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One of the main arguments by those opposed to the death penalty is that there is a terrible possibility of executing an innocent person. Can you imagine how you would feel if you pulled the switch and terminated the life of an innocent person? We have been studying the first sermon of the Christian church – the explanation given by Peter back on the Day of Pentecost regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in such dramatic fashion. In addressing his targeted Jewish audience he lays the blame for the crucifixion of the most innocent man who ever lived directly at their feet.

His goal is not to alienate the crowd or stir up similar persecution against himself and the other 11 apostles. His goal is to bring conviction of sin and a sense of need of the deliverance that can only be provided by the true Messiah – the one promised in OT prophecy and now sent to earth to accomplish their salvation. It is interesting to see how Peter approaches this skeptical audience. He makes a very logical, reasoned argument – not just some emotional plea. And yet he is not here to refute all of their wild speculations and rabbit trail philosophical digressions. He knows that he has one very powerful trump card to play – an ace in the hole that cannot be refuted. That trump card is the reality of the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. A resurrection that he can personally testify to because he has seen the risen Lord on numerous occasions.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ must be the pivotal point in our presentation of the gospel to lost sinners. It constitutes the Supreme Court from which there can be no appeal to any higher authority. Once you have played this trump card the burden is on the listener to respond. How do you deal with the reality of the resurrection? Do you deny it? We live in the year A.D. 2010 – our very calendar marked by the life and ministry of Jesus Christ here on this earth. We rub shoulders with people who claim their life has been transformed by a personal relationship with this very Jesus who is alive today. As Christian disciples we do not follow some dogmas of an historical religious founder but we live by the power of the Holy Spirit to please our living Lord.

Such a life should be supremely joyful and hopeful as we are secure regarding our eternal destiny. How blessed is the man says the psalmist. We are the ones who have discovered true happiness in life. How happy is your life? How secure are you regarding your eternal destiny?




It establishes Jesus Christ as both Christ and Lord – He is who He said He was – ends all debate on this subject – looked at these verses briefly last week – but they are important for today’s flow of thought as well – the whole sermon of Peter is tightly constructed – just takes us several weeks to work through it

(:22a) Call for Attention: “Men of Israel, listen to these words:

Parallel expression to vs. 29: Men brothers – Peter speaking as one of them – not as an outsider; he understands their thought process; what makes them react the way they do to the gospel message about Jesus of Nazareth

A. (:22b) Jesus – Attested to by God in Earthly Ministry by Miracles and Wonders and Signs

“Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—“

John 18:5, 7 – “Jesus the Nazarene” — the man the Jews sought to execute

This passage is all about God attesting to the authentication of Jesus – now the apostles as God’s appointed spokesmen are bringing that message to the world

These are things that intellectually you already know – you witnessed the miracles and wonders and signs. You saw the numerous healings; you experienced the divine power over the laws of nature; you heard the powerful teaching; you witnessed the love and compassion and mercy of a sinless life. The question now is one of your heart – will you continue to love your sin or be humbled by God and moved to repentance and faith?

B. (:23) Jesus – Attested to by God in Predetermined Death By Crucifixion

“this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”

MacArthur: Before Peter can ever talk to them about where they need to be, he’s got to show them where they are. And just in that subtle little statement that carries itself through Acts, “you have killed Him, God has raised Him,” is implied that constant dichotomy. And that constant issue that every man on the face of the earth must face. That he is a rebel against God.

This simple statement gets right to the heart of the problem = the pride of man. Are you willing to admit your rebellion against God? God has an agenda, a will, a path of righteousness and holiness that He has prescribed. You have your own agenda and will and path of sinful pleasure that you choose to follow. Do you want the narrow road that leads to heaven or the broad way that leads to destruction? You cannot enter that salvation gate without stooping low in humility as a little child.

