Acts 2:22-35 – God’s Deliberate Plan

When Peter addresses the crowd in Acts 2, he argues Jesus’s death fulfilled God’s plan, and Jesus was vindicated by God in his resurrection and ascension. The death of Jesus was according to God’s purpose and foreknowledge, but humans are responsible for his death. There is a fine balance between divine sovereignty and human responsibility here: God determined the death, and people freely chose to kill Jesus. Both of these words (ὁρίζω and πρόγνωσις) are theologically packed words. God was not surprised by the death of Jesus, but knew fully what was going to happen because he had planned it ahead of time.

Peter at PentecostBut Jesus is not dead because God has raised him from the dead in fulfillment of prophecy. Peter goes about proving the resurrection quite a bit differently than we do today. He does not mention the empty tomb or challenge the Pharisees to produce a body to prove that Jesus was really dead. Rather than pursue modern logical arguments, he turns to the Psalms and shows that David does not exhaust the meaning of the text. Since the messiah is to be a new David, the psalms Peter cites are turning into prophecies of Jesus’ resurrection.

Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-11, where David states his faith that God will not abandon him in the grace not allow him to see decay. Peter states the obvious: David died and was not resurrected and his tomb was not far from the location of this sermon. Perhaps people in the audience had already visited the tomb of David during their visit to the City. In the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7) David was told he would not fail to have a man on the throne. This text was also generally thought to refer to a future messiah. For Peter, Psalm 16 is a prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus.

To further his case, Peter also cites Psalm 110, another well-known messianic prophecy. There David is told that he would be exalted to the very throne of God and that God would make all his enemies his footstool. This prophecy cannot have been exhaustively fulfilled in the life David. Although David was given great victories, and he was the greatest king in Israel’s history, he was not raised to the level of the throne of God!

Peter therefore tells the crowd that Jesus non only rose from the dead but was taken up to heaven like Elijah or Moses (or Enoch, for that matter). In those three cases, the person was a highly respected prophet who did not experience death. Like the great men of old, God confirmed Jesus’ message by doing miracles through him, but he allowed him to die in order to initiate the new covenant.

Since Jesus fulfills the psalm which David could not, he is confirmed as the Lord and Christ (verse 36). This is the most shocking point in the whole sermon – everything which the Hebrew Bible looked forward to had happened with Jesus, he was in fact the Lord and Messiah. But Israel crucified him! Here the finger points at the crowd, since they were a part of the people who shouted for Pilate to crucify Jesus. Perhaps they followed Jesus the cross mocking him and watched him suffer before going off to celebrate the Passover with their families!

This is the real point of the sermon – God sent his messiah, but Israel rejected him. Thinking back to the life of Jesus, what are some additional things Peter might have included in this sermon? In what ways did Israel reject Jesus as Messiah?

17 thoughts on “Acts 2:22-35 – God’s Deliberate Plan

  1. As stated in this post, during Peter’s sermon he quotes David and Jesus’ resurrection as proof that Jesus is the Messiah, but he does not do this by showing them the empty tomb. Instead, he does this by quoting Psalm16:8-11 and argued that “because David died, the psalm must have been speaking about one of his descendants” (Polhill 2084). Other than then the empty tomb, what other things could Peter have stated in his sermon to prove that Jesus was the Messiah? Two things he could have done was quote Isaiah 7: 14 and Micah 5:2. Isaiah 7:14 states that a virgin will conceive and bear a son, Immanuel, and that this will be the sign that the Lord has given that the child is the Messiah. Jesus was born from a virgin birth, and the Jews who were familiar with that would have understood that connection. Micah 5:2 prophesies that the Messiah’s birth was to be in Bethlehem, and Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and also the Messiah’s Davidic lineage (Aucker, Magary 1703). The verse from Micah would support what Peter had already said from Psalm 16: 8-11 for it supports that Jesus is a descendant from David.

