Pentecost: Based Upon Christ’s Work Part 1 of 13

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

July 15, 2013

Acts of the Apostles



Lesson II.A.2.b: Pentecost: Based Upon Christ’s Work


Acts 2.22-36 (KJV)

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29 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.
30 Therefore 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;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.


Introduction

Having concluded his remarks concerning the gift of the Holy Ghost, Peter preaches to them about Jesus: and this passage is a summary of the history of Christ. Here is an account of his death and sufferings, which they witnessed just a few weeks earlier. His death is considered an instance of God's wonderful grace and wisdom. In this sacrifice, Divine justice was satisfied, God and man brought together again, and Christ himself glorified, according to an eternal counsel, which could not be changed. But, as for the peoples' role in this; it was an act of awful sin and foolishness. Christ's resurrection did away with the reproach of his death; this was Peter’s main topic. Christ was God's Holy One, sanctified and set apart to His service in the work of redemption. His death and sufferings were not for Him only, but for all His, and it gave them entrance into an eternal blessed life. This event had taken place as foretold, and the apostles were witnesses. But the resurrection did not rest upon this alone; Christ had poured upon his disciples the miraculous gifts and Divine influences, of which the crowd had witnessed the effects. Through the Saviour, we know the way to a better life; and we are encouraged to expect God's presence and His blessings forever. All this springs from a certain belief that Jesus is the Lord, and the anointed Saviour.


Commentary

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Ye men of Israel,
Peter has been speaking to a large crowd of curious Jews, who have gathered in response to the rumors of the great event unfolding in Jerusalem during Pentecost. Now he gets to the main theme of his message; he gives a synopsis of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He tells them that the One who accomplished mighty works and signs and wonders through the power of God had been taken and crucified and slain. Many who listened to him had been part of the howling mob that cried, “Crucify Him!” However, all who participated in putting the Lord to death were unconsciously fulfilling the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God. It was God’s purpose that the Messiah should suffer death for us—“And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:46; KJV). But if the Messiah’s suffering and death was ordained by the determined counsel of God, so was His resurrection and glory.

“Ye men of Israel” are the descendants of Israel, or Jacob, i.e. Jews.

hear these words;
Peter now begins to preach Christ directly to them. He boldly declares that they knew about His miracles, and wonders and signs. Christ made a twofold demonstration of His Messiahship:
1. By the miracles which they had seen with their own eyes.
2. By his Resurrection. His resurrection was proved:
a. By the prophecy of David.
b. By the testimony of all the apostles present, who were eye-witnesses.
c. By the phenomena, they were witnessing, which could only be due to His exalted position at the right hand of God.

We are currently people of the twenty-first Century, therefore it is impossible for us to realize, even in the least degree, the effect that Peter’s sermon had upon the minds of those Jews who heard him exclaim in a loud voice: “Men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you yourselves know; him, delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain; whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held under it.” They were already filled with amazement by the visible and audible manifestation of the Spirit of God that they had observed; but now, they are shocked as they realize that this amazing phenomenon is not nearly as amazing as that which was accomplished by the Nazarene whom they had despised and crucified. This mindset is brought home to them in a statement so full of overwhelming facts that it caused them to reel and stagger under a succession of fearful blows rapidly repeated. In one breath, in one long sentence, they have just heard no less than seven startling propositions:
1. That Jesus had been “approved of” by God; He was among them, and God had done many miracles and wonders and signs through Him.
2. That they, themselves, knew this was true.
3. That they took Him and treated Him dreadfully, but it was not due to any weakness in Him, but in accordance with the purpose and foreknowledge of God, that he yielded Himself to them.
4. That while He was submitted to them, they had put Him to death, by the torture of crucifixion.
5. That this was a wicked, sinful act.
6. That God had raised Him from the dead.
7. That it was impossible for death to hold him.

Jesus of Nazareth,
The apostle calls him “Jesus of Nazareth,” because, (1) He was from that town; He grew up there, His mother lived there with His brothers and sisters, and there He was a well-known carpenter; but the people rejected Him, and (2) He was generally known by that name. He was a man approved of God and He lived among you. He was censured and condemned by men, but approved of God: God showed His approval of his doctrine by the power he gave Him to work miracles.

Here is a complete personification of the four gospels, condensed into one short clause—“Jesus of Nazareth.” The name “Jesus of Nazareth” brought vividly before their minds a well-known public figure and all his illustrious history flashed across their memory.

a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs,
“A man approved of God” has several meanings— "authenticated," "manifested," "proved," or "demonstrated to be from God”—A man who was shown or who demonstrated to have the approbation of God, or to have been sent by Him. Dr. Hammond prefers “a man marked out by God; signalized and made remarkable among you that now hear me. He was sent to you, set up, and made a glorious light in your land.”

This is the first assertion concerning Him, and it calls attention to his miracles as a demonstration that he was from God. There is no need for discussion since the miracles speak for themselves, only God could do such things; they did not need more evidence to prove the reality of the miracles, because they were done “in your midst, as you yourselves also know.” The sense of the verse seems to be this: Jesus of Nazareth, a man sent from God and well-known to you because He created miracles, and signs; and all these were done in such profusion that they exceeded what was done by the best of your most accredited prophets. And these miracles, wonders, and signs were a demonstration of his Divine mission. Christ said as much to His disciples—“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14.10, 11; KJV). The words and works of Christ surely must indicate a unique relationship between the Father and the Son. The disciples were weak in their faith, so Christ exhorts them to believe what He has said, or simply to believe on the basis of His works.

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