Apr 23 – 2 Easter
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Peter Addresses the Crowd
Background: The Acts of the Apostles is the second portion of Luke’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry and details the formation and growth of Christianity. This account begins immediately following Jesus’ resurrection and ends with Paul’s demise in Rome. The beginning portion of this book delineates the growth of the Christian cult from Judaism.
Theme: This week’s passage is the second installment of Peter’s first sermon. He is speaking to a crowd following Pentecost – historically, the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples. In the first portion, Peter defends the Disciple’s actions as inspired and not a “drunken delirium.” In this Portion Luke uses Peter to lay out the basis for the remainder of this book.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Acts 2:14-32.
* Briefly describe the setting of this passage. What has happened leading up to this passage? Where does this passage take place?
* What do you think Peter chose to refer to the Israelites as “you” in his sermon? Wouldn’t he be one of the Israelites?
* What activities do you think Luke attributes to God in this passage? How does this attribution mesh with the message of the Old Testament and the life of Jesus and his claims to the people?
* It can be claimed that this passage is focused on God and God’s activity in humanity. Why might Luke have emphasized the trial of Jesus and the human misguidedness in light of God’s activity?
* What do you think Luke is referring to when he talks about the “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:20)?
* Do you think that Jesus was “a prophet like Moses” as Luke claims in Acts 3:22-23? Why might Luke make this allusion or claim about Jesus?
* Why are the Israelites told to “repent” so “[their] sins might be wiped out”? What do you think it means to “repent”? Do you think repenting is essential to having your sins wiped out?
* What might the implication be of Luke’s statement “first to you” in verse 26? Do you think that might have a different meaning for the Jews than it did for Christians?
* Why might Luke have claimed the Israelites were ignorant about Jesus? Not simply the ignorance of the rulers who wanted to do away with Jesus but also the people who were in Jerusalem?
* Do you think that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham as claimed in verse 25b?
* What do you think the writer of Acts had in mind when they spoke about Hades/Sheol in verse 31? Do you think Hades/Sheol was considered a destination for everyone who dies or was that place limited to a certain group of people?
* Do you think Luke was trying to take a different approach to Jesus’ quote of Psalm 22 while hanging on the cross (“…why have you forsaken me?)? Why or why not?
* What are the practical applications of this passage for us at St. John’s?