How Pierced Hearts Become Glad Hearts – Acts 2:14-41: Reflection Guide

Key Terms

Peter – One of the original 12 disciples and the writer of 1 & 2 Peter; Peter famously confessed Jesus as the Christ (Mt 16:16) but later denied knowing Jesus three times after Jesus’ arrest (Mt 26:69-75). However, Jesus restored Peter and chose him to be one of the prominent leaders in the early church (Jn 21:15-19).

The Day of the Lord – A term used throughout the Bible that refers to the day when God will judge the world and deliver his people from sin and its effects in the world (see Isa 13:6, 9; Jer 46:10; Joel 2; 1 Thess 5:10).

David – Israel’s greatest king and the writer of more
than 70 of the Psalms; God made a promise to
David, called the Davidic Covenant, that God would preserve David’s dynasty forever (2 Sam 7:8-16).


After the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-4, Jesus’ disciples began proclaiming the mighty works of God (v. 11) and thousands of people who had come to Jerusalem for Pentecost heard them speaking in their own native language. However, the people were confused about what they were seeing and so in verse 14 Peter gets up to explain to the people what is taking place. Peter begins by quoting Joel 2:28-32, which was written 300-900 years prior and promises that one day God will give his Spirit to all of his people and they will do incredible things by his Spirit. Peter tells the crowd that what they are witnessing is Joel 2:28-32 being fulfilled. Peter then shifts to talk about Jesus, telling the crowd that though God’s people did not accept Jesus and wanted him killed, God raised Jesus from the dead, which shows that Jesus was the Holy One David wrote and prophesied about in the Psalms (Ps 16:8-11). Peter concludes his sermon by calling on the people to repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (v. 38). Luke finishes the story by recording that around 3,000 people believed in Jesus and were baptized on that day.

Going Deeper

Read Luke 15. This chapter of Luke’s Gospel records Jesus teaching on repentance by using three parables. How do these parables illuminate the repentance God desires from those who follow him?

Did you know?

The Greek word for repent is μετανοέω, which is a compound of two Greek words μετα (“after” or “with”) and νοέω (“to perceive” or “to understand”).

Literally the word means something like “after understanding,” but in the 1st century it was commonly used to refer to “changing one’s mind.” The New Testament uses repent to describe the act of bringing all aspects of one’s life under the rule of God.

Reflection Questions

Learning the Word

  1. Read Acts 2:14-41. Describe how you would portray this scene if you were a film director trying to accurately capture what happens (setting, sights, sounds, etc).
  2. In verses 17-21, Peter quotes from a mysterious passage of the Old Testament prophet Joel showing that the Holy Spirit’s arrival was a fulfillment of ancient promises. How do these verses demonstrate that all kinds of people will have access to God’s Spirit?
  3. Peter’s gospel presentation includes what four specific accomplishments of Jesus? Verse 22 – __________________________________________________
    Verse 23 – __________________________________________________
    Verse 24-31 – __________________________________________________Verse 33 – __________________________________________________
  4. In verses 38-40, Peter lists two visible demonstrations of saving faith and two promised gifts given to those who are saved. What are they?
  5. What impact does Peter’s gospel presentation have on those who heard it?

Living the Word

  1. Why does being “cut to the heart” with the gospel and repentance accompany saving faith in Christ?
  2. In our study, what evidences do you see of God’s love for all people and the availability of salvation for all people?
  3. How does the truth of verses 39-41 stir your heart for lost people in your neighborhood, our city, and our world?

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