Focus Text: Acts 2
“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. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “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. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.”’” (Acts 2.14-21).
Note the final sentence in Joel’s prophecy as quoted by Peter; “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.” In a previous study we have already seen the word whoever as it applies to the proper subjects of the gospel. God’s desire is that all men be saved and so this passage merely reflects His desire in explicit terms. However, it was not only a desire; it became a real possibility when Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled. What makes this text even more intriguing involves the audience to whom Peter is speaking. He clarifies just who is present in the following two verses; hear his words.
“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—— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death…” (Acts 2.22-23). As a point of history, Peter affirmed just who it was that was responsible for the death of Jesus; it was at least a portion of the “men of Israel” assembled in Jerusalem on this Pentecost day. Notwithstanding the fact that some in this very crowd had the blood of Jesus on their hands, God continued to guide events along to their fruition such that “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
In the events of Pentecost, it becomes clear that the love with which we are dealing is not an ordinary love. The Creator of the universe is seen extending pardon to any and all who will call on the name of His son; this includes those whose hands were stained with the blood of Jesus shed on the cross! Only a Being capable of unconditional love could extend such a promise to those who had treated His Son so inhumanely, taking His life through such wicked and unlawful schemes! Yet, the Father loved them through it all and on Pentecost made good His promises of the Old Testament!
How God treats sinners is, in spite of our desire to understand, in some ways an unfathomable mystery to those of us. We can know WHAT He did, but it is impossible for us to understand HOW He did it! How God treats sinners is a mystery because He exhibits a degree of love that is only theoretical to us; He loves ALL men unconditionally!
1. What prophet did Peter cite first as having predicted the events of Pentecost?
2. What kind of hands did Peter say his audience had? Why did he refer to them that way?
3. What evidence is there in this story that God loves unconditionally?
4. Have you ever loved unconditionally? Have you ever been loved unconditionally? Do you think you are capable of extending unconditional love to every living person? Why or why not?
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