14 Then Peter stood up with the 11 apostles. In a loud voice he spoke to the crowd. “My fellow Jews,” he said, “let me explain this to you. All of you who live in Jerusalem, listen carefully to what I say. 15 You think these people are drunk. But they aren’t. It’s only nine o’clock in the morning! 16 No, here is what the prophet Joel meant. 17 He said, “ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Holy Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will have dreams. 18 In those days, I will pour out my Spirit on my servants. I will pour out my Spirit on both men and women. When I do, they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above. I will show signs on the earth below. There will be blood and fire and clouds of smoke. 20 The sun will become dark. The moon will turn red like blood. This will happen before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ (Joel 2:28–32)
Here we see Peter speaking to everyone living in Jerusalem. His audience would be made up from merchants, Roman soldiers and officials, their families and slaves who were stationed in the city to keep order. The Holy Spirit gives him the words to say that would reach the crowd. His sermon is logical, powerful, and he quotes from Joel 2:28-32a. The first thing Peter does is to deny that they were drunk; it was only 9 am. On this feast day, the Jews wouldn’t eat or drink until 10 am. Peter explains what has happened, that this is the beginning of the ‘last days’. He makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is for everyone, all ethnicity, genders, age, rank or station. He explains three gifts that God would use to speak directly to people, through other people; prophesy, seeing visions and having dreams. They would not be just for special people, but now everyone would start manifesting these gifts. He also speaks about signs in nature that would announce the coming of the ‘day of the Lord’.
Peter then declares ‘that whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved’. This verse brings hope to the hopeless, life to those dead in sin, and forgiveness to those struggling under the burden of their sins. God’s plan of salvation is inclusive, He will save a dying thief, a prostitute, a tax cheat, hardened soldiers, self-righteous religious people, people possessed by demons, wealthy people who have everything this world can offer, absolutely everyone. Thank you Lord Jesus that you drew me to a place where I called on Your name to be saved from my sin. That you paid my price, and that You died and rose again for me.
Written by Cath Croft