Saturday, 9 April 2016

Acts 2:1-36

File:35r-Pentecôte.jpg
Little Hours of Anne de Bretagne

Acts 2:

  • starts with a description of Pentecost (verses 1-13);
  • gives an account of St Peter's preaching on the occasion (verses 14-36).
The day of Pentecost:

1 When the day of Pentecost came round, while they were all gathered together in unity of purpose, 2 all at once a sound came from heaven like that of a strong wind blowing, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then appeared to them what seemed to be tongues of fire, which parted and came to rest on each of them; 4 and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in strange languages, as the Spirit gave utterance to each. 5 Among those who were dwelling in Jerusalem at this time were devout Jews from every country under heaven; 6 so, when the noise of this went abroad, the crowd which gathered was in bewilderment; each man severally heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all beside themselves with astonishment; Are they not all Galileans speaking? they asked. 8 How is it that each of us hears them talking his own native tongue? 9 There are Parthians among us, and Medes, and Elamites; our homes are in Mesopotamia, or Judaea, or Cappadocia; in Pontus or Asia, 10 Phrygia or Pamphylia, Egypt or the parts of Libya round Cyrene; some of us are visitors from Rome, 11 some of us are Jews and others proselytes; there are Cretans among us too, and Arabians; and each has been hearing them tell of God’s wonders in his own language. 12 So they were all beside themselves with perplexity, and asked one another, What can this mean? 13 There were others who said, mockingly, They have had their fill of new wine.
 St Peter's homily:
Acts: 14 But Peter, with the eleven apostles at his side, stood there and raised his voice to speak to them; Men of Judaea, he said, and all you who are dwelling in Jerusalem, I must tell you this; listen to what I have to say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose; it is only the third hour of the day16 This is what was foretold by the prophet Joel: 17 In the last times, God says, I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and daughters will be prophets. Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 and I will pour out my spirit in those days upon my servants and hand-maids, so that they will prophesy. 19 I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and whirling smoke; 20 the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, great and glorious. 21 And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 
Stans autem Petrus cum undecim, levavit vocem suam, et locutus est eis: Viri Judæi, et qui habitatis Jerusalem universi, hoc vobis notum sit, et auribus percipite verba mea15 Non enim, sicut vos æstimatis, hi ebrii sunt, cum sit hora diei tertia: 16 sed hoc est quod dictum est per prophetam Joël:Et erit in novissimis diebus, dicit Dominus, effundam de Spiritu meo super omnem carnem: et prophetabunt filii vestri et filiæ vestræ, et juvenes vestri visiones videbunt, et seniores vestri somnia somniabunt. 18  Et quidem super servos meos, et super ancillas meas, in diebus illis effundam de Spiritu meo, et prophetabunt: 19  et dabo prodigia in cælo sursum, et signa in terra deorsum, sanguinem, et ignem, et vaporem fumi: 20  sol convertetur in tenebras, et luna in sanguinem, antequam veniat dies Domini magnus et manifestus. 21 Et erit: omnis quicumque invocaverit nomen Domini, salvus erit. 
Chyrsostom: Then he goes on with the prophecy, which has in it also something terrible. And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs [in the earth beneath].  In these words he speaks both of the judgment to come, and of the taking of Jerusalem. Blood and fire, and vapor of smoke. Observe how he describes the capture. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood. Acts 2:20 This results from the (διαθέσεως) internal affection of the sufferers. It is said, indeed, that many such phenomena actually did occur in the sky, as Josephus attests. At the same time the Apostle strikes fear into them, by reminding them of the darkness which had lately occurred, and leading them to expect things to come. Before that great and notable day of the Lord come. For be not confident, he means to say, because at present you sin with impunity. For these things are the prelude of a certain great and dreadful day. Do you see how he made their souls to quake and melt within them, and turned their laughter into pleading for acquittal? For if these things are the prelude of that day, it follows that the extreme of danger is impending. But what next? He again lets them take breath, adding, And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. Romans 10:13 This is said concerning Christ, as Paul affirms, but Peter does not venture as yet to reveal this....

Mark the sequence. First sons; just as David said, Instead of your fathers, were begotten your sons. Psalm 45:17 And again Malachi; They shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. And on my handmaidens, and on my servants. Malachi 4:6 This also is a token of excellence, for we have become His servants, by being freed from sin. And great is the gift, since the grace passes over to the other sex also, not as of old, it was limited to just one or two individuals, as Deborah and Huldah... 

