Acts 2:22-36


The substance of Peter's sermon is beautiful Gospel. But for the Jews on that day this sermon was terrifying Law because they were the very ones who had crucified Him.

Notice the progression in the words of address which Peter uses. In verse 14 he called them "Men of Judea." In verse 22 Peter calls them "Men of Israel," a term of respect, going back to the patriarchs. And then in verse 29 Peter calls them "Men and brethren." The Spirit who had just been poured onto the Apostles gave Peter courage and love to confront Jesus' enemies with the truth.

Peter's sermon divides itself into two parts: a) in verses 22-28 he informs his hearers that the resurrection of Jesus was inevitable because it had been prophesied by David in Psalm 16, and, b) In verses 29-36 he informs his hearers that the exaltation of Jesus was bound to come because David had prophesied it in Psalm 110:1.

Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.

Peter had already called their attention to what he was going to say in verse 14. But here he uses polite address and an emphatic imperative to call to their attention the most significant event in history for which they were responsible.

Peter preaches nothing but Christ. A good lesson for the preacher.

Verses 22-24 comprise one sentence, with 22-23 devoted to the object. The subject finally appears in verse 24. Verses 22-24 say "God raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead though you crucified Him." Peter calls Him "Jesus of Nazareth" likely because that's what they called Him in the passion account. See John 18:5 and 7 and the superscription on the cross.

God approved of Jesus to them by means of the many powerful miracles. John 11:47 is proof from their own mouths that the miracles were undeniable. They were a cause of His death. What God commended, the Jews rejected and cursed. Peter merely reminds them of what they already know.

Acts 2:23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

Peter describes the definite plan and intention of God. It was lastingly foreordained. "You nailed Him and destroyed Him." The eternal plan of God does not minimize the guilt of the Jews. Though the Romans actually crucified Jesus, the Jews instigated it. Men may be quite guilty in carrying out what God has purposed, Gen. 50:20; Is. 10:5-7; Acts 4:27-28.

Acts 2:24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

"Him God raised up." The Greek word "agony" is "pains" as in the pain of a woman in childbirth. Perhaps the point is that just as when a baby is born the pain is suddenly ended (John 16:21) likewise resurrection is suddenly the end of all grief. But we must remember that all of Jesus' suffering ended on Calvary. Peter pictures death from our point of view, the wages of sin. Jesus paid that before He died.

Acts 2:25 David said about him: "'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Verses 25-28, quoted from Psalm 16:8-11, give the Old Testament reason for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The OT prophesied the resurrection of Jesus. David knew that just as Abraham believed in Him, John 8:56.

David in Psalm 16 was not writing about himself. He was writing about Jesus Christ. No one knows on what occasion David wrote Psalm 16 nor need we know because this Psalm, in its entirety, is Messianic.

The LXX is quoted quite exactly which agrees with the Hebrew. Only a phrase here and there is changed for the sake of clarity.

Kretzmann: The Messiah's entire life could be spent in a confident and calm contemplation of the end which was waiting Him . . . He knows and is convinced that His soul will not be given up and abandoned in the abode of the dead and destruction, that his body will not rot in the grave according to the common experience of mankind . . . The words of the Psalm are a beautiful and clear exposition of the Messiah concerning his death and the glorification which would be His through His death.
During His days on earth Jesus constantly saw the Father before Him. He knew that the Father was His refuge and strength. Therefore He was not shaken. Think back to the Gospels how Jesus faced the hatred and slander of the unbelieving Jews. He did not flinch. Here we have the reason.

Acts 2:26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,

The heart denotes the innermost being. The tongue is the instrument of confession to the world. "My glory" was replaced with "my tongue" in the LXX. The two do not contradict each other. Jesus declared glorious truths by using His tongue. He did this because He knew that the Father stood behind Him.

The second line of verse 26 directs us to the burial of Jesus. "My flesh" evidently means "my body." Very likely "will rest" is the better translation of "will live" for we know that it was a short period of time and this translation fits the context better than "will live" or "will dwell."

Acts 2:27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

"My body, too, will rest in the hope that you will not abandon my soul to Hades." Before Jesus died He had the firm hope and belief in what is said of Him in this verse.

It is clear from Scripture that Jesus was not a sinner. It is also clear that He entered Paradise when He died. It is further clear that His suffering was over when He died. He cried: "It is finished!" John 19:30. His vicarious work for sinful men had ended. His sorrows were behind Him.

