Bible Class
Discussion Guide
by Edward Thomason

Peter's introduction
Acts 2:22-24

warm up

1. Do you think that when Peter mentioned the name "Jesus of Nazareth" his audience:
[  ] Had no idea who he was talking about [  ] Knew exactly who Jesus was
     [  ] Gasped in in agony as they thought about what they had done [  ] other

2. What thought presented by Peter in his opening remarks do you think would have caught the attention of the audience the most? Why?
     [  ] His reference to the miracles of Jesus?
     [  ] His reference to the fact that they had by wicked hands crucified him? 
     [  ] His reference that God had raised him up?

wise up

Peter began his sermon pointing to things that the audience knew and things they did not know. It would be Peter's purpose to prove (using scripture) the things that they did not know (primarily the resurrection.)

Things they already knew about Jesus (2:22, 23b)

   1. Vs 22.
Discuss  some of the miracles, wonders and signs that Jesus had done among the people during his life time? Here is a partial list given in Nave's Topical Dictionary: 

  • Water converted into wine. Heals the nobleman's son, the demoniac, Peter's mother-in-law. Cleanses the leper. Heals the paralyzed man, the immobile man. Restores the withered hand, the centurion's servant. Raises the widow's son to life at the village of Nain. Heals a demoniac. Stills the storm. Throws demons out of two men of Gadara (Gerasa). Raises the daughter of Jairus from the dead Cures the woman with the issue of blood. Restores two blind men to sight. Heals a demoniac. Walks upon Lake Galilee. Heals the daughter of the non-Jewish, Syro-Phoenician woman. Feeds more than four-thousand people.  Restores the deaf-mute man, a blind man, the epileptic boy. The temple tax money obtained from a fish's mouth. etc.

Which of the above miracles would have been more widely known? Was there any reason why Jesus should not have been recognized as a man of God among them? Even King Herod had heard about the miracles of Jesus (Luke 23:8.)

   2. Vs 23b, Peter also knew that "they knew" that they were responsible for having crucified and slain a man approved of God. Read Matthew 27:24-25. They had used the wicked hands of the Roman State to crucify Jesus, but the blood of Jesus was on their hands. Later in Acts 5:28, the hard hearted rulers of Jerusalem would deny that they were guilty of wrong preferring to hide their guilt rather than repent. But the people to whom Peter was preaching were more tenderhearted. Cf., 2:36-37. 

Things they did not know about Jesus( 2:23a, 24)

1. Vs 23a, The death of Christ was not a mistake, nor a delay in what Jesus had come to earth to do. It was the fulfillment of God's plan. (Acts 3:18, 4:26-28, 26:22-23.) Read Matt 26:53-54. Did Jesus have the power to prevent his death or would doing so, like Peter's efforts with his sword, just delay what "must" be? These are deep questions!
   Before his statement to Peter about what "must be," Jesus had prayed "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." (Mt:26:42.)  There was no avoiding what had to be done for the sake of mankind. Perhaps he could delay it, but he still had to suffer in order to both fulfill the scripture and obey God. The plan was predetermined but the Lord's choice was not. When Jesus finally died, it was because he "gave" his life in submission to the will of God? Cf., Matt 15:27, I John 3:16. The death of Christ was pre-determined as the means by which man would be saved but not pre-arranged. His death would be the fulfillment of prophecy and compliance with God's predetermined plan. But it was not inevitable. Jesus chose to obey God. (Phil 2:8.)
   Another question to consider might be: If the suffering and death of Jesus was pre-determined by God, why were those who crucified Jesus held accountable? Again, his death was pre-determined but not pre-arranged. God does not make people do immoral things. (James 1:13-14, 2 Pet 2:9.) Knowing the nature of man, God in his infinite wisdom knew that some thru jealousy, greed and ignorance would seek the death of his Son. But the choice to participate was always theirs to make.

   2. Vs 24, Here is the most important thing that this audience did not yet know. They had slain Jesus, but God had raised him up. This too was in fulfillment of scriptures as Peter would later explain in his sermon. What are the "pains of death" that God loosed when he raised up Jesus? (Could it be "death without hope? or fear of death? or the prospect of punishment?" Discuss.) Why was it "impossible" for death to hold Jesus? Cf., Vs 25. Was Peter saying that David's prophecy regarding Jesus "had to be" fulfilled? 

wrap up

Like most gospel preachers know, the interest and curiosity of Peter's listeners were enhanced as he began with things they knew and began to explain things that they were not yet aware of. 


  Please read Acts 2:25-36 for next week   copyright 2001