A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Message summary: Today we rejoice in this truth and live for the One who once for all died for our sins and now lives forevermore, for it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him! It is for this truth that we must earnestly, faithfully and vigorously contend!
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“This man (Jesus) 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. 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” (Acts 2:23,24).
In our daily verse Peter is preaching to the curious crowd on the day of Pentecost. Fifty days earlier he was among the first witnesses to the greatest event in history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“This man (Jesus) was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge." The redemption plan was a plan from the very beginning. Pastor Steven Cole comments, "Peter shows that Jesus was not killed because He was a victim of His enemies. He was killed because God predetermined before the world began that Jesus would die as the Savior of His people. Isaiah 53:10ff prophesied, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief.” And so rather than invalidating Jesus as Lord and Messiah, His death actually validated Him, since it was a fulfillment of God’s eternal decree.
"And you, with the help of wicked men." What a convicting statement the two words "and you" must have been to the initial hearers, for ultimately it was the sin of the human race and each individual sinner which "put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross". Stuart Townend captures this sentiment in his song "How Deep The Father's Love For Us" with these words.
Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
In Peter's message one verse was devoted to Jesus' life/incarnation (Acts 2:22) and one verse on His death/crucifixion (Acts 2:23), but Peter then expounds on Christ's resurrection for the next nine verses. In fact the resurrection of Christ could well be called the main theme of the apostolic preaching in Acts.
“But God raised Him from the dead” is the first reference to the resurrection in apostolic preaching in the book of Acts. Apostolic preaching consistently emphasized the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was and ever will be at the very heart of the Gospel. A faithful witness will always, "earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).
“Freeing Him from the agony of death." Peter, who infamously denied the Lord at His trial, had been a witness to this agony, although at a distance due to his denial and shame. But the resurrection freed Him and the gripping chains of death were broken.
“Because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” Peter surely recalled the teaching of Jesus he had heard time after time. These teachings made sense to him now. Early in His ministry Jesus had said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). After Peter had made his great confession of faith, Jesus clearly taught that He would “suffer many things, be killed, and be raised again the third day". Even his enemies were aware of the claim and made provision for a guard at the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). But no paltry Roman guard was going to stop this glorious, supernatural event! Death had forever lost its sting.
Today we rejoice in this truth and live for the One who once for all died for our sins and now lives forevermore, for it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him! It is for this truth that we must earnestly, faithfully and vigorously contend!
Death could not hold You, the veil tore before You
You silenced the boast, of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring, the praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the living hope we have through Jesus who did not die in vain, but instead conquered sin and death. You raised Christ’s body from the dead, because death could not hold Him. The certainty of Christ’s resurrection is taught and reinforced throughout the New Testament writings and is the cornerstone of our faith. Biblical perspective makes the reality of the grave not a finality, but a springboard from which we will enter into glorious, eternal life. With deep conviction we choose to earnestly, faithfully, and vigorously contend for this essential truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Further study: In Acts there are three prominent preachers from whom we have the text of their messages recorded; Peter, Stephen, and Paul. Both Peter and Paul have the resurrection as a very prominent element in their preaching.
Stephen’s sermon was interrupted when he proclaimed, “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered Him (Christ), you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it” (Acts 7:51-53).
“When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him” (v. 54) and this progressed to his stoning. He was unable to complete his sermon which I am sure would have progressed to declare the resurrection.
However, Stephen declared the resurrection of Christ in another way: “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55,56). The risen Lord was seen by Stephen at the right hand of God so thus he also proclaimed the resurrection of our Savior! Praise the Lord!
All this week our messages will be on the resurrection of Jesus Christ as taught in each of the major sections of the New Testament.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"How Deep The Father's Love" Video Selah
"What A Beautiful Name" Video This is the song we quoted above that has the line, "Death could not hold You". We sang this in our church on Sunday but today I will post a link to the pre-pandemic version with the Calvary Church Choir, Orchestra and congregation.
You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names
"Chain Breaker" Video Gaither Vocal Band
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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