Acts 2 contains the dramatic message of the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost. This day is the same as the Old Testament “Feast of Weeks” (Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:15,16). ‘Pentecost’ is the Greek word for ‘fiftieth’ – it occurred 50 days (7 weeks) after the Passover and was at the start of harvesting.

The climax of Peter’s message is to declare to those assembled, from many different countries, the great significance of what had happened at the Passover. These people, obviously Jews, had come great distances to worship.

At Passover time the jealous Priests had whipped these visitors (and others) into a frenzy to reject Jesus as a false Messiah. Remember that in the “forty days” (Acts 1:3) after Jesus’ resurrection Jesus only appeared to his followers. The last 2 chapters of John illustrate this was not done on a daily basis. Paul was aware there was one occasion when “he appeared to 500 brothers at one time” (1 Corinthians 15:6). We can reasonably imagine that all sorts of ‘unconfirmed sightings’ were in circulation.

What an impact the ability to speak in other languages would have had! The “mighty works of God” (verse 11) were being declared to each in their own language. Peter brings his speech to a climax, declaring, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (verse 36).

Many of the hearers were “cut to the heart” (verse 37). They “said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brothers, what shall we do?” and are told, “Repent and be baptised … save yourselves from this crooked generation. So those who received his word were baptised …” (verses 40,41) about 3,000 of them.

What is it to “receive” the message? It is a common word in the Greek, the repentant thief on the cross with Jesus acknowledged, “we are receiving the due reward of our sins” (Luke 23:41). The Greek word is often translated as “accept”. Paul was told when he returned to Jerusalem, “Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me” (Acts 22:18). Today, the main attitude is either scoffing or indifference. Few are like those of Berea who “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). How have you “received” God’s word, what effect is it having in your life?