At Pentecost, the apostles were “all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). In Jerusalem, there were “Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven,” (2:5) who heard them speaking to them in their “tongues, the wonderful works of God” (2:11).
In response to some who mocked the apostles by saying, “These men are full of new wine” (2:13), Peter authoritatively explained that they were “not drunken” (2:14-15). He explained that rather God had poured His Spirit on them, as the prophet Joel had prophesied (2:16-21).
Because his hearers were devout Jews, Peter’s lengthy citation to them of this important OT prophecy communicated much more truth to them than just what the words that are recorded directly express. To these men who already knew the teaching of the book of Joel and no doubt much else that is in the OT, this citation forcefully confronted them with the truth of God’s future judgment in the Day of the Lord.
Peter ended his citation by saying, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (2:21). The flow of thought shows that this statement concerns salvation from the judgment that the Lord would bring in His Day.
Keeping this teaching in mind is vital for interpreting aright Luke’s final remark about Peter’s ministry at Pentecost: “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this untoward generation'” (2:40). In view of his earlier teaching, this lengthy exhortation for his hearers to save themselves must be understood as having in view their being saved from the judgment to come on “this untoward generation” in the Day of the Lord.
Moreover, earlier, Peter had climaxed his message by declaring that God has made Jesus Lord (Acts 2:36). The flow of thought throughout the record of Peter’s ministry at Pentecost, therefore, shows that in his final exhortation (2:40), he challenged his hearers to be saved from the judgment that Jesus in His Day will bring as the One who has been appointed as Lord.
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