Crafting a sermon is not easy. In many pastor’s conferences they will refer to “blood, sweat and tears” when teaching “preaching”. Included in that will be study, diligence and prayer. I personally prefer to preach through a book of the Bible, some might prefer topical sermons. A basic sermon will have an Introduction, a Body and an Application. None of those three ingredients are easy to build, though the Introduction and Application might be the hardest. The reason I say this is because the Body’s information can be collected from various books, commentaries and dictionaries on the original text. Don’t misunderstand me, the Body is hard work, but introducing the subject matter and then applying it to the people the pastor teaches, at least once every Sunday, is extremely hard work and even challenging because you want to capture the attention of the congregation from the word go with the intention of holding them captive until you apply the message by saying in the application … “this is why you need to go and do now”. Luke does not provide us with a detailed account of the sermon, word for word, from start to finish. What he does is give us the basic information the sermon contained. So far we have considered his Introduction
Ac 2:14 “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!”
From here he transitions into the Body of the sermon by explaining what he means by … “let me explain this to you” by drawing from what Joel prophesied in verses 17 to 21. Using that as a springboard, he then transitions to pointed preaching by saying
Ac 2:21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
This sentence is not just a challenge, it is an encouragement and an invitation to respond to what he is about to preach … which would be the second matter of the Body.
1) Peter focuses on the people present. He calls them “men of Israel. Normally the men would gather at the temple and events as was taking place … people hearing the Gospel Message in their native languages. This does not mean to say women were not present … but the normal method of addressing the masses was in the masculine. As Christianity gained momentum, the apostles started speaking to “brothers and sisters”. This body of people were all Jews and Jewish Proselytes.
2) Then Peter introduces the main reason and purpose for the amazing happening at this Pentecost
Ac 2:6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
Ac 2:11 we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
They asked the question …. “What does this mean?” Now Peter is ready to tackle that question head on!
Ac 2:22 “listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
(1) The intent of “listen to this” literally means “listen up”, “pay close attention” … “you need to understand what happened to have your question answered.”
(2) Jesus of Nazareth. By now, the locals and maybe some of the visitors (foreigners) had heard of Jesus and what happened to Him some 50 days ago (death, burial and then His body was not found). Couple this with “Nazareth”. Nowhere in the Old Testament is it written that Messiah would come from Nazareth … but we do read:
Mt 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
Verse 23 … “So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’” It was not written as part of the Old Testament but the prophets said it! Peter wants the people to know categorically who he is preaching about.
(3) Jesus was a man. This does not imply that Jesus was not the Godman. It does not negate Jesus being God incarnate! Peter as he is inspired cleverly adds the term “man” because man sinned and man needed to pay the sin price. If Jesus was just a theophany or a vision or an idea, there would be no Gospel.
(4) Jesus, the man from Nazareth was accredited by God to them. The word “accredited” is far more than being approved by God. It means Jesus is the Authentic One that God sent as Messiah and He proved this by doing spectacular things through Him to prove and authenticate Him as Messiah … miracles, wonders and signs. During the three years of ministry before the Cross Jesus authenticated Himself as Messiah by what He did.
(5) Now Peter starts his pointed parts … which God did among you through him. God did these things through Jesus in their presence. Many of them saw and experienced these events.
(6) Then Peter gets provocative … as you yourselves know. He is saying they have the vision evidence and cannot deny it … and they know he is right!
(7) Jesus, the man from Nazareth, once He completed His earthly ministry was crucified!
Ac 2:23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
Judas Iscariot handed Jesus to the Jews … but this was part of God’s plan. Although it was God’s plan, Judas is responsible and accountable for his deed. God’s set purpose refers back to Genesis chapter 3:15. God was not caught unawares by the Cross. It was His plan … actually, the Cross was God’s rescue plan for the elect. The locals together with the Romans (wicked men) executed Jesus by … nailing him to the cross. As pointed and as provocative as this is … it was God’s plan!
Father, as we study this sermon, help us to appreciate the Gospel and help us to follow the sequence so that went called to, we will be able to present the Gospel authoritatively. Amen.