  2. Even though Israel rejected and crucified Christ in Peter’s sermon he addresses the promise that Christ left. This blog post highlights much of the crucifiction and resurrection but that was not the only reason Peter was speaking to the crowd at this point. In Acts 2:17-18 Peter talks about the promise that God had to Joel. In his promise God said he will give his spirit to all people (Joel 2:28-29). The people at this point had never been exposed to the Holy Spirit. This blog post talks about how Israel rejected Jesus physically while he was here on earth. Now they are also rejecting Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter later goes on to explain that it is important for all people to believe that Christ did die as the true king (Acts 2:38). He also explains that the Holy Spirit that they have just witnessed is how they are to be given forgiveness through repentance now (Acts 2:39). The post and Acts 2 explain the impact Christ was going to have now that he was gone. Peter explains much of Christ’s story but I think he might have included more information of Christ’s story that would be in relation to how it now impacted the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

  3. Even though Israel rejected and crucified Christ in Peter’s sermon he addresses the promise that Christ left. This blog post highlights much of the crucifixion and resurrection but that was not the only reason Peter was speaking to the crowd at this point. In Acts 2:17-18 Peter talks about the promise that God had to Joel. In his promise God said he will give his spirit to all people (Joel 2:28-29). The people at this point had never been exposed to the Holy Spirit. This blog post talks about how Israel rejected Jesus physically while he was here on earth. Now they are also rejecting Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter later goes on to explain that it is important for all people to believe that Christ did die as the true king (Acts 2:38). He also explains that the Holy Spirit that they have just witnessed is how they are to be given forgiveness through repentance now (Acts 2:39). The post and Acts 2 explain the impact Christ was going to have now that he was gone. Peter explains much of Christ’s story but I think he might have included more information of Christ’s story that would be in relation to how it now impacted the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

  4. There are a number of ways that Peter could have proven that Jesus was the anointed one; two of them include that Jesus was a descendant of David and that he was presented to the Jews four days before the Passover. The fact that Jesus was a descendant of David is proven in the book of Jeremiah 23:5-6. Also, that he was presented on trial before the Jews four days before the Passover is shown in Ex 12:3-6
    The top two that come to mind include that Jesus was rejected by the Jews for another king and that Jesus was pierced. This verse includes Zechariah 11 4-6, which is fulfilled in John 19: 13-15 when the Jews declare Caesar is there king. Another one is that talk about the marks that Jesus has on himself that prove that he was hung on a cross which is the book of Zechariah in 12:10.
    http://www.accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/353prophecies.html

  5. Israel missed that Jesus was their Messiah. Those who didn’t believe accused Him of many things. Lying was an obviously one. But also of being a glutton and drunk (Matt 11:19), and a Samaritan with a demon (John 8:48). They didn’t want to accept that He was the Messiah. He wasn’t what they were expecting. He didn’t come as a part of their belief system, instead He came eating with sinners and tax collectors, not with their perception of “righteousness” and might to defeat their enemies. Their rejection of Him was so intense it turned in to hatred, so much so that they killed Him. What a testament of the danger of not understanding God or His plan.

  6. When looking at the life of Jesus, you can see time and again how he was rejected by those who were waiting and hoping for him. Multiple times he was accused of breaking the law of the sabbath (Mk. 2:23; Lk. 13:10-17; John 5:16). His authority was continually challenged (Luke 20:1-8) and he was accused of practicing magic by Satan’s power (Matt. 12:22-24). John 7:1 speaks of how Jesus had to stay away from Judea “because the Jews were seeking to kill him” (ESV). It is sad to see how Israel, who had been waiting and waiting for the Messiah, just turned around and rejected him when the time came. I can only imagine how those who were listening to Peter’s message must have thought, when presented with the truth of what they had done by rejecting him. But I have to say, it surprised me that Peter uses Psalms and David to prove Jesus’s resurrection, instead of details of the resurrection. I suppose it is because I tend to be a firm “must have the facts “person, which is very likely a product of our modern world. In my mind, the prophecies Peter presents would have too many openings for interpretation and not enough hard, solid proof. However, those who were listening to Peter were strong, observant Jews. Peter obviously knew that using the Old Testament passages about David was a better argument for Jesus’s resurrection than presenting evidence of an empty tomb. This is a good reminder to me that sometimes skepticism and the need for physical proof does not trump faith!

