The impact of these words can hardly be imagined by you and me. The one for whom all the Jews of ages past had longed and prayed had now arrived, only to be crucified by the very ones for whom He came.
The last words of Peter were “Whom ye crucified,” now they knew in truth whom they had crucified. Can we not attempt to stand in the place of the persons who heard these words? They crucified the Messiah. And yet it had been predicted by God that the Christ would thus suffer. This did not lessen their personal guilt. To whom should they turn? Could they dare now to look to God, seeing that the blood of His only begotten Son was upon their hands? They were in desperate need of forgiveness, but how to obtain it was the question unanswered in their burdened hearts. It is natural then to hear that cry rising spontaneously from the multitude: “Brethren, what shall we do?” What should they do for what? What was their conscious need? It was for forgiveness that they cried.
We now notice the instruction and exhortation given by Peter in answer to the conviction and inquiry of the Jews.
Peter makes a direct and unhesitating answer to the question. He tells them exactly what they “must do” to be forgiven or to secure the remission of their sins. Says the apostle, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins.” How can it be thought that baptism has no connection with the forgiveness of sins when Peter answers the question of forgiveness after this fashion?
(A complete study on the connection of baptism with the remission of sins is given by J. W. McGarvey in his New Commentary On Acts, Vol. I, pages 243-262).
Peter informs the guilty multitude that in addition to the boon of forgiveness by repentance and baptism they were to receive a gift from God, nothing less than the “Holy Spirit.” He further tells them that this promise of remission and the gift of the Holy Spirit was expressly provided for them, for their children, and to all that were afar off (doubtless referring to the Gentiles), even as many as the Lord our God shall unto Him. As to how God thus called these persons unto Himself we can best answer by reading the rest of the book and noting that God called Jew and Gentile unto Himself through the preaching of the gospel. (Cf. II Thessalonians 2:14).
We have just noted the words of instruction in verses thirty-eight and thirty-nine; we now note the words of exhortation in verse forty. It was not enough to simply ‘state in so many words. the terms of pardon, for those listening had no previous knowledge of this plan of salvation by the grace of God. Hence, we find in verse forty the thought that Peter . spent no little time, and no small . amount of words, “testifying and exhorting” concerning this great salvation. Without doubt’ he outlined the’ plan of redemption through the death, of Christ. His words on this portion Of the message could, be considered words of testimony or a logical presentation of the soul saving facts: of the gospel,, Then in words of exhortation, or. earnest appeal, he urged them to repent and be baptized and thus appropriate the blood of Christ. By. saying “Save yourselves from this crooked generation” Peter no doubt was referring to what he said in verse thirty-eight when he demanded: action of them in . the form of repentance and baptism. As to being saved “from this crooked generation” it evidently points to the fact that the generation as a whole was eternally lost, and that they should save themselves from it, as from a “sinking ship:
And finally, the obedience and addition of those who received the word. The “receiving of the word” can be understood in the sense that they determined to follow his word and comply with its demands, hence we. find them being baptized.
That 3,000 souls were baptized upon this occasion has posed to some a problem as to the sufficiency of water, time, etc. All of these difficulties are set. aside, however, through a careful consideration of certain historical facts of the city of Jerusalem,
As to the latter portion of the forty-first verse, we can say in the words of Adam Adcock:
“When nothing exists, only, God ban originate it by creation. To form the human race” out of nothing, God had to make the first man and the first woman. To bring the , church of Christ into being, . the Lord created the first Christians on Pentecost by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. It is no wonder that `the multitudes were confounded’ and `were all amazed and marveled’ and `were perplexed.’ Nothing like this occasion ever happened before or again since God rolled the world into space. To speak of Pentecost as the birthday’ of the church is a misnomer, improper, nothing can be born without antecedents. or precedents in kind. Adam and Eve had no antecedents in kind; neither had the church. The church is the new creation, The human race was originated in the first pair; the church was created in the first Christians, the original twelve apostles. To say that the church was `born’ on Pentecost is to use an inadequate figure; to say that the church was created is to give a proper description of its origin. But the Lord creates only when it is necessary, Creation in process is not identical with birth. There is no indication that the Twelve ever had any baptism in water but John’s, The first father and the first mother had to be created; all other human beings are born. The church was created in the apostles as the first Christians; all other Christians come into being by thenew birth. Creation is essentially miraculous; birth, old or new, is always by operation of law.” (Acts Analyzed, pages 28, 29).
And thus the 3,000 were added to the church created. They were born into the family of God “by the water and the spirit”, in contrast the apostles were created as the first members of God’s family.
42 The final word as to the results of Peter’s sermon can be found in the fruit of faithfulness, The gospel so took hold of the lives of those first converts that they continued steadfastly in worship to God. This worship was expressed in the four items of: (1) the apostles’ teaching, (2) the fellowship, or partnership with one another in the common cause, (3) the breaking of bread, or the Lord’s Supper, and (4) the prayers.
Bible Study Textbook