Acts 2:15

Friday, 5 November 2021

For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. Acts 2:15

Note: You can listen to today’s introduction courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

With the accusation that the disciples were simply “full of new wine,” Peter stood up to defend against their words. The previous verse noted that his address was to those of Judea and who dwell in Jerusalem. It is to them he says, “For these are not drunk.”

The verb is present tense. One might say, “these are not drunken,” “these are not inebriated,” or “these are not filled with intoxication.” What is being seen is not a state of being overcome by sweet wine at all. Peter is obviously referring to all of the disciples and not merely the eleven who stood with him. More than twelve languages and dialects were spoken, meaning that it was all of them who gathered, and all of them were being accused of joining in a big party of reveling. As Peter next says, “as you suppose.”

The supposition may have been that they were following along with the custom of rejoicing in the presence of the Lord, as directed by Moses in Deuteronomy 14, as they ate and drank their tithes in His presence. And from that night of fun, they just kept on going into the next day. This would probably not be uncommon, and so the charge leveled against them would be something as simple as, “Boy, they’ve been partying all night and they are still going strong.”

The gathering at the pilgrim feasts was a time to unwind, greet old friends and meet new ones, and to also enjoy dancing and singing. However, Peter next says that what they suppose is, at least for them, flawed thinking. He says, “since it is only the third hour of the day.”

The third hour is 9am in the morning. The synoptic gospels present the timing of the day in this fashion. For example, Mark records the hour of the crucifixion as 9am –

“Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. 26 And the inscription of His accusation was written above:
THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Mark 15:25, 26

Mark then goes on to say that when the sixth hour came there was darkness until the ninth hour. That corresponds with Luke’s account as well –

“Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:44-46

Luke records Peter’s words which state that this is the same hour of the day, the third hour, or 9 am. Peter says that this is not the hour for being drunk. Rather, what is occurring is something entirely different. Several verses follow this line of thinking. First, Isaiah shows that those who follow the practice of early morning drinking are living in futility because that sets the tone for the entire day and into the night –

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
That they may follow intoxicating drink;
Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!” Isaiah 5:11

Later, Paul will clearly indicate that those who get drunk do so at night. His words do not mean that people don’t get drunk during the day. People drink whenever they drink. Rather, he is equating being drunk to spiritual slumber. Night is then equated with not being spiritually alert –

“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 7

Paul is using a general theme to set a principle concerning being alert. It is a thought that he presents to those at Corinth concerning the Lord’s Supper –

“For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.” 1 Corinthians 11:21, 22

He uses the same word, translated as “drunk” that Peter now uses. Paul tells them that if they want to imbibe, to do so at home. Church attendance is to be a time of sobriety and alertness. This is the thought also conveyed by Peter. “We are not drunk! It is the morning, and we are all perfectly alert.” With that understood, he will continue his discourse.

Life application: There is a time and a season for all things. The Lord set the pilgrim feasts as a time of rejoicing and partaking in the abundance of what He had provided for the people. For the believers at this feast, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The demonstration of the Spirit was something that was to alert the people of Israel to the finished work of Christ and that something new and extraordinary was happening.

And this should be the same for those who come to Christ even today. There should be a change in mind, in direction, and in hope. It should be evident to all around that something extraordinary has happened. Obviously, spiritual highs cannot last forever, but there should be an increased maturity in each person as he continues his walk in Christ.

The outward display of tongues was a sign to Israel. The change in the believer’s life should be a sign to those around him as well. Let us be set apart to the Lord so that those around us see the difference and then want to know what it is that makes us different. Paul says –

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:18-21).

In this, we will be proper examples to others of the change that has taken place in our lives.

Heavenly Father, may we make the most of our time, bringing glory and honor to Your name through our conduct. Not everyone considers the importance of a relationship with You. But there are times when the lives of others fall apart. It is during those times that they will look for answers. When that happens, may they remember our conduct and come to us to find out about the hope we possess. So, Lord, help us to live rightly now and always for when such times arise. Amen.