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Acts #7 (chapter 2:25-36)
The Book of Acts
Preaching Jesus of Nazareth, Part 3
Acts 2:14-36
 
We are continuing our study of the very first gospel message very preached.  It was delivered by the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost. 
 
It is designed to explain the events that happened on that day as fulfillments of prophecy given by Joel, and to introduce Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.  After the introduction, which address the prophesies, Peter immediately introduces Jesus by talking about His life and ministry, as well as His crucifixion and resurrection. 
 
That brings us to verse 25 where we'll begin our study this evening.  Starting at verse 25, Peter wants to connect what He has declared to an Old Testament prophecy.  And the ideal choice to back up his claims is Psalm 16. 
 
So just to get the context, let's back up to verse 22 and read through verse 28
 
Acts 2:22-28
 
Notice how Peter begins the quote.  He says, “David says concerning Him”.  So David is going to give them and us a first-person testimony.  But it's not his testimony; it is the testimony of Jesus Christ.  David is speaking and he wrote the Psalm but he wrote it in the first-person as the very words of Messiah as if He were speaking Himself. 
 
 
I think it highly likely that Jews familiar with this psalm never read or viewed it in that way. As far as they were concerned, David was talking about David and how he is somehow going to escape death.  And I'm quite sure they didn't understand it.  But they never made the connection between David's words and the Messiah. 
 
And Peter know wants them to understand that He is talking about the Jesus that they've just crucified.  That's why he says what he does in
 
verse 29. 
 
No one ever claimed that David rose from the dead.    They all knew his grave was still with them. So Peter wants them to understand that this psalm that David wrote couldn't be about David.  He is not the fulfillment of Psalm 16.  This is the testimony of Messiah. 
 
And the testimony is wonderful.  Messiah declares,
 
verse 25
 
That is the confidence that the Lord had that allowed Him to say these words.  “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”  Complete trust.  “I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I may not be shaken."  It is a firm, unshakeable, confident trust.
 
The reference to God being at His right hand is very significant in that being at the right hand is a pledge of protection in the ancient world. 
 
A bodyguard always stood at the right side, protecting with his shield, leaving his sword arm free to fight the enemy.  And Jesus declares that, "God is always at My side."
 
Even though there were those dark moments on the cross that caused Jesus to say “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, when it was all said and done, He said, “into Your hands I commit My spirit.”  God did not abandon Him. 
 
verse 26
 
This is part of what the writer of Hebrews was talking about when he said that Christ went to the cross for the joy that was set before Him.  “My flesh also will live in hope.”  He looked past all the pain to what was ahead after His resurrection. 
 
It’s really a beautiful phrase at the end of verse 26.  “Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.” 
 
I love the way that phrase translates. It literally says, "My body shall pitch its tent on the ground called hope."
 
Even in death, even looking ahead to the grave, Christ stood firm, never wavering, never shaken, never wondering if His body would see corruption. 
 
What brought that confidence? 
 
verse 27
 
 
 
Jesus, through the writing of David centuries before the crucifixion, says to His Heavenly Father, "I will die and commit my body into Your care with a confident expectation and hope that it will not suffer decay, but will be raised to life."
 
Verse 28
 
In fact, not only will I go through death, but I will come out of that on the other side in Your presence because You will not abandon Me.  You will not leave Me in the abode of the dead.
 
And notice, He refers to Himself in verse 27 as the Holy One.  That was a well-known title for the Messiah.
 
That's how the demons referenced Him in Mark 1:24.  That's what the disciples called Him in John 6:69.   So it was Jesus that David had in mind when He wrote Psalm 16. 
 
And Peter’s point is that every detail of the death of Messiah presented in the Old Testament, including the promise of the resurrection. 
 
And then, in verses 29, Peter returns to the sermon.
 
