Pentecost: Based Upon Christ’s Work Part 8 of 13
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
THOU SHALT MAKE ME FULL OF JOY WITH THY COUNTENANCE.
thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
THOU SHALT MAKE ME FULL OF JOY expresses the feelings of the Messiah as He envisions the honor that would be shown him by His Father; the resurrection from the dead, and the elevation to the right hand of God. It was this which is represented as sustaining him-the prospect of the joy that was before him, in heaven—
• Hebrews 12.2; (KJV) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” In the same way, Jesus fixed His gaze upon the joy which lay at the end of the course, so we must fix our gaze upon Jesus; for as the finisher of our faith, He is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
• Ephesians 1.20-22; (KJV) “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” It took power to raise Christ from the dead—a tremendous power. Not only is it resurrection power, but it is the power that set Christ at God’s right hand, and that is Ascension power. We don’t make much of the Ascension in our churches today; we emphasize Christmas and Easter, but we seem to forget the events after that. Have you ever stopped to think of the power that took Him back to the right hand of God? That, my friend, is power. The power that took Christ to the right hand of God is the same power that is available to believers today. That is why Paul prays that believers may know the greatness of that power. He writes, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection …” (Phil. 3:10).
All our Savior’s sorrows and sufferings should end in perfect and perpetual joy: THOU SHALT MAKE ME FULL OF JOY WITH THY COUNTENANCE. The reward set before him was joy, a fulness of joy, that would be found in God’s COUNTENANCE, in the COUNTENANCE he gave to His undertaking, and to all those, for His sake, that would believe in Him. The smiles with which the Father received him, when, at his ascension, he was brought to the Ancient of days, filled him with joy unspeakable, and that is the joy of our Lord, into which all His shall enter, and in which they shall be forever happy.
WITH THY COUNTENANCE literally means, "With thy face," that is, in thy presence. The words COUNTENANCE and presence mean the same thing; and indicate favor, or the honor and happiness provided by being admitted into the presence of God. The prospect of that honor, which would be bestowed on the Messiah, was what sustained him. And this proves that the person contemplated in the Psalm expected to be raised from the dead, and exalted to the presence of God. That expectation is now fulfilled; and the Messiah is now filled with joy in his exalted position on the throne of the universe. He has "ascended to his Father and our Father;" he is "seated at the right hand of God;" he has entered on that "joy which was set before him;" he is "crowned with glory and honour;" and “all things are put under his feet." In view of this, we may remark,
1. That the Messiah had a full and confident expectation that he would rise from the dead. The Lord Jesus always envisioned this, and often declared it to his disciples.
2. If the Saviour rejoiced in the prospect of the glories before him, we should also. We should anticipate with joy an everlasting dwelling in the presence of God.
3. The prospect of this should sustain us, as it did him, in the midst of persecution, tragedy, and trials. They will soon be ended; and if we are his friends, we shall "overcome," as he did, and be admitted to "the fulness of joy" above, and to the "right hand" of God, where there are pleasures for evermore."
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.
Men and brethren,
Peter addresses his audience with a title of respect—MEN AND BRETHREN. “You are MEN, and therefore you should be ruled by reason; you are BRETHREN, and therefore should welcome and appreciate what is said to you by one who is closely related to you, is sincerely concerned for you, and wishes you well.
The comment that Peter makes upon this text, in this place relates to the resurrection of Christ. He will use the same passage in Psalms to prove it could not refer to David, but must have reference to the Messiah. He begins his argument in a respectful manner by addressing them as his
brethren, even though they had just charged him and the others with intoxication. There may be a lesson here for Christians—that we should use the usual respectful forms of greeting, in spite of whatever contempt and accusations they may direct against us.
let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David,
The word PATRIARCH means the head or ruler of a family, the founder of a family, or a memorable ancestor. It was commonly applied to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because of their prominence as the illustrious founders of the Jewish nation—“And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him” (Acts 7:9; KJV). It was also applied to the heads of the families, or the chief men of the tribes of Israel. It was, therefore, a title of honour, signifying great respect. When applied to David, it acknowledges that he was the illustrious head or founder of the royal family, and Peter does not intend to say anything disrespectful about such a respected king; but, at the same time, he freely comments on a passage of Scripture which many alleged to refer to him. It is evident that prophecy did not literally find its fulfillment in David, since the patriarch died and is buried and on that very day was in a sepulcher that could be seen from where Peter stood. But Jesus Christ’s triumph over death and His resurrection confirms the truth of this Old Testament prophecy. Therefore the prophecy was not made of David himself, but of his descendant, Jesus of Nazareth. The apostles were all witnesses of the resurrected Lord and could attest to the truth of the prophecy. So, Peter speaks boldly, “Give me leave to speak to you FREELY CONCERNING THE PATRIARCH DAVID, and do not be offended if I tell you that David cannot be understood here as speaking of himself, but of the Christ to come.’’ Though David was a pious man; though he was venerated by all as a king; yet it is appropriate to say of him, that he is dead, and his body has disintegrated and returned to the earth. It should be observed that there is not one syllable mentioned anywhere in scripture of the resurrection of David’s body, or the return of his soul from the state of the dead.
that he is both dead and buried,
Peter, who is full of the Holy Ghost, envisions in the sixteenth Psalm a Holy Man whose life consisted of extraordinary devotedness and lofty spirituality and is crowned with the confidence, that despite the fact that He will taste of death, He will certainly rise again without being subjected to corruption, and be given access to the delight of God's immediate presence. Now, since this could not be true of David, because he died, and was buried, and his sepulchre remained in Jerusalem till now, when Peter spoke these words, it could be applied to only One other person; He whom David was taught would be the final Occupant of the throne of Israel. The focus of the Psalm must be JESUS of NAZARETH, and no one else, whose resurrection and ascension were witnessed by the apostles, while the glorious outpouring of the Spirit by the hand of the One who had ascended, was a fulfillment of prophecy and a Promise made by Him to these same apostles, and was even then witnessed by the thousands who stood listening to Him.
In the words quoted by Peter, David speaks in the first person, and this might lead some to say that he was speaking about himself. If, however, it can be proved that he did not speak of himself, they would have to admit that he spoke in the name of the Christ. Peter proves this, in these words: (29) “Brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day. (30) Being a prophet, then, and knowing that God had sworn to him, that from the fruit of his loins he would raise up the Christ, according to the flesh, to sit on his throne; (31) foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in hades, neither did his flesh see corruption.” Although David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he went the way of all the earth, which he said about himself (1 Ki. 2:2) in regard to both his death and burial. Therefore, he undoubtedly spoke as a prophet; David's flesh did see corruption, which they readily admitted, and his soul, in spite of everything was still living in Hades, so there was nothing left to them than to admit that he spoke of the Messiah. This brief argument not only refuted the baseless objection, but opened the minds of his hearers, to an entirely new understanding of the prophetic throne of David, and of the Messiah, who would set upon it; showing, that instead of being the ruler of an earthly kingdom, he would sit upon the throne of the whole universe.