Jesus is called "the Holy One" in Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14; 1 John 2:20; Acts 13:35.

Jesus' body could not decay because He was sinless. In addition to that fact, it is true in Jesus' case because it was prophesied of Him.

Acts 2:28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'

Jesus is addressing none other than Yahweh. The thought in this verse is the same as in the Hebrew. The NASB translates thus: "Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou wilt make me full of gladness with Thy presence." These words from Psalm 16 obviously prophecy also the resurrection of Jesus. Our text is speaking of the very presence of God for which Jesus prayed in John 17.

Acts 2:29 "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.

Now Peter applies the prophecy of Psalm 16 which leads him to another Messianic prophecy found in Psalm 110. This time he addresses them with the world "Gentlemen brothers." That is not very good English but is a literal rendering of the Greek. In simple English Peter says: "The Jews esteemed David highly; and he had something not altogether favorable to say of him that the glory of Christ might be enhanced." Though David was great, there is someone who is greater.

Josephus attests to the fact of David's tomb in Jerusalem.

Acts 2:30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.

This points back to the quotation from Psalm 16. It was proof of inspiration. "Because he was a prophet," means "because God spoke through him." No one needed to inform David. The NASB translates as follows here: "that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon his throne." This translation and the other contemporary ones do not add the words found in KJV and NKJV. Compare the texts.

This oath is found in Psalm 132:11 and 89:4. This is also stated in 2 Sam. 7:12-13. This verse shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that Psalm 16 is prophetic and Messianic.

When David wrote this Psalm he did it "knowing that God swore to him with an oath to seat one out of the fruit of his loins on his throne."

Acts 2:31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.

Because David foresaw he spoke. Note carefully the words "concerning the resurrection of the Christ." David foresaw and knew that Psalm 16 was speaking not about himself but about Christ. In the eyes of David the prophecy was as good as accomplished fact. Christ was not abandoned to hell (to danger) and His body did not experience decay and corruption. The only on of His kind in history.

Acts 2:32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.

This includes the Apostles and many others. They witnessed the risen Christ, not the resurrection itself.

Acts 2:33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

From here to the end of our text Peter speaks about Jesus' ascension and exaltation which had to precede Pentecost. The resurrection of Christ being established, His ascension cannot be questioned.

Acts 2:34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand

With this word Peter introduces the proof for the exaltation of Jesus. Peter's comments show clearly that the prophecies did not involve David. Psalm 110:1 is one of the most often quoted OT passages in the NT: Matt. 22:41; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44; 1 Cor. 15:25; Heb 1:13; 10:13.

Yahweh spoke to David's Adon. Peter's hearers must have recognized the reference to the Messiah immediately. Jesus' human nature was exalted to the right hand of God. It is the crowning step in Jesus' becoming Master over all of His and my enemies. The right hand of God signifies God's power and majesty. It is found everywhere.

Acts 2:35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."'

By this time very likely Peter's hearers were beginning to feel their guilt. And, very likely, they classified themselves among Jesus' enemies, which means those who hate Jesus. Enemies a footstool is an ancient figure of speech picturing the conqueror placing his foot on the neck of the conquered. This prophecy, now fulfilled, is a wonderful comfort to all believers in Christ. Nothing can lastingly harm a believer in Christ. Peter quoted Messianic prophecies from Psalm 16 and 110 to show that by His suffering, death, resurrection, ascension and exaltation Jesus Christ had done everything necessary in preparation for the fulfillment of the prophecy from Joel concerning Pentecost. When Christ was baptized the Spirit equipped the God-Man. On Pentecost the God-Man sent the Spirit to be with the Church permanently.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.

This is the grand conclusion which amounts to the profound contrast between how God and the Covenant people treated Jesus.

The whole house of Israel means not only those Jews listening that day but Jews throughout NT history. This sentence still speaks to the Jews today.

Yahweh has made Jesus Adon as prophesied in Psalm 110:1. And Yahweh has made Jesus Messiah , Christ, the one anointed with the Holy Spirit. This applies to Jesus' human nature. He was already God.

It's like saying: "This Jesus, of all people, you, of all people, have crucified." The stinging rebuke comes right at the end. The Law always condemns. And these Jews needed some very hard Law to crush those stony hearts. They had vented all their fury and hatred on their Savior.


Adapted for Buls' Notes on the Web, from Exegetical Notes Epistle Texts, Series B, Sundays After Pentecost ;by Harold H. Buls, Page 3-7

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