Acts 2.22-28

After beginning his message to the masses with a quote from the prophet Joel to explain  the strange happenings (vv.14-21), Peter now speaks of the saving works of Jesus. There was more going on at Pentecost that year than an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit always has a purpose, and that purpose is always to turn people to Jesus (John 16.14). Peter now partners with the Spirit and declares what He knows, what the Spirit says, and what Scripture shows about Jesus:

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know— this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles. But God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power. For David says about him,

I saw the Lord always in front of me, 
for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced;
my body alsowill live in hope,
because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
nor permit your Holy One to experience decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of joy with your presence.’”

(Acts 2.22-28, NET)

Peter builds common ground (as you yourselves know), speaks of the Sovereignty of God (the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God), the free will of man (you executed), Jesus’ resurrection (God raised Him up), and of the inevitability of it all (it was not possible for Him to be held in [death’s] power). He then uses a quote from Psalm 16 to emphasise that it is by the resurrection we know that the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for sin was accepted (vv.27-28).

The spectacular arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost gets, quite rightly, a lot of attention in Acts 2. There is, however, so much more going on, including this wonderful declaration made by Peter (that continues on through vv.29-40).

The key, the difference, the thing that makes Jesus different from every other claimed saviour and followed religion is resurrection:

“Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced;
my body alsowill live in hope,
because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
nor permit your Holy One to experience decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of joy with your presence.”

(vv.26-28)

Jesus took the punishment for the sins of the entire world and gave Himself as the atoning sacrifice (1 John 2.2). He died the death that sin deserves (Romans 6.23). It is only through His resurrection that we know that His sacrifice was enough (vv.23-24), that payment was made and accepted, and that we know that for those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, there is no longer a death to die to pay the price for your sin (v.28).

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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