Summary: He was dellivered over by God, nailed to a cross by godless hands, raised up by the Father, firstborn of many brethren.
"...this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
It is difficult to imagine any thinking Christian coming to the second chapter of Acts after a reading of any one or all of the gospels, not being astounded by the change in the Apostle Peter.
In the gospels we witness a man who, almost every time he opens his mouth, demonstrates profound cluelessness.
Even at Mount Hermon where he so eloquently declares Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, he turns around moments later and blows it by once more manifesting his ignorance of the Christ’s true mission.
We won’t touch on his failure during the Lord’s passion; we would have failed too – we did indeed fail Him.
But even at the very end of the gospels Peter is still in confusion and inner turmoil.
So when we come to this chapter and see that Luke is writing of events little more than a month after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and when we read this eloquent first sermon of the new church, we are introduced to a new Peter in terms that can only be explained as Holy Spirit baptism and divine inspiration.
Of course, we should have seen it coming if we were paying any attention at all to the words of Jesus when He said, “…when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32) and His threefold exhortation to Peter to feed His sheep there at the end of John.
Why are we so quick to see ourselves and others through our own eyes and according to the circumstances of the moment and not through the eyes of the One who knows them and us more intimately than we ever could?
We see a Christian do something un-Christ-like and want to criticize them; maybe even shut them out of fellowship, and He sees them in the process of the development of their faith. While we’re phoo-phooing He’s sanctifying.
Can you imagine Peter before a pulpit search committee today?
“Well, Mr. Peter, you can deliver a powerful sermon and you have a very commanding and charismatic personality. But the bottom line is, you denied Christ and let Him be crucified without lifting a hand to help Him. We’re sorry but your past actions disqualify you from ever pastoring a church”.
“But the Lord forgave me and commissioned me to feed His sheep!”
“Well, you can help set up tables and cook for fellowship dinners…you just can’t be in leadership”.
“But the Lord called me!” “Sorry, that’s just not good enough”.
Quite frankly, we should be equally astounded when we look back on our own lives and remind ourselves where we’ve come from. Because the same Holy Spirit who wrought such an amazing transformation in Peter has done so in the life of anyone to whom He has given life and just by virtue of the fact that it is the rebirth from above that Jesus told Nicodemus about it is an utterly new and astounding thing, whoever the recipient is.