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Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment Running Head: INTERTEXTURE ANALYSIS OF ACT 2 AND LEADERSHIP EMPOWERMENT

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment Wilbur A. Reid Regent University

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

Abstract Peter utilized prophecies in scripture to effectively introduce skeptical Jews to the idea of Jesus as the messiah in a sermon to thousands on the day of Pentecost. Beginning with Joel, Peter describes the unusual events that the people are witnessing. Later, he uses the words of David to illustrate the messiah would suffer and die, but not be left in the grave. Finally, he utilizes another Psalm of David to say that the same Jesus that they crucified is now sitting at the right hand of God. Contemporary leadership theories of servant leadership and organizational change can be compared to this passage to understand how Peter, the disciples, and the Holy Spirit effectively brought about change to the world.

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

The beginning of the church of Christ on the day of Pentecost marked a transition from the old covenant to the new covenant (Lunan, 1984). It was a dramatic event that was marked by rushing winds, tongues of fire over the heads of the apostles, and a crowd of God-fearing Jews gathering in bewilderment (Acts 2:2-6). Peter stood to speak to an audience of thousands of Jews that had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, and he wanted to persuade them that this Jesus that had just been crucified was the Messiah that they had been longing for. To do this, he utilized the scripture and traditions that the people were familiar with to weave together a message that incorporated oral-scribal, historical, social, and cultural intertexture into a compelling message that would lead to repentance. Intertexture is when authors frequently weave the words of older, existing texts (whether those texts are written or passed on orally, ancient or contemporary) into the new texts they create (DeSilva, 2004, p. 800). The purpose of this paper is to examine the intertexture relationships in Acts 2, especially as it relates to the divine empowerment of leaders in early Christianity. Peter s sermon parallels the proem sermon of rabbinic literature, in which there is an opening text (Joel 2) and an exposition given using a series of texts (Treier, 1997). He utilizes three references to oralscribal sources that his audience was familiar with so that they would understand that Jesus was a fulfillment of prophecy. Since the words recorded as Peter s sermon in Acts 2 would only

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

take a few minutes to deliver, it can be assumed that Luke paraphrased and condensed a longer sermon into the text that we have recorded in Acts 2 (Longenecker, 1975). Intertexture Study of Joel 2 Peter began the sermon by explaining the incredible sight that crowd was witnessing. He starts by quoting Joel 2:28-32 to explain the unusual spectacle of speaking in tongues. Table 1 demonstrates the differences between the original text in Joel and Peter s use of this text in Acts 2: Table 1
Joel 2
28

Acts 2

"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved;

17" 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
18

29

30

31

32

If he had attributed speaking in tongues to the ability of the speakers, the crowd would not have accepted it (McGarvey, 1892). However, by quoting Joel he was able to show that this was of divine origin and that the listeners were eyewitnesses to the fulfillment of prophecy. Joel wrote in a time of despair for the Jews because they had been devastated by a locust plague, which Joel pointed out as the judgment of God for their sin (Treier, 1997). He encourages the people by telling them at some point in the future, God will pour out His spirit on all people. Peter quoted from the Septuagint, or LXX, Greek version of the scriptures, but he changed a few words from the original version. Joel describes the locust plague and judgment

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

from God in the first 27 verses of chapter 2, but then transitions to the miracles that God will bestow on His people by using the phrase then afterword (Joel 2:28). Peter wants to emphasize the imminent return of Christ, so he describes the pouring out of God s spirit to be in the last days (Acts 2:17). Peter also adds the phrase God declares (Acts 2:17) to parallel God s commitment of good things to his people with the passage of Joel 2:19 when God took pity on His people and spoke to them. Joel mentions the old men dreaming dreams and then young men seeing visions, but Peter reverses the order (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17). Joel does not mention the servants prophesying (Acts 2:18), but Peter states that male and female servants will be prophesying, possibly as a foreshadowing of the more prominent role that women will play in the New Testament church and possibly as an explanation for events that were happening right then on the day of Pentecost. During this time frame, women carried second citizen ranks, and Gentiles were considered unclean salvages (Green, 2008). However, Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 11:5 that women were prophesying in the church. Peter also adds additional description regarding the heaven being above and the earth being below (Joel 2:30, Acts 2:19). Finally, Joel describes the day of the Lord as dreadful, while Peter describes it as glorious (Joel 2:20, Acts 2:31). When Joel says that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:32), he is referring to Yahweh as the Lord. However, Jesus said that no one goes to the father except through me (John 14:6) and Peter said that later that Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:11). Therefore Peter must have been referring to Jesus as Lord.