  7. Acts 2:22-35 is a passage that discusses the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection as told by Peter in his sermon at Pentecost. The reason I find this passage so interesting is also discussed briefly at the beginning of this particular blog post. “The death of Jesus was according to God’s purpose and foreknowledge, but humans are responsible for his death.” I think this is something very intriguing because God knew that the only way for us to be saved from sin was for him to send his son to die for us on the cross as an atoning sacrifice. Yet, Peter still placed the blame on us as human beings for putting Jesus on the cross. In my opinion we do have freewill (2 Peter 3:9, John 7:17, Galatians 5:16-17, Matthew 23:27 [the list goes on]), but I wonder where in history we made this choice to put Jesus on the cross. Was it like Peter discussed, when they rejected Him and put him on the cross directly before Passover; or was the choice made when humanity fell with the first sin, causing the people who put Jesus on the cross to be blinded to seeing their Messiah?

  8. I think that Peter could’ve added some different things in his sermon, but the first thing that came to my mind was the prophecy written in Isaiah 53 which says that the Messiah was going to suffer, be rejected by men, and basically not come in the way that they had expected the Messiah to (ESV). It even specifically says that the Messiah would “pour his soul to death” in verse 12 (Isa. 53:12, ESV). However, it also hints in the next chapter at the salvation/compassion that would come to all people by the servant’s death “if they will enter in now on the terms of His glorious grace” (Polhill, 1339).
    Regarding why the people of Israel rejected Jesus, I’m sure that there were multiple different reasons, but the top three that I can think of are because He didn’t come in the way that they had expected, because He didn’t get rid of the Roman rule over them, and because He seemed to speak blasphemous words according to their teachers. I believe that many Jews also rejected Jesus as the Messiah because of the false rumor that was spread by the guards who had been paid to say that the disciples stole Jesus’s body in the middle of the night while they were sleeping (Matt. 28:11-15, ESV). Especially because it says at the end of the verse that “this story has been spread among the Jews to this day” (Matt. 28:15, ESV).

  9. Personally, I think that Peter used the two Psalms (16 & 110) wisely in his sermon when it came to proving the point that Jesus had and will continue to fulfill all the prophesies that were made about him. David, who wrote the two Psalms, not only was a king in his time but was also considered a prophet in predicting events of Christ’s life on earth (Polhil 2085). Peter was also taking the liberty of showing the rejection of Christ that Israel, despite the prophesies foretold about him. Though the Bible consistently prophesized the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, yet Israel rejected him (Long). Anyways, much like any sermon, I can theorize that Peter probably had a “time-limit” when it came to his preaching, and he chose to talk about the accounts of David’s Psalm, at least that is how I can see it. Of course, there are many different passages in the Old Testament that Peter could talk about when it comes to the prophecy of Christ and the rejection of Christ by Israel. Firstly, Peter could have referred to Psalm 22:1-31, which mainly talks about the Messiah being forsaken and tortured. Jesus actually refers to this Psalm by proclaiming, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46). Scripture is so full of cross-references and fulfillment of prophesy, that it would be hard for anyone to deny the use of Psalm 22 by Christ himself. Another reference that Peter could have touched upon would be the passage of Isaiah 53, where it, much like Psalm 22, talks about the rejection and suffering of the Messiah. This passage specifically talks about the brutal treatment the Messiah would receive, despite him being there to save his people. Israel’s blatant rejection of Jesus is not just sprinkled through Scripture, but it is a constant theme that no one, not even the people Peter is preaching to, can ignore.

    References:

    Crossway Bibles. (2016). Esv Study Bible: English Standard Version.

