Video of this message is available on YouTube: Witnesses for the Prosecution – Acts 2:32-41
“Witnesses” (v. 32) are people who’ve seen or heard some-thing and testify that it’s true. The disciples had seen and heard “all” the things the Lord did before He died (Acts 10:39-41), and so were good witnesses that it was Him after He rose again. That’s why the Lord picked them (John 15:27).
But Peter didn’t know what Paul later learned, that He rose for our justification (Rom. 4:24). So he charged Israel with the Lord’s death and threatened them with His resurrection. Saying, “The one you killed is alive and coming back to get you!” And the disciples were witnesses for his prosecution.
“Exalted” (Acts 2:33) means to raise or elevate (Isa. 52:13,14). God “exalted” the Lord “with His right hand” (Acts 2:33) by setting Him at His right hand (Mark 16:19). To prove that, Peter quotes David (Acts 2:34). Earlier he quoted a psalm of David where he talked about rising from the dead before his body corrupted (Acts 2:25-31). Then he pointed out that David’s body was still in the grave, so he must have been talking about Christ. Now Peter’s quoting another psalm of David, one where he talked about sitting at God’s right hand. David couldn’t be sitting there if he was still in the grave, so again he must have been talking about Christ.
And if any of the Jews forgot that Psalm 110:1 ended by saying Christ would sit there till God made His enemies His footstool, Peter reminded them (Acts 2:35). The Jews loved that psalm, for it went on to say that God would conquer the Lord’s Gentile enemies (Ps. 110:5,6). But Peter was telling them that by crucifying the Lord they had joined the Lord’s Gentile enemies, and now He would return and judge them too! Just as Psalm 2:1-12 said He would do, to Jews as well as Gentiles.
Luke 20:9-16 predicted this also, a parable the Lord told about the Jews (Mt. 21:41-45). Of course, He couldn’t return and judge anyone unless He was Israel’s Christ, so Peter went on to say that He was (Acts 2:36). God declared that by setting Him at His right hand in the heavenly Zion (Ps. 2:5,6). The Jews knew Psalm 2 ended with advice to “kiss the Son” that they’d crucified, and that’s what Peter was telling them to do—and put their trust in Him, as the psalm also advised.
Peter called on them to “repent” (Acts 2:38), which means to change your mind about something. Preachers today quote that to tell sinners to change their mind about their individual sins. But Peter hadn’t mentioned those! He charged them with Christ’s death, wanting them to repent of that. He was quoting Joel’s call to “turn” (Joel 2:11-14).
Preachers say baptism isn’t for salvation, but Peter said it was (Acts 2:38) because the Lord said it was (Mark 16:16). That’s just not God’s message for today! Baptists also disagree with Peter when he said that if you get baptized you’ll get the Spirit in such a way you’ll speak in tongues, for they don’t believe in speaking in tongues. But all that confusion could be avoided if they’d just realize Peter was talking to Jews and their children (Acts 2:39). The “promise” was the Spirit (Acts 1:4,5), a promise God never made to Gentiles. Those “afar off” were Jews who were scattered when Israel disobeyed God (Dan. 9:7).
Peter told the Jews to save themselves from that generation in Israel (Acts 2:40) because they killed the Lord, and so God was going to judge them for the death of all the prophets (Lu. 11:50,51). He calls them “untoward” because he’s quot-ing how Moses called them “froward” (Deut. 32:19,20). Jews thought they were saved just because they were Jews, part of the nation of Israel, but that generation was “a froward nation” that God planned to provoke to jealousy with “a foolish nation” (Deut. 32:20,21,28). When the Lord quoted that (Mt. 21:43), most people think He meant to make that nation jealous by giving their kingdom to the Gentiles. But the Gentiles are many nations, not one. “The nation” (singular) that the Lord gave it to was His little flock (Lu. 12:32). Salvation used to be “of the Jews” (Jo. 4:22), but now it was of “the remnant” (Joel 2:32), so they had to get out of that nation and in Peter’s nation, the believing nation (I Pe. 2:9).
We don’t get 3,000 converts from one message today (Acts 2:41) for the same reason we can’t speak in tongues. We aren’t filled with the Spirit in the same way they were!