22: “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus of Nazareth by doing wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs through Him, as you well know." - The ministry of Jesus was well-known and there was no doubt that he had been an instrument for God.
23: "But you followed God's prearranged plan. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed Him to the cross and murdered Him." - The death of Jesus was a necessary part of God's plan.
24: "However, God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life again, for death could not keep Him in its grip." - Peter was sharing an eye-witness account to this gathering of people on Pentecost.
27: "For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave." - Quoting from Psalm 16, Peter reveals that even the death of Jesus, the Messiah, had been prophesied.
29: "Dear brothers, think about this! David wasn't referring to himself when he spoke these words I have quoted, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us." - It had been thought that David's words were referring to himself and yet, his grave was proof that he was truly speaking of another.
31: "David was looking into the future and predicting the Messiah's resurrection. He was saying that the Messiah would not be left among the dead and that His body would not rot in the grave." - And this is what the disciples and many of the gathered had experienced first hand.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you have questions about Jesus?
Do you doubt the miracles He had reportedly performed? The listeners to Peter's speech didn't. They had experienced His "wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs" and knew of them as a public endorsement from God. This aspect of Jesus was fact. There was no dispute among them. Peter knew that they knew and it was the foundation for the rest of his speech. Are you willing to accept Jesus as an instrument of God who performed amazing miracles? Can you set aside any remaining doubt and come to know Him as He truly was?
Is God in control? Does He have prearranged plans for you? If God had arranged that His son would be killed and if everything that happened to Jesus had been predetermined, what does that say about the people involved in the crucifixion? Was Judas simply a puppet and Pilot a marionette? Did Peter fail Jesus in his denial? Was the crowd following a script? In what ways do you think God planned Jesus' death and why was it necessary? Once you have answered those questions, now look upon your own life. In what ways are you following God's plans for your life? Is God in control of your life?
In what ways do you talk about the Resurrection? How do you share with others this fact that Jesus was raised from the dead? What proof do you provide them? Peter began, in his testimony to the gathering crowd, with the basics in which they all believed. Do you search for common ground with those around you? Do you understand that there are universal tenets to faith that most people accept? Can you see that if you start with a solid foundation it becomes easier to lead others to accept that which seems implausible? What truths in Peter's speech can you use to help share the news of the gospel to the world? Promises of the Gospel:
Jesus was a miracle worker and the people who knew Him personally were well aware of how God chose to work through Him to publicly reveal the glory of God at work in their lives. In addition to His "wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs" as an indication of God's presence, He faithfully followed everything God laid before Him including His death on a cross. In this way, Peter proves that Jesus' entire life, death, and resurrection precisely followed God's definite and predetermined plan. When we choose to listen more intently to God in our lives, we too, will discover that He has a "plan for (our) welfare and not for harm, to give (us) a future with hope." (Jer. 29:11 NRSV) It is with this glorious understanding of God's love for everyone that we can then move out into the world and, like Peter, provide a message of hope that everyone will accept and embrace.
Brother Gary Sims, I could say with my sister, Joyce Pool, Amen! May I add, a thousand thanks for examining our hearts together in the light of the Word. Finally, I am inspired to respond with an article of my own. neil