Peter’s Abridged Pentecost Sermon

Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 is considered by many believers to mark the beginning of “the church”, or Jesus’ ekklesia (Greek for “the called-out ones”).  If ever there were a time to given an exhaustive, word-for-word account of what was said, this would be it, for there is no more famous apostolic sermon than this one.  But here’s the record (below) as it reads from the book of Acts.  It can be recited in less than two and a half minutes, which is awfully short for a sermon for such an occasion.  Luke (the author) tells us, however, that it only represents a fraction of what was said.  Note the red boldface in its final paragraph below:

Acts 2:14 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. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘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.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

22 “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— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,[e] 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

For whatever reason, Luke did not endeavor to include the entire sermon in his history.  Perhaps it had not all been related to him.  Or perhaps he thought it served his purposes better not to quote it all.  As far as we know, a full transcript was generally available at the time and Luke didn’t see any need to copy the entirety of it into his account.  Regardless, however, we see that Luke here forthrightly acknowledges that his is not an entire account of what was spoken.

And so it is with a great deal of the Bible documents.  They simply do not purport to be exhaustive records of what was said and done.  Nor do they attempt to fully explain any particular doctrine or practice to the satisfaction of our otherwise ignorant 2012 society.  We must face the fact that much of the information about Jesus’ ekklesia is permanently lost to us.  We will likely never know the remainder of this sermon, nor any of a great number of other omitted events from the Bible, so long as we live on this earth.

For those who still hold that the Bible is “complete”, I challenge you to offer a reason that this sermon would be abridged.

 

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