This is such an incredible chapter!
I don’t say that because I have been programmed to by my religious tradition that has exalted this chapter since the beginning of the Restoration Movement almost 200 years ago. They often championed this chapter as a blueprint for receiving Christ in a particular way. That is certainly in here, but that kind of reductionism misses the point.
Acts 2 is a sunburst of spiritual power. The original Great Awakening. It is the start of something new, though it was spoken of long ago (Acts 2:16-21). So many things we have been seeing are coming together here, and so many things will launch out from here. The Celts would have called this one of those “thin places” where heaven touches earth in an explosion of energy, awareness, ability, and change. Now that is a reason to exalt a chapter!
Amongst other points, this chapter is so wonderful because the apostles finally begin to get this kingdom Jesus has been talking about.
- They begin to see that “Death” is the real enemy that has to be vanquished not Rome, and that the battle was waged on a cross and in a tomb not in Judea (2:24, 27, 31-32)
- They were able to grasp that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise to David to have a descendent on the throne, but that this was a different sort of throne (2:30-31)
- They boldly claimed that “Jesus is Lord” (2:36) instead of saying “Caesar is Lord,” a common cry by the AD 60s when Acts was written if not in the AD 30s when the actual events took place. Somehow it was possible for Jesus to be Lord even while Caesar was on a throne.
- They were understanding that the greatest tyranny comes at the hands of Sin, and the greatest freedom is from this enemy (2:38, 40, 47)
- They were switching from a worldview that said Israel is our most important allegiance to seeing the fledgling collection of Jesus-followers as the Great Community (2:42-47)
Notice, they didn’t really get it in Acts 1. Now they begin to in Acts 2. What changed? What happened? The only thing that changed was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God. God is changing them from the inside out.
Let your Spirit come! Fall upon us now!