  10. This sermon of Peter is different from others, the way he uses David to back up his support of Jesus being the Messiah, I think is wise, due to him talking to Jews who know who David is and are most likely familiar with those Psalms Peter mentioned. Like you have already mentioned, I think another passage Peter could have mentioned was 2 Samual 7, specifically versus 12 and 13, which mention that the offspring of Davids will have an eternal kingdom. Like the other passages Peter picked, this has to do with David and most likely many Jews listening will be familiar with this Messanic message. I think another passage from the Old testament Peter could have used, that would tie in with Peter’s theme of Israel rejecting and killing him would be Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem”. This verse, like the other would probably be familiar to many Jews, this also outlines Peters point in this passage of Acts and also others when you accuse these crowds of Jews of killing Jesus. I think there are many ways that Israel rejected Jesus, even starting with his own family and neighbors in Nazareth (Luke 4: 28-29 ). Another example would be crowds of Jews calling for the refusal of Barbas, a criminal, and called for Jesus to be crucified and died (Luke 23:20-25). These are just a couple examples of Israel rejecting Jesus and his ministry and who he said he was.

  11. The Israelite people continued to reject Jesus as the Savior that they were waiting for that was prophesized about for so many years simply because Jesus is not who they envisioned was going to save them. They people were not expecting a man who was born to a low class Jewish family in a stable in the town of Bethlehem. They were expecting a child of a well known king to come and save the day through war and triumph. They did not want to believe Jesus because the way they were told about the Savior that would come, Jesus in their minds, did not fulfill their expectations. Honestly, if I grew up during this time and was told about the prophets foretelling a Savior that was coming, I would not easily believe Jesus who was going around claiming to be the Son of God sent to save them. Not to mention him coming back to life after three days of being dead. Even today, that story being share would be hard to believe. There are so many more stories that Peter could have shared about Jesus fulfilling teachings of the Old Testament. Isaiah 52-53 tells about a suffering of a glorious servant who can clearly be seen as a portrayal of Jesus and His life events are earth. The people who lived during the time of Jesus simply did not want to see the truth that was being fulfilled and were therefore blinded by their unbelief. The book of Isaiah is known as a book of the Old Testament that is filled with prophesies of Jesus that were fulfilled and Peter could have preached about any of the words shared by Isaiah.

  12. I have always wondered why Israel rejected Jesus for who he is when they knew the prophesies that were told about Him. Like the blog post said, there were many verses in the old testament that prophesized Jesus’ coming and who He was. One verse that I would have included if I were Peter was Isaiah 53:5 where it talks about Jesus being “pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). I feel like that paints a pretty good picture of Jesus’ death on the cross. The next part gives more evidence into the purpose of Jesus’ death and why it was significant. The “punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Without Jesus dying on the cross, we would not have that same peace and healing from sins. I feel that this verse really “proves” that Jesus was who he said he was. However, the people did not expect Jesus to be someone born to the lowliest of men, but as a great king. Someone famous and “Messiah worthy.” However, this is not how Jesus came to them. Instead of treating him like they did as he rode through on a donkey on Palm Sunday, they rejected Him. This reminds me of the verse Isaiah 53:3 when it talks about Jesus being despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3). Not only was Jesus rejected, but also despised. It’s interesting to think about the Messiah who would save the world to not only not be praised and glorified, but also despised. People wanted to kill him. They did not believe he was their Messiah. Something I sometimes wonder is if I were back in that time, would I have accepted Jesus for who he was? Or rejected him like the rest?

  13. I think initially, Peter’s sermon was off-putting. Like, who is this man who just comes in and start preaching this top-tier level sermon? So, I love that when he goes off, and starts going after them for the mistake and choice that they made to crucify Jesus Christ. With this in mind, I can’t help but imagine the other things that he could have included in his sermon, that would either grab their attention, or just simply make them truly think about their own lives. Maybe he goes into more detail about who Jesus was as a man, but also as their savior. Or maybe he shares more of a testimony, and how Jesus impacted Him personally. These two things I believe would (with my best guess anyway) made the “cut” for his final sermon when he was preaching to this crowd. Acts 2:32, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses”. I love to imagine that Peter went into even greater detail about how Jesus has impacted his life. Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah in a few simple ways. Mainly, He wasn’t the Messiah that they were expecting. They were expecting this man to come down, ride on a white horse, and level Rome completely. That wasn’t the case. The messiah that came, washed feet, challenged with questions, ministered to women and the poor the same amount as he did the men. Which, in turn, made some of them just simply believe that Jesus was a prophet, and didn’t press into the fact that because He’s God, it’s almost guaranteed to look different than how we expected it.

