There are reasons to believe that Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Savior. Faith in Him as the Son of God is never presented in the Bible as being irrational. In fact, the message of the Gospel is that everything about Jesus’ life and ministry was clearly in the hands of God. Anyone who hears the good news of His ministry, death, and resurrection should consider this.
We find God unveiling His plan to save sinners throughout the Bible. And it becomes increasingly evident that His chosen Savior would not go unnoticed. What God has done and is doing to bring fallen human beings into His kingdom is a miraculous work that only our sovereign Creator can orchestrate. This is especially evident when we consider the outcome of Christ’s life.
The very first sermon preached by the apostle Peter — the first sermon of the New Testament church — focused on the fact that God was supernaturally and providentially involved in all that pertained to Christ. He emphasizes the resurrection and ascension of God’s Son as he calls us to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (2:25-39).
But first, in Acts 2:22-24, the apostle calls the nation of Israel to hear the Gospel and know that Jesus was verified in His ministry by God, delivered up to die by God, and raised from the dead by God. In other words, the call to hear the Gospel is a call to trust the sovereign God.
Hear These Words
Jesus Was Verified (v. 22)
Peter’s sermon was on the Day of Pentecost, which began the Feast of Weeks (Ex. 34:22-23) or Harvest. That means it was 50 days after the Passover when Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed on the cross. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, and they began to speak in languages unknown to them but understood by the various and respective ethnic groups gathered in Jerusalem for the feast (2:1-12).
The heavenly enabling was the first of the full harvest of spiritual fruit the Holy Spirit produces in the believer (Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 1:11-14) — the evidence of eternal life. Likewise, those who believed the message Peter preached that day were the first of many from all nations who would enter God’s kingdom by believing the Gospel of Christ. These things fulfilled the symbolism of the offering of first-fruits made during the feast (Lev. 23:20).
With all the Old Testament types and symbols on the mind of those attending the feast, the apostle used the occasion to present the Person and work of Christ as their absolute fulfillment. He reminded them in 2:14-21 of the prophecy of Joel regarding the kingdom of God’s Christ. And he explained the events of Pentecost as a foretaste of what would happen when Christ appeared in all His glory. Now he proclaims “Jesus of Nazareth” as the Christ who had already come as the sacrifice for sin to provide eternal life for those who trust in Him (v. 21).
The nation of Israel and its leaders had rejected their Savior and King altogether (Jn. 1:11). Despite the fact that Jesus was “attested by God…by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did through Him,” they deemed Him to be nothing more than a mere man. But all the obviously supernatural works done by Jesus were clearly done in the power of the Holy Spirit (healing, raising the dead, casting out demons, exercising authority over nature, etc.). God verified His Son as THE Man (cf. Jn. 19:5; 1 Tim. 2:5) chosen to fulfill the promise of a Savior to redeem a remnant of humanity for His kingdom.
Peter reminds them that these things were done “in your midst, as you yourselves know.” There was no escaping the clear validation of Jesus as the Christ and His message as heavenly. But now He was dead — crucified and put to shame. Yes, God had irrefutably identified Him, but why did He permit Him to die and in such a horrific way?
Jesus Was Delivered (v. 23)
Peter explains that God not only enabled and verified Jesus’ ministry, but He providentially arranged His very necessary death. Jesus, “being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God,” was handed over to those who hated Him so that He might die at precisely the time and place of God’s choosing and in the way He chose.
There was nothing about Jesus circumstances that were a surprise to God, and the Son had submitted Himself to the Father’s will (Jn. 4:34; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Pet. 2:23). So, when the Jews had “taken [Christ] by lawless hands…crucified, and put [Him] to death,” it was for no other reason than it had been God’s plan all along.
The Jewish rejection of Jesus and their treatment of Him was truly their own — rebellious and wicked. Likewise, our Lord’s brutal execution at the hands of the Romans was ultimately innocent blood on the hands of the Jews who rejected Him (Jn. 19:11). However, God permitted it all and used it to accomplish His purpose. To the smallest detail, Christ’s death fulfilled everything the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had determined in eternity past (cf. Acts 4:27-28; 13:27-29).
Peter wanted everyone to know that Jesus was the Lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). And His death was for everyone whom God had chosen for salvation from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). All these events were predetermined with a predetermined result. As Hebrews 4:3 tells us, “the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” 2 Timothy 1:9 says that God has, “…saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ before time began.”
Jesus’ death had to happen in order to fulfill God’s redemptive plan. Although the world perceives His suffering and death as only martyrdom or a sign of weakness and defeat, the reality is that it was the sacrifice for sin required by God. Unless Jesus died as God had foreordained, there would be no salvation for anyone. There would be no hope of heaven whatsoever without His crucifixion at the hands of lawless sinners. Salvation is a sovereign work of God.
So our Lord, in His sinless humanity, accomplished in His death exactly what God intended. He completed the work of redemption by atoning for the sins of His people (Jn. 19:30). The sinless Man became sin for the sinner that they may be become the saints of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
And we can know for certain that His death satisfied God’s anger toward our sins and brings forgiveness and reconciliation because God raised Him from the dead.
Jesus Was Raised (v. 24)
God verified Christ as His Son by His miraculous ministry, and He delivered Him over to death to accomplish redemption. But death could not keep Jesus Christ in the grave. If He were merely a man, then we would expect nothing more from Him in this world after He died. Even if He were a righteous man who went to heaven, death would have destroyed His body. Yet that is not what happened to Jesus.
It is Jesus of Nazareth “whom God raised up” never to die again. God “loosed the pains of death” for His Son. In other words, He abolished or destroyed the birth pains. In what way? The birth pains of death is sin (James 1:14-15), but Jesus Himself lived a sinless life. Therefore, God’s law could not condemn Him personally to death.
However, Jesus tasted death for all the saints (Heb. 2:9) in that He experienced God’s eternal wrath toward sinners on the cross (Matt. 27:46). His physical death was a part of that. But our Lord’s body did not see corruption as the quote from the psalmist says later in verse 27. Jesus was God the Son incarnate, and He was perfectly righteous in His humanity. Although He experienced death as our substitute, sin never had power over Him and neither did any aspect of death (Jn. 10:17-18). If it has no power over Him, then it has no power over believers (Romans 6:5-11; Heb. 2:14-15)!
Jesus’ body remained in the grave only for the time allotted by God to fulfill His purpose (Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19), but His righteous spirit was in heaven during that time (Lk. 23:43; 46). Then, “because it was not possible that he should be held by [death],” God’s Son rose bodily from the grave in resurrection glory. He was seen by the apostles and hundreds of disciples over the course of forty days before He ascended to heaven (1 Cor. 15:3-8). His resurrection validated His righteous life and the sacrifice of His life as acceptable to God.
So God verified His Son’s ministry and message with miracles. He also delivered His Son over to death to accomplish redemption for believers as determined in eternity past. And He raised His Son from the dead to prove that the sacrifice of His sinless life on the cross was accepted, forgiveness provided, and eternal life secured.
These are logical reasons to believe that Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Savior God has given us. Have you heard these words of the Gospel? Have you trusted only in the crucified and resurrected Christ for your salvation and eternal life?
Just before His death, Jesus said to His disciples, “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also” (Jn. 14:19).
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