At his ascension, Jesus looked at his disciples and said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). The whole world — literally “all the peoples,” according to Matthew 28:19 — will hear the gospel because of these apostles. They will receive power from God to make it happen.
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were gathered together, and suddenly the Holy Spirit fell on them. They were filled with the Spirit and began to speak in other tongues. This would be a great time, you would think, for God to start this world-wide revolution and reach all the Gentile nations with the gospel. After all, the language barrier is now gone.
After this happens, Peter preaches a short, yet amazing, sermon to thousands of people in Acts 2. He preaches the gospel — that Christ was delivered and was crucified according to God’s plan and that whoever believes in him will receive the Spirit. He calls everyone who’s listening to repentance. That day, verse 41 says, 3,000 souls received the word and were saved and baptized.
And here’s the crazy part: every single one of those 3,000 people was Jewish. Not one Gentile was saved.
How do we know this? Acts 2:5 says, “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.” Peter was in Jerusalem preaching to Jews. When he began preaching, “the multitude” approached him because they heard Peter in their own language (or “dialect”). These were Jewish pilgrims from various parts of the world (vv. 9-11). The pilgrims had come back to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, which is historically related to a Jewish harvest festival.
Furthermore, when Peter began his sermon, he lifted up his voice and said, “Men of Judea!” (v. 14). Again, in verse 22, he called their attention and said, “Men of Israel.” He quotes the prophet Joel (vv. 17-21). He quotes King David twice (vv. 25-28, 34). There is no doubt he is speaking to Jews.
Then in verse 36, his grand conclusion, he pronounces the dismal, yet glorious indictment on Israel: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” It is dismal because they murdered one of their own — the only One who could save them. It is glorious because if they turn to him — even after crucifying him — they will be saved and set free from sin.
The gospel hasn’t gone to all peoples yet. Though the whole Bible up to this point has made it clear that this is God’s plan, the plan keeps getting delayed. In God’s perfect time, however, this spiritual revolution of the Gentiles will come.