Pentecost: Peter’s Sermon, or The Story The Bible Tells (Acts 2:14-41)

Acts 2:14-41

There are a couple important things happening here in Peter’s sermon, which is arguably the first Christian sermon ever (at least recorded). First, Peter is telling the story of Jesus, but he is telling the story of Jesus as the conclusion or climax to the Story of Israel. Peter uses both the prophet Joel as well as the writings of David to talk about Jesus. Peter even goes so far as to quote the prophet Joel in verse 21 in a way that takes the Name of God, Yahweh, which was given to Moses at the Burning Bush, and uses it in reference to Jesus.

We can look at this in one of two ways. One way is to say something like Continue reading

Pentecost: The Tower of Babel and the Glory of God (Acts 2:5-13)

Acts 2:5-13

The story of Pentecost is partly a story about languages. As we read and think about this story, we cannot help but think that Jews would be reminded of another story—that of the Tower of Babel. In that story, found in Genesis 11:1-9, a group of people get together to build a tower that reaches into the sky, in order to bring glory to themselves and make themselves famous. In response, God gives them different languages and scatters them, so that they cannot plan together to bring glory to themselves and make themselves famous.

The story we are focusing on now is, in a sense, the flip side of the coin—the answer to the Tower of Babel. Continue reading