of strength and love.
IV. THAT DIVINE PURPOSE IS COOPERATIVE WITH HUMAN FREEDOM. (Ver. 23.) Christ Jesus was "delivered by the determinate counsel," etc.; yet he was not so delivered but that they were "wicked hands" that crucified and slew him. The providence of God makes all things possible to us - the noblest achievements and also the darkest crimes; it is our faithfulness which makes us the agents of the one, and our sin which makes us the perpetrators of the other.
V. THAT GOD HAS MADE HIS ETERNAL SON TO OCCUPY THE THRONE OF THE HUMAN WORLD. (Vers. 24-36.) Peter showed:
1. That David had predicted the resurrection of Christ (vers. 25-31).
2. That they could bear positive testimony that he had risen from the dead (ver. 32).
3. That prophecy pointed him out as One reigning in power, awaiting the final and complete overthrow of all his enemies (vers. 34, 35). Wherefore let every knee bow to him, every heart be subject to his sway; for
(1) all power as well as all authority is his;
(2) on his side, we are sure of victory and blessedness;
(3) ranged against him, we shall be overcome, with terrible disaster to ourselves. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: