The time of the Holy Spirit is the time of the eschatological kingdom. He ushered into time and place the salvation of Israel. Peter responds to the hecklers who claimed the disciples’ actions resulted from some sort of inebriation. The occasion perfectly arranged by the Spirit presents opportunity for Peter to fulfill his primary responsibility to become a public witness and preacher of Jesus. Peter boldly preaches the kingdom inauguration. Peter’s sermon is the inaugural event of the kingdom. After faithfully waiting for the Holy Spirit to accelerate the work of the kingdom, God’s work begins. A sermon signals the inaugural and prophetic fulfillment of an aeon old promise.
The prophesy quoted from Joel expresses two important realities. First, the coming of the Holy Spirit fulfills, rather than changes, the kingdom expectations foretold in the Old Testament. Second, the source for proclaimed truth is the people at large rather than the priesthood. Separation between the Temple and the arrival of the eschatological kingdom serves Luke’s theological purpose indicating that the Temple will not remain the center of the new kingdom’s universe. God is on the move. Living with God occurs everywhere and on the go rather than in the Temple and one locale.
The chief sign of the kingdom’s arrival and the infilling of the Holy Spirit is prophesy, dreams and visions among God’s people. The repetition of the prophetic response to the Holy Spirit’s presence among the people in general signals Luke’s point that the fascinating work of the Spirit occurs when the people proclaim their faith rather than when miracles flow forth. In fact, while the reporting of tongues becomes sparser throughout Acts, preaching and prophetic utterance does not. Especially with Paul, preaching becomes his primary act. Eschatological living means preaching the Word.