Key Verse: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST, having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter stood up before the people and spoke these words: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, … being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, … For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord [Jehovah] always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Greek: death, the grave], neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life.”—Acts 2:22-28
We note in the above words Peter’s reference to the prophecy of David found in Psalm 16:8-11. David, who spoke in the first person, was personifying in advance the confidence and faith of Jesus. As the greater David, Jesus had full faith that, if he proved faithful, he would be raised from the dead, to continue the full and glorious accomplishment of God’s plan of salvation. In this, Peter says, Jesus was able to say that his heart rejoiced, and his tongue was glad.
Peter continued his sermon, saying, “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” (Acts 2:29) That is, this prophecy from the Psalms could not have referred to David himself, because his sepulchre still exists, and contains his corrupted remains. David, Peter further states, “being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake [prophetically] of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell [the death state], neither his flesh did see corruption.”—vss. 30,31
Moved by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter presents in our lesson a strong, logical argument, based on the words of the Prophet David. First, it was necessary that Jesus die as man’s Redeemer, delivered fully into the death, or grave, condition. He would not, however, remain in death. Having been faithful, on the third day he was raised to life, no longer as a fleshly being, but as a glorious spirit being. It was the resurrected Jesus who testified, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, … and have the keys of hell [the grave] and of death.”—Rev. 1:18
Jesus died as man’s Redeemer, and rose again by the mighty power of God, who glorified him to sit at his right hand. Nevertheless, he is not yet recognized as Lord of all. However, those who understand that he was indeed Christ, the Messiah, are greatly blessed to see, by faith, the eventual glorious outcome of the plan of God centered in the redemptive work of his dear Son. As a result of this work, all the families of the earth will be blessed.—I Cor. 15:20-26; Gen. 22:18