Jean II Restout, Pentecost, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


Acts 2:1–42

For Younger Missionaries


  • Do we have the power of the Spirit of which Peter spoke? How is it manifest today?
  • In what ways are people today asking, “what shall we do”? Would Peter still give them the same answer?
  • What is the promise of the Lord (to which Peter refers in verse 39)? Is that promise still alive? How would it be to see our ward “added to daily”?


Responding to the resurrected Lord’s thrice-repeated injunction to “Feed my sheep,” Peter took vigorous command of his assignment. Moving quickly to fill the vacancy created in the Council of the Twelve by Judas’ death, Peter and his brethren were prepared on the day of Pentecost for the promised outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord. This fiftieth day after Passover had traditionally been celebrated in Israel as the “Feast of the Harvest” (Exo. 23:16) or “Day of the Firstfruits” (Num. 28:26). Now it is remembered as the day the Lord sent with “cloven tongues like as of fire” his benefaction upon the Church and the harvesting of souls about to begin.

Indeed, it literally marked the firstfruits of Peter’s missionary labors. So powerful was his witness of these manifest wonders of Christ that fully 3,000 souls were “pricked in their heart” and accepted Peter’s invitation to “Repent, and be baptized … in the name of Jesus Christ … and … receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37–38). Days later his message of “Repent ye therefore, and be converted” was heard in Jerusalem, and 5,000 more believed (Acts 3:19; 4:4). Sacred writ contains few accounts of missionary powers like these. Wherever he went, men and women heard a testimony kindled by the revelations of God.

Of course, the tidal wave of conversion that swept Jerusalem under Peter’s direction aroused the anger and fear of both Sadducee and Pharisee. But Peter’s compelling declarations could not be silenced. In prison he overwhelmed his accusers with a piercing testimony of Jesus and found himself set free by angels as well as by mortal men. Such powers stunned Jewish lawyers who marveled at these “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13). They did not understand that in the gospel of Jesus Christ those have never been synonymous terms. The Spirit of the Lord attended the Twelve wherever they met, shaking both body and building with its power. Multitudes were brought to them and they were healed “every one” (Acts 5:16). Faith in Peter’s faith brought the sick into the streets on their beds of affliction “that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them” (Acts 5:15). One wonders if there is a single written line in any other record that stands as a greater monument to the faith and power of one mortal man bearing the holy priesthood of God….

With his own sense of urgency, Peter aggressively defied the injunction not to teach in the name of Christ and he returned again and again to the temple, where his safety was never secure…. Peter testified plainly, “We ought to obey God rather than men…. We are his witnesses of these things” (Acts 5:30, 32). Imprisoned and beaten, forbidden to speak, Peter was as irrepressible as Abinadi of old. He and his brethren rejoiced that they were “counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:41–42).

As its prophet, seer, and revelator, Peter soon led the Church into its boldest and most fruitful venture, fulfilling Jesus’ commission to “go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15.) In unhesitating response to divine manifestation, he opened the work of salvation to the gentiles of every nation. “God is no respecter of persons,” he declared to the converted Roman soldier, Cornelius, “but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:35). When tradition-bound Jewish converts objected, Peter disarmingly replied, “What was I that I could withstand God” (Acts 10:17)….

In a final moment of instruction before his ascension, Jesus had warned Peter of the course that lay before him. “When thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not” (John 21:18). That was, quite literally, part of what it meant for Peter to follow him. Christian tradition has suggested that Peter was executed by crucifixion but with his head downwards, lest he appear to be presuming in life or in death to be equal to the Savior he adored (Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Lengthening Shadow of Peter,” Ensign, Sep. 1975, 30).


Peter preaches and is arrested


Our Heavenly Father’s Plan


  • Do you see all your friends as real children of God—just like you? How can you help them know who they are?
  • Do you understand the Plan of Salvation well enough to explain it to a friend in simple terms?
  • Did Jesus suffer for the sins of your friends who are not members of the church? (Hint: yes)


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