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

Peter s use of Joel s prophecy to begin the sermon on Pentecost was effective because he was able to explain the unusual events that the crowd was witnessing and to begin to draw their minds unto repentance and calling upon the name of the Lord. Intertexture Study of Psalm 16 Once Peter had the attention of the crowd and explained the miracles that they were witnessing, he was able to tell them about Jesus. Peter recites a list of things that God did through Jesus: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death (Acts 2:22-24).

Of the claims that Peter made in this text, the people knew that Jesus performed miracles and was crucified, however they would be skeptical that he had been approved by God or that he rose from the dead (McGarvey, 1892). Therefore, Peter again uses scripture to demonstrate that these events had been foretold in prophecy. David may not be considered a prophet often, but Peter reminds the crowd that David said that God would not allow His Holy One to rot in the grave. Table 2 provides a comparison of the original text in Psalms and Peter s use of in Acts:

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

Table 2
Psalm 16
Acts 2
25

David said about him:

I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 11 You have made known to me the path of life;

" 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.'
28 27

you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Since David used the first person in this passage, as he often did in the Psalms (McGarvey, 1892), Peter followed this quote by saying in his sermon that David could not have been referring to himself since he had been dead and buried for centuries. Therefore, he must have been talking about the messiah rising from the dead, for he would not refer to anyone else as his Lord. The prophet Nathan proclaimed the word of the Lord to David: The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. (2 Samuel 7:11b-14a) This indicates that David knew that the messiah would come from his family, so he was able to speak about the messiah that was to come from his family (Hauser & Watson, 2003).

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

The pronouns in Acts 2:25 can be confusing. If we replace the pronouns with the names, the meaning of the verse becomes clear: David said about the messiah: David saw the messiah always before David. Because the messiah is at David s right hand, David will not be shaken. Before Peter applied this interpretation to Psalm 16, it was believed that David was simply referring to God saving him from a life-threatening situation (Herrick, 2000). Peter reconfigures the meaning of Psalm 16 by recontextualizing it to a more eschatological meaning so that the new church would gain hope in the return of Christ. Again, Peter s use of prophecy was effective. He was able to take the words of the wellknown and revered King David and show that he was talking about the messiah that was to come, and then show the people how Jesus matched the description that David had provided. Intertexture Study of Psalm 110 He then closes this compelling argument with another Psalm from David: The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet" (Psalm 110: 1). The multiple use of the term Lord can be clarified by restating the first clause: Yahweh says to the messiah. David prophecies that the messiah will be honored at the right hand of God. Peter has shown through scripture that God will pour out his Spirit on all people, and that the messiah will be raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God. The hearers then realize that the messiah s throne is a heavenly throne, not an earthly one (McGarvey, 1892). He concludes the sermon by stating that Jesus is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). It is significant that Peter says that Jesus is both the Lord that David referred to and the Christ, or messiah, that the Jews had been looking for. They are one and the same person.

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment Table 3


Psalm 110
Of David. A psalm.
34

Acts 2

For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

" 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand 35until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

Acts 2 and Leadership There are numerous leadership theories and models that can be used to draw further insight from the text in order to better understand divine empowerment (Norbutus, 2009). Estrada (2004) stated that the day of Pentecost was the beginning of the disciples transformation from followers to leaders. The idea of transformation can be applied not only to the disciples, but also to the thousands of Jews on that day whose lives were transformed because they saw the new paradigm of Jesus as the suffering messiah who came to earth to save them from their sins. This concept follows Burns (1978) theories of transformational leadership. House s path-goal theory could be used to describe Peter s directive approach as he provided the path for the Jews to reach the goal of finding the messiah. Wisdom, foresight, and insight come together to provide the leader with a vision which is the fundamental quality of leadership (Rice, 2008). The story of the son of God coming to earth to die is the greatest example of servant leadership. The servant-leader is servant first (Greenleaf, 1977, p. 24). Paul describes the servant nature of Christ in his letter to the Philippians:

