The LORD, the CHRIST: Devotional Commentary for May 16-22
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
Peter continued speaking to the crowd regarding Jesus.
22Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—
23Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
24whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
25For David says concerning Him: " I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.'
29Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
30Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
31he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
32This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
33Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: " The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand,
35Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."'
36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Having explained the phenomenon the crowd had witnessed on the Day of Pentecost, Peter shifted his focus and began to expound on the main theme of his message. What, or is it Who, was the theme of the message from the Holy Spirit? Jesus! Without hesitation or apology, Peter directed the people's attention to Jesus, Who was known to the listening audience as Jesus of Nazareth.
Peter identified Jesus not only as the man the people knew, but also as the promised Messiah sent by God the Father: Proved by His birth, righteous life, service, miracles, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus' miracles proved His deity. His resurrection affirmed His power over sin and death.
Certainly, the people who came to observe the feast were familiar with Jesus but did not truly know Who He is. So Peter reminded the crowd that Jesus was sent to them by God. God was with His Son Jesus Christ as He was accomplishing the purpose for which He was sent.
Then Peter struck at the core of what was done to Jesus and identified the parties involved in His crucifixion. He did not shy away from the truth even though it was paradoxical, unfathomable, and impossible to reconcile in the finite human mind. He acknowledged that everything that was done to Jesus including His birth, His life and service, His suffering, crucifixion, death, burial, Resurrection, and ascension, was determined, purposed, planned, and executed by God.
Nevertheless, Peter held the people responsible for their actions against Jesus. The Jewish authorities and the mob they mobilized demanded Jesus' crucifixion, not as a matter of obedience to God, but as a right and appropriate action which they determined by their own conscience. The Roman authorities and soldiers put Jesus on the Cross. The Jewish authorities who knew the Law and the Prophets allied with wicked sinful men to kill Jesus and remove Him from the scene. No one came to Jesus' defense.
Both the Jews and the Romans were complicit in executing Jesus for sins He did not commit. But God brought Him back to life and destroyed the power and the pain of death. Death could not hold Him back. He laid down His life and took it up again. Jesus is the Messiah Who came to take away the sins of the world and to give eternal life. He was not an ordinary mortal as the people supposed.
Peter affirmed the truth of Jesus' Resurrection by interpreting the text in Psalm 16:8-11 in its Messianic context, ascertaining Jesus' Resurrection and David's prophetic confidence in the risen Lord. He reminded the crowd that, since David was dead and buried, the Psalmist was speaking of the Messiah Who also died and was buried but is alive again, having been resurrected by His Father, God the Almighty; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
David's prophetic Psalm about Jesus' resurrection was confirmed by the covenant that God pronounced to David that his throne will be established forever as his Descendant reigns from it as the eternal King. That King, even Jesus Christ Himself, cannot remain dead and buried, while at the same time take up the perpetual kingship on David's throne. Peter confronted the crowd with such a profound truth known to them from the Scriptures.
David rejoiced because he foresaw the risen Lord and was assured that the Lord is always by his side. Therefore, he was not shaken, he was glad, he rested in hope. Such a confidence cannot be placed on anyone who is dead and remains buried. David had faith and confidence upon his risen Lord and eternal King, Jesus Christ.
David's words were the prophetic affirmation of Jesus' resurrection. The people knew of: The Jesus Whom they crucified. But by referring to the Psalms and the Prophets known to them, Peter introduced the people to the risen Lord they did not yet know; the Lord Whose flesh did not see corruption; the Lord Whose soul was not left in Hades; the Lord Who is seated at the right hand of the Father; the Lord Who was sent by God to prepare the Way and to be that Way for salvation.
Finally, Peter affirmed that Jesus' resurrection was not only prophetically true, but he and the disciples were eye-witnesses. They met the risen Jesus. They dined with Him. They received instructions and blessings from Him. They were commissioned by Him to be His witnesses throughout the world. The people had no excuse to be captives of unbelief anymore.
The listening crowd was once again reminded that what they were hearing and seeing was the fulfillment of the promises of the risen Jesus. It was not sweet wine, after all. It was the Power of the living Lord and God the Father expressed by the Holy Spirit Who descended upon the disciples, empowering them to preach the Good News of God's salvation to those within the sound of their voices. The people were perplexed. But they could not disregard the convicting power in Peter's profound words. God used the simple words of a simple fisherman to tell the world that the Jesus Whom the authorities crucified is actually and truly the risen Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the LORD, and the eternal King reigning over God's Kingdom forever.
Peter spoke to the people with passion and by the power of the Holy Spirit. He spoke the truth with authority and with knowledge. His words were sharp and penetrating. To be sure, everything Peter said has been the subject of prophetic declaration of the Psalms and the Prophets. Nevertheless, because Peter's words were authored by the Holy Spirit and were conveyed to the hearts of the people by the power of the Spirit of God, everyone who heard him was perplexed, shocked, and convicted, even though they were familiar with the Psalms and the Prophets.
The text in the remaining verses of Acts chapter Two, (VS37-47,) implies that the people were cut to their hearts by what Peter said to them. The people could no longer sit still. They were deeply agitated. They were anxious. They wanted some answers immediately. They asked Peter and the disciples: "What should we do?"
We should not be surprised by such an inextinguishable reaction. The power of Peter’s compelling eyewitness testimony penetrated the spiritual darkness that held many of the Jews captive. They could not deny or justify their complicity in the death of Jesus Whom they crucified. They probably regretted their past actions. But they could not go back and do things differently. They were guilty and were powerless to change the course of past events. They were powerless to do anything to make things right. They could not unlive the wickedness and the rebellion which characterized their life. They faced the harsh spiritual realities of their ungodly past. Their own conscience accused them of unbearable guilt. They looked for the way out and asked: "What should we do?"
Peter was ready to show the people the Way. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, he calmed the troubled crowd by instructing them to do one simple but profound thing. He told them to turn to God, repent, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Whom they crucified. He did not direct them to go through the motions. He exhorted them to turn to God and repent. That is, to look to God and acknowledge their sinfulness and receive His forgiveness. The Lamb of God Whom they crucified was sacrificed for the salvation they just received through faith by Grace. Through faith by Grace, their sins were forgiven and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself as the guarantee for their salvation. They heard the message, acknowledged their guilt, repented, and received forgiveness and eternal life.
Peter did not tell his own story or compose an impressive lecture. He just spoke the truth from the Scriptures. Both he and the words he spoke were empowered by the Holy Spirit, and the audience was convicted and was moved to repentance by the same Spirit.
So let us be faithful and speak the truth in season and out of season. Let the Spirit of God do His redeeming work in the hearts of those who hear the living Word as directed by the Power of His conviction.