Sunday, July 24, 2016

Power Over Death

Psalm 16 Hebrew Text
Peter's sermon continues in Acts 2 with a second Old Testament passage explaining Christ.

Peter transitioned the crowds attention by citing the prophet Joel. Now that he has their attention Peter cites from Psalm 16:8-11, a psalm of David.

Psalm 16 in Context

Psalm 16 was written during the life of King David. Scholars debate the exact dates of David's birth and death. Regardless of the dates chosen we are looking at a psalm written roughly 1000 years before the birth of Jesus.

The original writing certainly applied to events happening in David's own context. In this psalm, David expresses his trust and delight in the living God. Not only does David say that he delights in God but he also expresses delight in God's people.

How Peter Uses Psalm 16

Peter focuses the crowds' attention on the reality of God's power working in the life of Jesus by pointing to the miracles, wonders, and signs God performed through Jesus during His public ministry. The resurrection was the pinnacle of this demonstration.

Peter does not simply point to the historical reality. He wouldn't need Scripture for this.

Instead, Peter first explains that all of these miracles - including the resurrection of Jesus from the dead - were all part of God's predetermined plan. God inspired David to speak prophetically and look ahead in human history to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus roughly 1000 years in advance.

Jesus rose from the dead in fulfillment of this prophecy in the psalms. Jesus rose from the dead to demonstrate His victory over death. Jesus did this in accordance with God's predetermined plan.

Peter then links this truth back to the events of Pentecost as further proof of Christ's victory. Christ is risen from the dead - they are all witnesses to this. More than this, Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God the Father in heaven. Part of Christ's exaltation included His receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, which He poured out on earth resulting in the dramatic events they were currently experiencing on Pentecost.

The crowds' present experience and the events of the past - both ancient and recent - declared without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is Lord and the promised Messiah (Christ).

Explaining Christ

No matter what anyone believes, Jesus was not a victim. He was not a political activist who angered the wrong group of people. He wasn't a religious zealot whose views got Him killed.

He was the promised Messiah. He was God in the flesh come to shed His own blood for the salvation of sinners.

His death was on His own terms. He died so that He could rise again in fulfillment of the Scriptures.

The gospel message relies on this truth:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NASB)

Psalm 16:8-11 is foundational for explaining Jesus' mission and victory. Anyone can claim to be a Savior. But not anyone can predict their own death, burial, and resurrection 1000 years in advance.

Only the living God can do this.

Jesus is both Lord and Christ. We can know that He reigns with authority because of His victory over death. But it is even more than this. His victory over death was proclaimed 1000 years before He was even born!

Only God is able to speak authoritatively and perfectly regarding the future. We can trust His Word and the resurrection of Christ in fulfillment of Psalm 16 is a perfect example.

God's Word tells us of a coming Judgment and that every human being is guilty. He also tells us that Jesus is willing and able to save all who trust in Him for salvation. Praise God!

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