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

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Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11). Peter, the disciples and the Holy Spirit embarked on a mission recorded in the book of Acts that could be likened to an enormous organizational change. They were attempting to change the hearts and minds of a nation and, indeed, the entire world. Kotter (1996) said that preparing for change this kind of significant change requires 8 steps for leaders. First, leaders must (1) establish a sense of urgency. The people need to realize that the status quo is no longer acceptable and that change is inevitable. Peter created this sense of urgency on the day of Pentecost when he made the people realize that they crucified the messiah, and responded, probably in panic: "Brothers, what shall we do" (Acts 2:37)? Once the sense of urgency is created, the leader needs to (2) establish a powerful coalition of individuals that embrace the need for change. In this case, Peter already had his coalition of the 11 that stood with him (Acts 2:14). The leaders must (3) create a vision and (4) communicate the vision effectively to the organization. Peter used descriptive words to craft a vision of Jesus exalted and sitting at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33, 36), which provoked an emotional response from the listeners (Acts 2:37). Peter then invited those who believed to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This (5) empowered others to act on the vision and created (6) short-term wins in the Jewish crowd in Jerusalem. The fledgling church was then able to

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

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build upon success by (7) consolidating gains in local churches all over the world and, finally, (8) institutionalize the new approaches of Christianity (Kotter).
Table 4 Kotter's 8 Steps to Organizational Change as Utilized by Peter and the Holy Spirit in Acts 2

Kotter's 8 Steps to Organizational Change

Peter and Holy Spirit in Acts Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart. (Acts 2:3637) Then Peter stood up with the Eleven (Acts 2:14) Exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:33, 36) When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart. (Acts 2:37) 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) Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:41) Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. (Acts 2:43) Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. (Acts 2:46, 47)

(1) establishing a sense of urgency.

(2) establish a powerful coalition of individuals that embrace the need for change. (3) create a vision (4) communicate the vision effectively

(5) empower others to act on the vision

(6) plan for and create short-term wins (7) consolidating improvements and producing more changes

(8) institutionalize the new approaches

In conclusion, the events of Acts 2 show several parallels to contemporary leadership theory. Most prominent among these are the servant leadership of Greenleaf, the transformational leadership of Burns, and the eight steps of transforming an organization that

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

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Kotter outlined. The intertexture analysis showed Peter s effective use of prophecy in scripture to illustrate how Jesus was the messiah that the people had been longing for.

Intertexture Analysis of Acts 2 and Leadership Empowerment

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References
Burns, J. (1978). Leadership. New York City, NY: Harper and Row. DeSilva, D. (2004). An Introduction to the New Testament. Contexts, Methods, and Ministry Formation. Nottingham, England: Apollos. Estrada, N. (2004). From Follower to Leaders. New York: T & T Clark International. Green, D. (2008). Divine Empowerment: Interpretation through the Exegesis of Acts 2. Greenleaf, R. (1977). Servant Leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. Hauser, A., & Watson, D. (2003). A History of Biblical Interpretation: The ancient period . Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdman's Publishing. Herrick, G. (2000). The Use of Psalm 16:8-11 in Acts 2:25-28. Biblical Studies Press . Kotter, J. (1996). Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Longenecker, R. (1975). Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period. Grand Rapids: Eermans. Lunan, D. (1984). Pentecost: The Day the Church was Born. The Expository Times , 95 (8), 247-248. McGarvey, J. (1892). New Commentary on Acts of the Apostles. Cincinnati, OH: The Standard Publishing Company. Norbutus, T. (2009). Acts 2: The Divine Empowerment of Leaders. Emerging Leadership Journeys , 2 (1), 17-42. Rice, K. (2008). Divine Empowerment of Christian Leaders. Treier, D. (1997). The fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32: A multiple lens approach. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society , 40 (1), 13-26.