And it shall come to pass, every one who shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Every one, he says: though he be priest (but he does not vet reveal the meaning), though bond, though free. For there is no male nor female in Christ Jesus, no bond, no free. Galatians 3:28 Well may it be so, for all these are but shadow. For if in king's palaces there is no high-born nor low-born, but each appears according to his deeds; and in art, each is shown by his works; much more in that school of wisdom (φιλοσοφια). Every one who shall invoke. Invoke: not any how, for it is written, Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord: but with (διαθέσεως) inward earnest affection, with a life more than commonly good, with the confidence which is meet. Thus far, however, he makes the discourse light, by introducing that which relates to faith, and that terrible which relates to the punishment. For in the invocation is the salvation.

Acts: 22 Men of Israel, listen to this. Jesus of Nazareth was a man duly accredited to you from God; such were the miracles and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves well know. 23 This man you have put to death; by God’s fixed design and foreknowledge, he was betrayed to you, and you, through the hands of sinful men, have cruelly murdered him. 24 But God raised him up again, releasing him from the pangs of death; it was impossible that death should have the mastery over him. 
22 Viri Israëlitæ, audite verba hæc: Jesum Nazarenum, virum approbatum a Deo in vobis, virtutibus, et prodigiis, et signis, quæ fecit Deus per illum in medio vestri, sicut et vos scitis: 23 hunc, definito consilio et præscientia Dei traditum, per manus iniquorum affligentes interemistis: 24 quem Deus suscitavit, solutis doloribus inferni, juxta quod impossibile erat teneri illum ab eo.
Chrysostom: Observe; what great matter was this, to say that He was sent from God? For this was the point which on all occasions both He and John and the Apostles were studious to show. Thus hear John saying: The same said unto me On whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and abiding on him, this is He. John 1:33 But Christ Himself does this to an extreme; Of Myself I am not come, He sent Me. John 7:28 And everywhere in the Scriptures this seems the point most studiously insisted upon. 

Therefore also this holy leader of the blessed company, the lover of Christ, the good shepherd, the man put in trust with the keys of heaven, the man who received the Spiritual Wisdom, when he has first subdued the Jews by fear; and has shown what great things have been vouchsafed to the disciples, and what a right they have to be believed, then first proceeds to speak concerning Him. 


Only think what boldness it was to say it, in the midst of the murderers— that He is risen! 


And yet he does not all at once say, He is risen; but what?— He came, says he, from God: this is manifest by the signs which— he does not yet say, Jesus Himself wrought: but what?— which God wrought by Him in the midst of you. He calls themselves as witnesses. A man proved (to be sent) from God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God wrought by him in the midst of you, as also ye yourselves know. 


Then, having fallen upon the mention of that their sacrilegious outrage, observe how he endeavors to quit them of the crime: Him, he says, being by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God delivered up: Acts 2:23 [adding however,] you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: for though it was predetermined, still they were murderers. 


[By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God:] all but using the same words as Joseph did; just as he said to his brethren; Be not angry one with another by the way: God sent me hither. Genesis 45:5, 24 It is God's doing. What of us, then? (it might be said,) it was even well done on our part. 

That they may not say this, therefore it is that he adds, By wicked hands you have crucified and slain...  And observe how everywhere they make it of great importance that the Passion should first be confessed. 

Whom God Raised Up Acts 2:24, says he. This was the great thing; and observe how he sets it in the middle of his discourse: for the former matters had been confessed; both the miracles and the signs and the slaying— Whom God, says he, raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be kept in its power...


St Peter's sermon continues:
25 It is in his person that David says, Always I can keep the Lord within sight; always he is at my right hand, to make me stand firm. 26 So there is gladness in my heart, and rejoicing on my lips; my body, too, shall rest in confidence 27 that thou wilt not leave my soul in the place of death, or allow thy faithful servant to see corruption. 28 Thou hast shewn me the way of life; thou wilt make me full of gladness in thy presence.29 My brethren, I can say this to you about the patriarch David without fear of contradiction, that he did die, and was buried, and his tomb is among us to this day. 30 But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised him on oath that he would set the sons of his body upon his throne; 31 it was of the Christ he said, foreseeing his resurrection, that he was not left in the place of death, and that his body did not see corruption. 32 God, then, has raised up this man, Jesus, from the dead; we are all witnesses of it. 33 And now, exalted at God’s right hand, he has claimed from his Father his promise to bestow the Holy Spirit; and he has poured out that Spirit, as you can see and hear for yourselves. 34 David never went up to heaven, and yet David has told us, The Lord said to my Master, Sit on my right hand, 35 while I make thy enemies a footstool under thy feet.36 Let it be known, then, beyond doubt, to all the house of Israel, that God has made him Master and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

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