Summary: He’s Alive! Tell Someone!1) This news has changed your life 2) This news can change someone else’s life
As temperatures rise so does the urge to get out and enjoy the beauty of spring. Some will head out on backcountry trails in the mountains but they will do so at their own risk, for this is avalanche season. It’s especially at this time of year that we hear reports of skiers and snowmobilers getting buried in tons of snow and ice that crashed down on them from lofty peaks. Can you imagine what it would it be like to receive word that a loved one had been buried in an avalanche? The news would be devastating wouldn’t it? Imagine your joy and relief then if word came later that they had been found alive! Would you keep that news to yourself? I doubt it. You’d want to make sure that everyone in the family knew about it. But would you share that news with total strangers? Would you tell the cashier at SuperStore that your spouse or parent had just been found alive after having been buried in an avalanche? Probably not, because while they may be happy for you, that news won’t change their life.
That’s what makes Jesus’ resurrection so unique. It’s news that not only changes our lives; it can change someone else’s life – even someone who is a total stranger. So as the Apostle Peter did in our text, we’ll want to tell others that Jesus is alive.
Our text takes place fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection. The occasion was Pentecost and the place was Jerusalem. After receiving the ability from the Holy Spirit to speak in foreign languages they had never learned before, the disciples attracted a large crowd. After some in the crowd accused the disciples of being drunk, Peter stood up and addressed the people. Our text is just a portion of the sermon Peter preached to the people of Jerusalem that day.
When you think about it, it’s amazing that Peter would stand up before such a crowd and boldly preach about Jesus. Just weeks earlier he had denied knowing Jesus. Then after Jesus’ death, Peter and the other disciples had hid behind locked doors. Peter was now bold because he had a wonderful message to share: Jesus was not dead; he was alive.
In what may have seemed to be a strange tactic, Peter started his sermon with the “bad” news. He accused his listeners of crucifying Jesus even though it had been obvious to them from his miracles that he was from God. How did Peter know that everyone he was speaking to was guilty of having Jesus crucified? Whether the people had actually demanded Jesus’ crucifixion or not was irrelevant. As a nation, the Israelites had rejected Jesus claims of being God’s Son and turned their backs on him. Even Peter had done that when he denied knowing Jesus. For that matter, we too are guilty of Jesus’ crucifixion when, instead of speaking the truth to our parents, we bend the truth. Or when we worry about our future even though Jesus has told us not to worry about it.
By telling the people that they had crucified Christ, Peter wanted them to know that they had done something terrible. He wanted them to see how they had missed their opportunity to be God’s friend and instead showed themselves to be his enemy. Peter wanted the people alarmed over their sins so that they would breathe a sigh of relief when he told them that, although they had put Jesus to death, God raised him from the dead!
Jesus’ resurrection must have seemed unbelievable to the crowd. To show them that he wasn’t making it up, Peter quoted verses from Psalm 16 that prophesied Jesus’ resurrection. King David wrote Psalm 16 a thousand years before Jesus’ birth. In this psalm, David spoke of the hope of eternal life. David said: “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave” (Acts 2:27, 27a). Why was David so confident that God would not abandon him to the grave? David goes on to tell us why: “…you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay” (Acts 2:27). When David said that God would not let his Holy One see decay, he could not have been talking about himself. Peter made that clear when he said that David died and his tomb was still there in Jerusalem a thousand years later. Had they exhumed David’s body, they would have found nothing but decayed bones. Therefore the Holy One that David spoke of had to be someone else, it had to be the Messiah. Jesus’ resurrection proved that he was the Messiah David spoke about because the crowd could have opened Jesus’ tomb and they would not have found a body, for Jesus was not dead, he was alive!