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?

6 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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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

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  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.

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