Verses 29-32
 
David obviously wasn't talking about Himself because He's dead a buried and still in the tomb. He was a prophet who was looking forward in time.  He was making a prediction.  So Who was David talking about?  Well, who was raised from the dead?  Jesus was!
See how the message comes together?  It's really not fair to the sermon to dissect it apart and present in chunks like we're doing over several weeks.  It needs to be seen in one presentation as Peter delivered it. 
 
He tells his audience that it is now the Messianic age.  You’ve seen the supernatural phenomena.  God has arrived.  His Spirit has come.  The Spirit has been with you, is now in you.  This is a new day, a new age.  It’s the Messianic age.
 
So Who is the Messiah?  Look and see.  It’s Jesus of Nazareth.  How do you know?  His miraculous life, His substitutionary death fulfilling Old Testament prophecy, and His resurrection from the dead, to which we are all eyewitnesses and about which David prophesied in Psalm 16. 
 
Then Peter points out one other aspect of His Messiahship, and that’s
 
- His ascension
 
verse 33a
 
That’s the ascension, and many of those listening were there when it happened.  Jesus was talking to His disciples, His followers, when He was lifted up and a cloud enveloped Him and they could no longer see Him. 
 
They were still trying to take it all in when the angels came and made the announcement that He would return in the same way!  They were eyewitnesses, not only to His resurrection, but also to His ascension. 
He was exalted to the right hand of God, and once He had reached the right hand of God in that split second,
 
verse 33b
 
He circles all the way back to the event that they had just experienced.  This all happened because the Messiah went back to glory, took His place at the right hand of God, and God gave Him the promise of the Spirit, and the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost was God's announcement of His approval of what Jesus had done in His earthly ministry.  And then Peter quotes another Davidic Psalm to prove Jesus is Messiah by His ascension. 
 
Verse 34
 
Who sat at God’s right hand?  It wasn’t David.  It was the Lord God speaking to the Lord Messiah.  It was the Father saying to the Son.  And in that sentence, both are equal in essence and nature.  This is one member of the Trinity speaking to another equal member. 
 
David never did that.  David was not exalted to the right hand of God and given the name “Lord.”  Philippians 2 says that Christ humbled Himself, and God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name above every name, and what is that name?  The name Lord, so that every knee would bow to that name. 
 
And with that, Peter has made his argument.  We know that Jesus is the Messiah because of His life and miracles, because of His substitutionary death, because of His resurrection, and because of His ascension. 
And we know He ascended, we know He is exalted, we know He is at the right hand of God, we know He has been declared Lord because you’ve seen the result: God sent the Holy Spirit to launch the Messianic era.
 
Therefore,
 
verse 36
 
He doesn’t blame the Romans.  He points a finger squarely in the face of the Jews, and says, "You did it."  And there is no doubt  about it.  He uses the word, "Assuredly".  In the Greek, it means “with perfect certainty and without any doubt.”
 
So that’s the body of his message concerning the risen, ascended, exalted, enthroned Lord.  They had killed the One that God had exalted.  Which takes us to
 
verse 37a
 
They were cut to the heart.  This is the only place in the  entire New Testament where that particular word is used. 
 
And it literally says, "They were stabbed in the heart."
 
And it wasn't a clever story or a tear-jerking illustration. It was the powerful, overwhelming testimony of Scripture through a systematic argument that left them stabbed in the heart.  
 
 
 
So much so, they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles,
 
verse 37b
 
How can we reverse this?  They’ve committed a terrible, incalculable, unparalleled atrocity.  They have killed the Messiah they had been waiting for.  And now, the most logical question that could be asked is, "What do we do about it?  How can we reverse the process we've set in motion? 
 
What a horrible position in which to find yourself.    What do we do?  You might say, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not in that position.”  Well, you are if you have rejected Christ.  You joined with the crucifiers. 
 
So they say, “What do we do?”  We’ve seen the introduction explaining Pentecost, then the theme, exalting Christ. 
 
Then, beginning in verse 37 we find
 
3.  The Appeal
 
And it is a terrible place to conclude our study, but because there is too much left to cover, and I don't want to hurry through it, we'll leave the rest for another time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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