Acts 2:22-36 ( NLT)
“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. 24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. 25 King David said this about him: ‘I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. 26 No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. 27 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. 28 You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ 29 “Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. 30 But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. 31 David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave. 32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. 33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. 34 For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand 35 until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”’ 36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!””
Peter combines a clear affirmation of God’s sovereignty over world events and human responsibility for evil deeds. Although Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, showing that God had both foreknown and foreordained that Jesus would be crucified, that still did not absolve of responsibility those who contributed to his death, for Peter goes on to say, “you nailed him to a cross”, v23. Though one may not understand fully how God’s sovereign ordination of events can be compatible with human responsibility for evil, both are clearly affirmed here and in many other passages of Scripture (Acts 3:13–16; 3:17; 4:27; 4:28). “With the help of lawless Gentiles”, v23, Peter also places responsibility on the Gentile officials and soldiers who actually crucified Jesus.
Peter’s declaration articulates a major paradox of the Christian life: Jesus’ death occurred as a result of the plan and foreknowledge of God, but it was the free (and sinful) acts of human beings that executed that plan. The Bible often affirms the reality of both divine sovereignty and genuine human choice without explaining how the two can possibly work together without conflict (Acts 4:28; Gen 45:5).
V33, The interactive and differentiated relationship among the persons of the Trinity is clearly evident in this verse. Thus God the Father first gave the promise that the Holy Spirit would come in a greater, more powerful way to accomplish his work in people’s lives (as indicated in Peter’s quote from Joel 2 in Acts 2:17–19). Then, when Christ’s work on earth was accomplished, Christ was exalted to the second highest position of authority in the universe, namely, at the right hand of God, with ruling power delegated to him by God the Father. Then Christ received authority from the Father to send the Holy Spirit in this new fullness. Finally, on the day of Pentecost, Jesus himself poured out the Holy Spirit on the disciples in a new and more powerful way (Acts 1–11); the image of pouring suggests overflowing abundance and fullness.
V24, The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the fundamental event of Christianity and the basis of the gospel. Peter made several important statements about the resurrection in this verse. First, it was God who raised Jesus from the dead. This pictures the resurrection as God the Father’s vindication of God the Son. Second, Jesus was literally dead before the resurrection, not simply injured. Thus, His resurrection was no mere resuscitation. Notice also that Peter personifies death as an actual force that holds the deceased in its embrace. Third, death’s power was overcome by the resurrection, which means that believers should no longer fear it.
V36, Peter addressed his words specifically to Jews (the house of Israel) and affirmed that Jesus whom they crucified was both Lord and Messiah. By calling Jesus “Lord and Messiah,” Peter was staking the biggest possible claims. “Lord” is reserved in the Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint) for God (Yahweh). Thus Peter says Jesus is God. Peter further noted that Jesus was the Messiah (anointed one), Israel’s hope for salvation.
There are religions that teach Jesus is a prophet; a great man; a lower god but here in Acts it’s stated clearly that He is the Messiah and Lord – God in flesh. Consider how you can use this portion of scripture as you share the good news with your friends.