This Jesus…being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:32–33

The miraculous events wrought in Jerusalem by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost indicated to the disciples that Jesus Christ, the Messiah Savior, had indeed taken His place at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

With Jewish critics all around, Peter lifted his voice and said that all who were in Jerusalem on that day were seeing the fulfillment of prophecy—the words of Jesus that He would send the Holy Spirit after His death and resurrection and exaltation.

“Therefore,” Peter cried, “let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

Many, many have failed to note Peter’s Pentecostal emphasis: The important thing in God’s plan was the fact that Jesus had been exalted in heaven, and that His glorification there had been the signal for the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. What a lesson! The Spirit does not have to be begged—He comes when the Savior is honored and exalted!

Father, Your Spirit dwells in all those who receive Your gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. What a power source we possess! Lord, awaken Your Church to this reality today, I earnestly pray![1]

  1. “This Jesus God raised up, and all of us are witnesses of it. 33. Therefore, having been exalted to God’s right hand, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you now both see and hear.”

In these two verses Peter notes the redemptive facts of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension in conjunction with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In fact, he refers to the three Persons of the Trinity: the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Three times in his Pentecost sermon he emphatically points to Jesus as this Jesus (see vv. 23, 32, 36) to recall for his audience their knowledge of and acquaintance with Jesus of Nazareth (v. 22). Once again Peter stresses the theme of the early Christian church: the resurrection from the dead (v. 24; and see 13:30, 33–34, 37; 17:31).

In verses 32 and 33, Peter makes a distinction between the apostolic witnesses (“all of us are witnesses”) who have seen the resurrected Jesus and the multitude who observe the phenomena of Pentecost (“what you now both see and hear”). In another context, Peter states that Jesus appeared only to those witnesses “who were appointed beforehand by God” (10:41). Conversely, the multitude at Pentecost did not see the resurrected Christ; they saw and heard the visible and audible tokens of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Because Peter’s audience had not seen Jesus in the forty-day period between his resurrection and ascension, they needed proof that what the eyewitnesses proclaimed was true. Therefore, they wanted to know the relationship between Jesus’ resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. To meet the questions of his audience, Peter alludes to Jesus’ ascension and mentions Christ’s place at the right hand of God (compare 5:31). Christians eventually formulated these truths in the Apostles’ Creed and confessed that Jesus Christ

ascended to heaven,

and sits at the right hand

of God the Father almighty.

From his exalted position, Jesus has fulfilled the promise that the Father would send the Holy Spirit (refer to John 7:39; 14:26; 15:26). On the day of Pentecost Jesus’ words concerning the coming of the Spirit are being fulfilled. Consequently, everyone present at the temple area in Jerusalem is able to see the evidence of the outpouring of the Spirit. The listeners must know, therefore, that Jesus, seated at the right hand of God, has the authority to commission the Spirit to come and live in the hearts of the believers.

Peter approaches the end of his sermon, and at last he answers the crowd’s question, “What does this mean?” (v. 12). That is, the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus as a gift from the Father has come because of Jesus’ authority to send the Spirit. Peter tells his audience that Jesus indeed ascended and took the seat of honor next to God the Father.[2]

2:32, 33 Now Peter repeats an announcement that must have shocked his Jewish audience. The Messiah of whom David prophesied was Jesus of Nazareth. God had raised Him from among the dead, as the apostles could all testify because they were eyewitnesses to His resurrection. Following His resurrection, the Lord Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God, and now the Holy Spirit had been sent as promised by the Father. This was the explanation of what had happened in Jerusalem earlier in the day.[3]

[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 100–101). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1586). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.


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