Wait, Let Me Explain…


Several years ago, I stood outside the temple in Jerusalem thinking about the message Peter delivered on Pentecost. I imagined him addressing the enormous gathering of people spread below the steps, many from foreign lands, everyone utterly confused about the chaos they were witnessing. That day, Peter offered the hard and beautiful truth of the gospel. I stood on the steps and thought, Wow, what a brave guy. But now, as I meditate on this passage, I realize brave is the wrong word. Peter was so moved by the spirit of God, and so committed to the life of following Jesus, that his actions demanded explanation.

  • How has being a Spirit-led follower of Christ made you a stranger to the world?


14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Based on the passage Peter quoted from Joel, what can we assume the followers of Jesus were doing?
  2. Read verses 22 and 32. What do these verses suggest about the public’s knowledge and perception of Jesus?
  3. How effectively did Peter explain the concept of Father, Son, and Spirit? Why might the crowd have had difficulty understanding or accepting this?
  4. What actions in your life demand an explanation from those who don’t follow Jesus?


This passage is convicting because we can forget how the Holy Spirit is still moving with such tremendous force in our lives, communities, and the world around us. The truth about being a Spirit-filled follower of Jesus is that the way we live our lives should demand an explanation from those who do not follow Jesus. That doesn’t (necessarily) mean prophesying and speaking in tongues on the temple steps. But it does mean we give, live, and worship with the intense and intentional purpose of glorifying God to all the nations. If that becomes our true disposition and mission, we will have some serious explaining to do.

  • Pray for an opportunity to explain why you live differently than the rest of our culture.