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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.

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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.


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