Acts 2: 22 – 24
Peter addressed the crowd 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
Peter wastes no time in setting the record straight and countering the arguments of those who would say Jesus was not The Messiah.
The death of Jesus was no accident; those who brought it about may well be guilty men, but it’s not accidental. It was no less than the fulfillment of prophecies down through history. Many would say that a true Messiah could not and would not allow himself to be crucified; he would show his messianic power by defying those who would do him ill, but Jesus did the exact opposite. Peter reminds his listeners that this should not come as a surprise, it had been foretold, if only they read the Scriptures correctly.
If there was the slightest shred of doubt about God’s hand in all the events of Easter then the resurrection puts those doubts to flight. Only God would have the power to overcome death and leave it unable to hold Jesus or indeed any of us.
I was once as a student set an essay “Can you have Christianity without the Incarnation?” As I compiled my answer (which was basically No but being an academic exercise you have to use 2500 words to say that No!) it occurred to me that you could not have Christianity without the Resurrection either. Peter here hammers the point home, and Luke throughout Acts repeats it time and again, that the Resurrection of Jesus is front and centre of the Christian faith.
John Knox and the other Reformers said every day we celebrate the resurrection. Indeed we do, and should, for we worship not a wise man who left us good instructions, not a philosophy of mutual help and love. We worship a relationship with a living God with whom we live and walk.
Lord God, our loving Father, we walk with you through our lives for you are with us alive and risen. That is why and how you help us, and that is why and how we praise you. Receive our worship this day and may we always remember you are with us.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,