C. (:24) Jesus – Attested to by God in Righteous Resurrection that Broke the Power of Death

“And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”

Message = God raised Him up again — this will be repeated in our passage today as the central point – that trump card that Peter plays time and time again

  • Your sins put Him to death . . . God raised Him up again

  • Your pride put Him to death . . . God raised Him up again

  • Your selfishness put Him to death . . . God raised Him up again

Spurgeon: Bonds Which Could Not Hold

PETER is here speaking of the risen Christ, whom God had raised up, “having loosed the pains of death.” So it is clear that whatever those pains were, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ felt them—He felt them much more than His followers do, for, in His death-agony, He was left without the sustaining help of God and the light of His Father’s Countenance was hidden from Him. His death was a bitter one, indeed! He took the deepest draughts of wormwood and gall, for He had to “taste death for every man,” whatever that mysterious expression may mean. We must never imagine that there was about Christ’s death anything which took away from its bitterness. There was much that increased it, but nothing that diminished it. He was bound, as with strong cords, by the pains of death. All His powers were, for a time, fettered. He was held captive and He did really die. After death, He was buried. But there was this remarkable fact about His dead body—it saw no corruption. In the case of ordinary corpses, corruption begins very speedily. In a climate like that of Jerusalem, it is very quick in doing its work of dissolving the mortal fabric. But, although our Lord did truly die, no taint of corruption came upon His precious body.

Why was it impossible that the bonds of death should hold Christ? There are several reasons:

1) The first is that Christ had in Himself the inherent power to die, and to live again . . .

2) Next, the dignity of His Person rendered it impossible that He should be held by the cords of death, apart from the consent of His own will, = His Deity . . .

3) His redeeming work was done. . .

4) He had His Father’s promise that He should not. . .

5) Because each of His offices (as high priest, King and Redeemer) is everlasting, ordained of God in perpetuity—therefore He must rise from the dead.


Chiastic Structure: A B B A / Joy Hope Hope Joy – quoting from Psalm 16

How do we know this is a Messianic Psalm? – Holy Spirit says so – language goes way beyond the experience of King David who is a type of the promised King to come who would reign for eternity

Constable: God’s presence with David made him happy and hopeful.

A. Joyful Eternal Outcome – Emphasis on the Present

1. Joy in the Presence of God – for all Eternity

“For David says of Him, ‘I was always beholding the Lord in my presence;’”

2. Joy in Strength and Security

“For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.”

“Right hand” – position of power and strength

Lenski: as advocates used to sit at the right side of the clients they supported . . . so as not to be made to toss to and fro in uncertainty and in fear

“Shaken” — Agitate, shake as by winds or storms; cause to waver or totter; disturb

Psalm 62:2 “He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

3. Joy on the Inside and on the Outside — in Heart and Expression

“Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted;”

Lenski: His heart, in the Scriptures always the center of the personality, was filled with gladness, the same verb that is used for making merry at a celebration in Luke 15:32; and his tongue jubilated, exulted in songs and expressions of praise.

The mouth should speak out of the overflow of the heart

4. Joy in Understanding God’s Wisdom

“Thou hast made known to me the ways of life;”

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

(Also 16:25)

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fulness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.

5. Joy in the Presence of God – Abundant and Sufficient

“Thou wilt make me full of gladness with Thy presence.”

Transition: Prov. 10:28 “The hope of the righteous is gladness, But the expectation of the wicked perishes.” The unsaved can make plans; they can have expectations of a bright and glorious future; but when it comes to their eternal destiny, they end up perishing in the lake of fire.

B. Hopeful Eternal Outcome – Emphasis on the Future

1. Hope for the Body – Physical part of man

“Moreover my flesh also will abide in hope;”

Paul’s earthly ministry was motivated by hope in the resurrection – a Certain Hope and expectation – not speculative prediction but assurance of things not yet seen (Heb. 11)

Acts 24:14-16 “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law, and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.”

Lenski: This hope of David’s has solid reality under it and thus cannot end in disappointment as do the hopes of the ungodly which have no other foundation than the desires of the ungodly themselves. Jehovah, who has ever been at David’s right to keep him from being shaken by doubt and by fear, will never forsake him at the time of death. His hope is sure.

2. Hope for the Soul / Spirit – Immaterial part of man

a. For the Soul

“Because Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades,”

Bock: Hades is the Greek equivalent of Gehenna or Sheol, the place where the dead are gathered for judgment . . . Being in hades stands in contrast here to being in God’s presence and expresses the threat that death represents.

