Sermons

Summary: 1) Life (Acts 2:22), 2) Death (Acts 2:23), 3) Resurrection (Acts 2:24–32), and 4) Exaltation (Acts 2:33–36) of Jesus which Freed believers from the Power of Death.

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was jailed for a maximum term on Friday when judges declared him sane enough to answer for the murder of 77 people last year. The killings shook the nation of five million which had prided itself as a safe haven from much of the world’s troubles. Polls showed that around 70 percent of Norway’s public thought such a complex attack could not have been carried out by a madman and Breivik had to bear responsibility. (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/08/24/norway-sends-sane-mass-killer-anders-behring-breivik-to-prison-for-maximum-term/?preview=true)

Whenever such horrific deaths occur, questions of responsibility arise. Who caused, or allowed the particular events that led to the death in quesiton. Sometimes, lessons are learned from death that lead to new procedures. But what if death is a chosen instrument to accomplish something. In terms of responsibility we see fault from the Jews and Romans, but we must also see how it is our sin that put Him there.

In all of this fault, we also must see that the cross was not a surprise to God, but had always been His chosen mechanism (i.e. sacrificial system of Lev. 1–7) for bringing redemption to rebellious humanity (cf. Gen. 3:15; Isa. 53:10; Mark 10:45; II Cor. 5:21). Jesus’ death was no accident. It was the plan of God (cf. Luke 22:22; Acts 3:18; 4:28; 13:29; 26:22–23). Jesus came to die (cf. Mark. 10:45) (Utley, R. J. (2003). Vol. Volume 3B: Luke the Historian: The Book of Acts. Study Guide Commentary Series (35). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.)

Through His 1) Life (Acts 2:22), 2) Death (Acts 2:23), 3) Resurrection (Acts 2:24–32), and 4) Exaltation (Acts 2:33–36) Jesus "Freed (believers) from the Power of Death". As his sermon unfolds, Peter flows through those four elements in chronological order. In keeping with apostolic custom, however, he focuses primarily on the resurrection of Christ (cf. Acts 3:15; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 34, 37).

1) The Life of Christ (Acts 2:22)

Acts 2:22 [22]"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-- (ESV)

As he did at the beginning of his sermon (cf. 2:14), Peter boldly challenged the men of Israel present to hear/listen to his words. His boldness was predicated on two undeniable truths: God had worked miracles through Jesus, and they had seen them. That salvation was being offered to Israel despite their unbelief and rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ is a testimony to the magnanimity of God’s grace.

Jesus of Nazareth/the Nazarene was the name by which our Lord was commonly known during His earthly ministry (Matt. 21:11; Mark 10:47; 14:67; 16:6; Luke 24:19; John 18:5, 7). It identified Him with His hometown of Nazareth. It was the name on the inscription on His cross (John 19:19). Peter used it several other times in Acts (3:6; 4:10; 10:38), as did Paul (26:9). It was even used in derision by some (cf. John 1:46), thus Peter’s use of it constitutes a mild rebuke. This name for our Lord reflects His wonderful condescension in leaving the glory of heaven to live in a humble Galilean village.

Please turn to John 5

Peter further describes Jesus as a man attested to them by God (cf. John 5:32–37; 8:18). Apodeiknumi (attested) has various shades of meaning. It is used in 1 Corinthians 4:9 to speak of exhibiting something. In Acts 25:7 it conveys the idea of proof. Second Thessalonians 2:4 uses it in the sense of proclamation to high office. All those shades of meaning are applicable to Jesus. He was exhibited as God in human flesh, and that was confirmed by “many convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3). Finally, God “highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). There is no higher office than that of Messiah, God’s anointed King.

John 5:19-37a [19]So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. [20]For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. [21]For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. [22]The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, [23]that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. [24]Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. [25]"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. [26]For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. [27]And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. [28]Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice [29]and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. [30]"I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. [31]If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true. [32]There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. [33]You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. [34]Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. [35]He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. [36]But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. [37]And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. (His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen), (ESV)

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