Joel 2:18–32, Acts 2:29–40,2 Peter 1:16–21
Joel is an interesting book in that there are no definitive elements to place. There are many events and practices that put it within a few centuries, but that the prophet does not define himself, nor does he seem to be responding to a particular king, it becomes open to interpretation.
Since it has withstood the test of time, however, we can presume that those that followed after the time of Joel recognized his words as prophetic and fulfilled. As with many quotations of the Old Testament used in the New Testament, there were some liberties in context that were not out of the norm, nor was it viewed as inappropriate.
Much of what we read from Joel was repeated by Peter to the Jews present at Pentecost. Joel’s words were intended to reassure the Jews that God was not gone and that God would come in a new (and old) way. It’s pretty clear that Peter felt the event of Pentecost qualified. Peter utilized the stories of Jesus to tie in David (the precursor of the new) to the Messianic reality that he (Peter) and the disciples had been experiencing.
There were obviously many hearts already softened to the Holy Spirit, as the response of, “what do we do,” led them repentance and baptism. Again Peter’s message to the Jews already had the hint of going beyond the Jews. “All who are far off” “As many as the Lord our God will call” It was enough, however, for Luke (the writer of Acts) to stop repeating Peter’s words, for the message had been heard and responded to.
Peter himself reflected on prophets. While he may have thought of Joel or David, he probably didn’t think of himself. This despite his own words being prophetic regarding to whom the church would preach and reach.
1) Why was Peter’s message so effective to the Jews who heard it?
2) If it is the same message delivered today (which we hope it is), why has it become so ineffective?
3) What are the similarities between the Jews hearing the message, and Peter delivering the message? What characteristic(s) might be the same?