Lenski: Here soul is in contrast with flesh and not with spirit and thus refers to the soul as the entire immaterial part of man which in life animates the body and also contains the spirit and personality. Thus body and soul constitute the entire human being. When psyche and pneuma are paired, the former refers to the immaterial part only as animating the body (translated “life”), the latter to the same immaterial part as representing the ego or personality and as being able to receive impressions from the divine Pneuma or Holy Spirit.

b. For the Spirit

“Nor allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.”

Bock: “Holy One” is used seventy-seven times in the LXX. It can refer to a priest (Deut. 33:8), to the pious, or to the faithful. A reference to the faithful is the term’s most common usage, especially in the Psalter. In Ps. 16, however, it is a reference to a specific person, as the singulars in the psalm show.

“Decay:” that destruction which is effected by the decay of the body after death


A. Anticipated by OT Prophecy — David

1. David Speaking as a Patriarch — was not speaking about himself

“Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.”

Parallel expression to earlier form of address: “Men of Israel”

Spoke with boldness and confidence; no fear

Messiah not just a founder of a religion; not just the foundation stone upon which all is built; He is risen and alive today to function as the Head of His church; very different than a patriarch figure

Key: Check the tombs and see who has risen and is worthy to be followed; become a disciple of the risen Messiah

2. David Speaking as a Prophet = mouthpiece of God

“And so, because he was a prophet,”

3. David Speaking as a Promise Keeper — Confident of God’s Promises

“and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon his throne”

Piper: We know that God gave David a promise (in 2 Samuel 7:12-16) that one of his own posterity would be the everlasting king of Israel — the Son of David, the Messiah (Isaiah 9:6-7). David must have often thought of this wonderful thing — that in his own body, as it were, there was a King whose reign would never end.

Bock: Peter’s point is that the exercise of messianic authority is on display now in the Spirit’s present distribution, as verses 32-36 declare.

4. David Speaking as a Predictor — of the Future Resurrection of Christ

“he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,

a. Victory Over Spiritual Death – No Hope

“that He was neither abandoned to Hades,”

b. Victory Over Physical Death – No Hope

“nor did His flesh suffer decay.”

Favorite argument of Peter’s – apparently a favorite argument of Paul’s as well: Acts 13:34-41

“it stinketh” – body of Lazarus — cf raccoon that died in our driveway; talk about maggots …where do they come from and how do they multiply so quickly?

Who says the OT does not speak of the resurrection? Very clear prophetic word from the patriarch David, himself a type of Christ

1 Cor. 15:53-57 “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

B. Accomplished by God

“This Jesus God raised up again,

Message = God raised Him up again

Many false Messiahs and false claims; must be able to recognize the authentic Jesus

C. Attested to by Many Witnesses

“to which we are all witnesses.”

Stott: Thus the spoken testimony of the apostles and the written prediction of the prophets converged. Or, as we would say, the Old and New Testament Scriptures coincided in their witness to the resurrection of Christ.

Scott Bayles: When Peter said “we are all witnesses,” he probably waved him arm, indicating the other eleven Apostles. The Law of Moses said that “The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:5 NLT). The case for Christ was established not by just two or three witnesses, but twelve men and at least a half dozen women. Peter’s audience was looking, but at twelve men of unimpeachable character who personally had nothing to gain and everything to lose by preaching Jesus Christ. Even if you reject the miracles, the prophesies and everything else the Bible says, you’ve still got to deal with the testimony of twelve men who say they saw Jesus come back from the dead. They believed it with all their hearts and they died for their belief. How else can we explain that?


God raised Him up again! Resurrection is key to our personal Christian faith and witness to others.

Think of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men. Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

How about the power of God to put your life back together – in fact to impart new spiritual life; in fact to raise your body from the dead and grant you eternal existence in the presence of God?

Illustration: We have a lot of “Jigsaw Christians” these days: Every time they’re faced with problems, they go to pieces.

Has Jesus made you whole? Are you living a life of joy and hope?

Illustration: “There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.” – Clare Boothe Luce

Play the trump card as you witness to others about the resurrected and reigning Lord Jesus Christ. There is no answer to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.