The First Message of the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ.

Act 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them dispersed tongues like as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them to speak out plainly. And there were residing at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 

   Now when this sound was manifested, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language.  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Look! Aren’t all these which speak Galilaeans? Then how do we hear every man in our own language, wherein we were born? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our languages the wonderful works of God.  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt,  saying one to another, what does this mean?  Others mocking said, these men are full of new wine.

   But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all that are residing in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words: For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is the third hour of the day (nine o’clock). But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

   And it shall come to pass, whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

   You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as you yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held by it.  For David speaks concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:  Because you will not leave my soul in Hades, neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the way of life; you will make me full of joy with your presence. Men, brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David; that he is both dead

and buried, and his sepulchre is with us to this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption.

   This Jesus has God raised up, to which we all are witnesses.

   Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make your foes your footstool.

   Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain, that God has made this same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both the Lord and the Christ.

   Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men, brothers, what shall we do?

   Then Peter said to them, ‘Let every one of you repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus the Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, yes, to as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying; ‘Be saved from this perverse generation’.

   Then they that gladly received his message were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.  

   This is the account of the first ever gospel message given after the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ.

   It describes how the disciples were obeying the command of the risen Lord Jesus to wait at Jerusalem until they received power from on High in the form of the baptism in the Holy Spirit;

Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, you have heard from me.  For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.

Acts 1:8 you will receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth. Peter was the disciple to whom Jesus promised in particular.

Matthew 16:19 And I will give to you (singular = Peter) the keys of the kingdom of heaven. John 16:13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, he shall speak: and he will show you things to come. He will glorify me: for he will receive of mine, and will show it to you.

   For these reasons this particular message of Salvation through the name of Jesus delivered by Peter under the anointing of the Holy Spirit is of unique importance. It was give on the day that the disciples received power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ by the one to whom Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven!

   No wonder three thousand of those that heard this and heard the miraculous sign of the speaking in their own diverse languages, seeing tongues of flame above the heads of the disciples; believed and obeyed.

   This message was inspired of the Holy Spirit and delivered by the one chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ with this message of repentance and remission of sins. Peter, an un-learned and illiterate fisher man.

   Similarly Paul later would write;

Gal 1:11  But I certify you, brothers, that the gospel which was preached of man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. This was not a message learned from  men, this was direct from heaven. The gospel that is by revelation of Jesus Christ.

   Peter straightaway directs the listeners to the prophecy of Joel and explains that what they see and hear is that prophesied by Joel.

 Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaids I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will give wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that

great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

   Peter then relates this to events that had just lately happened in Jerusalem. It must have been fresh in the minds of many of the hearers that on the day that Jesus was crucified there had been darkness over all the land from the sixth hour (noon) until the ninth hour (three in the afternoon.)  Matthew 27.45.

   Peter also has to let the hearers understand just what the name of the Lord is that Joel refers to. Who is this Lord? What is His name? How can one call on the name of the Lord and be saved if one does not know what the name of the Lord is?

   To fully understand this we need to know that to Israel at the time the name of the Lord God of Israel was considered too holy to be written or spoken. The nearest they got was when Moses asked the Lord God at the burning bush in Mount Sinai.

Exodus 3:13 And Moses said to God, look, when I come unto the children of Israel, and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they say to me, What is his name? What shall I say to them?  And God said to Moses, I AM the one that is: and He said, so shall you say To the children of Israel, the I AM has sent me to you. And God said moreover to Moses, So shall you say to the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my record to all generations.

   Jesus had come in His Father’s name:

John 5:43 I am come in my Father's name, and you don’t receive me: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive.

   Peter directs the hearers to the name of the Lord, Jesus the Christ.

Acts 2:22 You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as you yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held by it. 

Acts 2:32 This Jesus has God raised up, to which we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of  the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make your foes your footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain, that God has made this same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both the Lord and the Christ.

   So as this same Jesus is made both Lord and Christ, the name of the Lord by which men must be saved is ‘Jesus’. We should understand that the English form ‘Jesus’ is from the Greek form ‘Ysous’ which is from the Hebrew Yah’ishua which means I AM (YAH) Salvation (SHUA). It is not just a name like Fred or Arthur. As the apostle Paul was to say later; ‘God has given Him a name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.’ And Peter himself a little while later;

Acts 4:10 Let it be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus the Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him does this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

   At this point many of the hearers were pricked in their hearts and asked the question that is really the only correct response to hearing the good news of repentance and remission of sins; ‘What shall we do’?

   Then Peter said to them, ‘Let every one of you repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus the Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’  For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, yes, to as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying; ‘Be saved from this perverse generation’.

   John the baptizer had only a short while previously been declaring the news of the kingdom of God and warning the people to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. John was called by Jesus the greatest prophet ever born of woman. He was the forerunner preparing the way for Jesus who would baptize in the Holy Spirit and in fire.

   Remission of sins may not be something we have a good grasp of. 

   Remission is not the same as forgiveness.

  God was forgiving sins since the creation of mankind. He forgave His people Israel when they repented and returned to Him.

  The word of God became flesh so as the Lamb of God He would hang on the cross, be cursed for our sakes, and shed His blood in full payment for our sins.  For this reason remission of sins is in the name of Jesus the Christ.

  If I lend you £20,000 because you desperately need it, you might avoid me whenever you can. If I come to your door, you might hide behind the curtains. You might cross the street if you see me coming. You have a conscience about the debt you owe me.

   If I forgive you, because I know you can never repay the debt, you would be very happy that you no longer owed me the money. But you may still feel guilty about the fact that I never got the money back. You might still continue avoiding me when you had the opportunity.  If however, my son, who loves you, sees your debt, and works and saves very hard so he has the £20,000; and he then gives me the £20,000 to pay your debt to me; you are free from the debt. I have my money owed to me. You owe me nothing. You no longer feel you need to avoid me. Your conscience is clear. 

   And you love my son for what he has done for you!

John 20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” [And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

   The Lord Jesus the Christ, having paid the debt of sin on the cross, having been raised from the dead, Who has been given all authority and power, gives the gift of the Holy Spirit and delegates authority to remit sins in His name to His disciples. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost. Through repentance and baptism upon the name of Jesus Christ those who received the word had their sins remitted and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

   Saul of Tarsus was to be commanded by the Lord Jesus via the disciple Ananias in Damascus;

Acts 22:16 Now why do you wait? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

1Peter 3:21 the like figure whereunto baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

   Salvation – Shua which is associated with Shalom in Hebrew – is a much bigger word than mere escape from hell after you die. Salvation in the context of the good news of salvation includes reconciliation with God, washing away of sin, resurrection power in the baptism of the Holy Spirit into a new and eternal quality of life. Health, well being, peace, goodness, holiness and  the blessing of God.

Peter exhorts the hearers to be saved (shalom) from this perverse generation. And those who enthusiastically received his exhortation were baptized.  Consequentially they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and ‘they were added to them’.

Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.

John 17:3 This is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.

Will we gladly receive this message? Or will we rationalize and justify our rejection of this message? There is much at stake.

2Th 1:7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Colin Thompson, Gateshead, England. 

Comments welcome by email to colin@followingjesuschrist.co.uk

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