  14. Peter walks a fine line in Acts two when he hints at men having free will and God having divine sovereignty but ties the two together when he defines Jesus as the Messiah and calls the people to repentance. Free will and divine sovereignty are often seen as two separate beliefs, when they may be two sides of one coin. When Peter speaks to the people about Jesus’s death, he directly accuses the crowd of Israelites of Jesus’s crucifixion. Before this accusation, Peter explains that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,” (Acts 2:23). How could God’s plan be for the Israelites to violently kill His own son? God’s plan for the redemption of the world was to be made in human likeness (Phil 2:6-8) and become an atoning sacrifice for the world’s sin (1 John 2:2). God’s plan was fulfilled even though it was through the sinful acts of the Israelites. God did not make people sin so that His plan may be fulfilled, rather the people sinned, and God used what they had done to fulfill His plan (Prov 19:21). Peter then draws attention to the Davidic prophecies that were fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ. Through Ps. 16: 8-11, Peter draws the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah since he was a descendant of David and was the only one who conquered death (Polhil 2084). After the crowd understands that God’s plan was fulfilled, they are responsible for the death of Jesus, and He truly was the Messiah, they are ready for application. Although Peter calls the crowd to repentance, he should have also included some teachings on the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave to the disciples during his ministry. A few examples of this can be found in John 7:37-38 and 4:1-15 when Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “living water.”

  15. Peter walks a fine line in Acts two when he hints at men having free will and God having divine sovereignty but ties the two together when he defines Jesus as the Messiah and calls the people to repentance. Free will and divine sovereignty are often seen as two separate beliefs, when they may be two sides of one coin. When Peter speaks to the people about Jesus’s death, he directly accuses the crowd of Israelites of Jesus’s crucifixion. Prior to this accusation, Peter explains that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,” (Acts 2:23). How could God’s plan be for the Israelites to violently kill His own son? God’s plan for the redemption of the world was to be made in human likeness (Phil 2:6-8) and become an atoning sacrifice for the world’s sin (1 John 2:2). God’s plan was fulfilled even though it was through the sinful acts of the Israelites. God did not make people sin so that His plan may be fulfilled, rather the people sinned, and God used what they had done to fulfill His plan (Prov 19:21). Peter then draws attention to the Davidic prophecies that were fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ. Through Ps. 16: 8-11, Peter draws the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah since he was a descendant of David and was the only one who conquered death (Polhil 2084). After the crowd understands that God’s plan was fulfilled, they are responsible for the death of Jesus, and He truly was the Messiah, they are ready for application. Although Peter calls the crowd to repentance, he should have also included some teachings on the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave to the disciples during his ministry. A few examples of this can be found in John 7:37-38 and 4:1-15 when Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “living water.”

  16. It would be simple of me to say that Peter is straightforward and bold when he gave this speech to the 3000 converts and the rest of the tremendous crowd. However, this approach is exactly what the people needed to hear. After the crucifixion, and after Pentecost, the Jews did not take seriously the death of Christ. Not only did they not handle the death seriously, but they were ignorant of their responsibility for His death. These people had not expected this wise man, who ministered to the sick/poor equally, and whom was tortured to be the Messiah. They had expected this Messiah to be a being that would physically restore the nations immediately. However, this was clearly not the case. Understanding this perspective gives reasoning to why the Jews would have been questionable of Jesus being the Messiah, but they continued to choose to let this perfect man die. They practically delivered Jesus to Pilate, beginning the torture and crucifixion.

    This discussion on the foreknowledge from God and humankind’s gift of free will, helps to have a better understanding of how these Jews felt. However, they were simply living a life in denial of having any kind of responsibility to the death of the Messiah. This is why Peter’s speech is so necessary, even though he is straightforward. Peter looked to the disciples asking for advice which concluded in being, “repent and be baptized…everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:38-39). After this moment of the people being “cut to the heart” (2:37), Peter provided the solution for them to experience forgiveness and a second chance at eternal life in the New Kingdom with God.

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