Study Notes on Acts 2:37 – 41
The Resurrected Christ At Work

1) God is Sovereign AND Man is Responsible (2:22,23)

“God had both foreknown and foreordained that Jesus would be crucified, that still did not absolve of responsibility those who contributed to his death,” ESV Study Bible

 “you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” V 23b

  • Both Jews and Gentiles implicated

“Rome with its much vaunted system of justice revealing itself rotten at the core; Israel, with its celebrated temple and hierarchy, revealing itself hollow at its heart” Tom Wright

“At every stage of the process – Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, the trumped up charge, the kangaroo court, cynicism of the Jewish leaders, Pilate’s vacillation, cowardice and indifference to justice, the crowd baying for blood, the mocking of the soldiers, and one at least of those crucified along side him – Jesus path to his death had been marked by all kinds of evil … even this, all this, was what Israel’s God, the creator God, had determined what must take place.” Tom Wright

“If God was small enough for us to figure out, He wouldn’t be big enough for us to worship.” J. B. Phillips

2) Christ’s Resurrection Changes Things (2:24 – 36)

It was not possible for death to hold Christ

  • The wages of sin is death (Rom 3:23), Jesus had no sin of His own!

“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”” John 10:17,18

  • He who raised others from death could not remain dead himself

“for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” John 20:9

The resurrection was not an afterthought

The resurrection is best explained to those of a Jewish background, as being promised by God through King David – the one who has been raised from the dead is the rightful king of Israel.

  • As a prophet David speaks of a resurrection where the body has not seen any decay (v27), quoting Psalm 16:8 – 11
  • Yet David’s body did see decay (v29) – he was prophetically speaking of the Messiah (v30,31), and this resurrection happened to Jesus (v32)

Because He was resurrected Jesus could pour out His Spirit (v33)

  • Christ was raised to the second highest place in the Universe, the right hand of the Father
  • Peter said we have witnessed Jesus’ resurrection (v32), and you have witnessed the resurrected Jesus pouring put the Holy Spirit on His people (v33) – proof that Jesus is alive and ascended
  • The Father promised the Holy Spirit would come on His people, Christ in His resurrected position then pours out the Holy Spirit

3) The Peoples Response (2:37 – 41)

What could they do?

“Their question had a ring of desperation about it (cf. Acts 16:30). If the Jews had crucified their Messiah and He was now exalted, what was left for them to do? What could and must they do?” Bible Knowledge Commentary



“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

John the Baptist:

“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Mark 1:4


“From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:17

“To repent simply means to change direction. “You once thought Jesus was a blasphemer, a heretic, a dangerous individual,” said Peter. “Change your mind about who He is.” … the gospel is not based upon people cleaning up their lives or getting their acts together. The gospel is simply based upon a change of mind concerning Jesus Christ.” Jon Courson

  • You previously rejected Him – now trust Him!

“The gospel can be summarized in different ways. Sometimes faith alone is named as the one thing necessary for salvation (see John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9; Eph. 2:8–9), other times repentance alone is named (Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; 5:31; 17:30; 2 Cor. 7:10), and sometimes both are named (Acts 20:21). Genuine faith always involves repentance, and vice versa.” ESV Study Bible

Come Out From This Crooked Generation

“It wasn’t that their sending of Jesus to His death was an isolated act of folly or sin. It was the symptom of their rejection of God’s way. It was the sign of what Jesus had said many times: this generation is wicked and corrupt, heading for disaster.” Tom Wright

Respond to God’s Continued Call

“Everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself indicates that salvation is ultimately God’s work, and comes to those whom the Lord effectively calls into personal relationship with him.” ESV Study Bible

“Repentance and remission of sins are still preached to the chief of sinners, in the Redeemer’s name; still the Holy Spirit seals the blessing on the believer’s heart; still the encouraging promises are to us and our children; and still the blessings are offered to all that are afar off.” Matthew Henry