- Psalm 16
- Acts 2:22-41
Brother and Sister in the Lord,
There were numerous occasions as a child when we were caught out being mischievous and dangerously disobedient. In some cases Dad would not even listen to what we called “reason”. The more you tried to defend yourself, the more it added to “back-chat”, in itself very dangerous. Other times Dad would invite us to defend ourselves. Without fail it didn’t help and with helpless pity you had to admit: you were on the wrong side. The big question was: what now?
This makes me think of the Israelites who were listening to the sermon of the apostle Peter that morning. On the day of Pentecost he, addressed the Israelites saying:
Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. This Man was handed over to you by God‘s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
Israel was God’s chosen people, privileged in any way. The apostle Paul writes about this in Romans 9:4-5:
Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (Romans 9:4-5)
They murdered the prophets, and eventually killed the Son of God.
Jesus, the carpenter’s son of Nazareth
You, he said, nailed Jesus to the cross. Who was this Jesus? Peter begins his sermon with the title Jesus of Nazareth. He grew up in Nazareth as the son of Mary and Joseph. He started his ministry in Galilee, were He did many miracles. He also visited Jerusalem for the major festivals, but most of his teaching ministry happened in Galilee, not for from Nazareth. The apostle reminded the people about this Jesus. He was accredited by God to them by miracles, wonders and signs, “which God did among them through Him, as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22). Everyone knew about it; even the Pharisees had delegations visit Galilee to hear Him teach and see the miracles He performed. What He did was no secret to anyone.
Jesus, the King of whom David prophesied.
Peter’s sermon filled them in on who Christ was and who He all along claimed to be. He quotes the words of David, the greatest of all kings in the history of Israel.
But however remarkable David was, he died and was buried. His body saw decay and the only thing remaining about him is the memories and his grave. When David was seventy years of age he died. The Bible records:
So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years. (1 Kings 2:10–11, NKJV)
But there was something about the house of David which was special. The Lord gave David this promise:
The Lord declares to you that the Lord Himself will establish a house for you… Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ ” (2 Samuel 7:11,16, NIV)
So, when David wrote Psalm 16 he understood that God meant more than just a continuation of the throne in Jerusalem.
I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. (Psalm 16:8-10)
David was counted with those who lived by faith, those who the writer of Hebrews referred to.
They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:28-40, NIV)
David prophesied about someone who would be more than him. Someone whose body would see no decay and who would be king forever and over all dominions and kingdoms of the world.
Peter on Pentecost Day turned to Psalm 16 and showed how David realised that he could not be that king. It pointed forward to the everlasting King of all kings. The Psalm of the morning reads in verses 8-10:
Boldly and with confidence the apostle Peter, now after being equipped with understanding and knowledge which He received from Christ Himself (between His resurrection and ascension, as we read in Luke 24, for forty days Christ explained to the disciples the Old Testament from Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms the things concerning Him); and now, empowered by the Holy Spirit Peter declared that Jesus was the fulfilment of those prophecies. David died, he said, and they don’t have him body anymore. If David was so sure that he would not be abandoned in the grave, and he is still dead, well, then he must have spoken about someone else. Now Peter proclaim to them that this Person David prophesied about was Jesus of Nazareth.
But he (David) was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.
With this statement Peter moved on to an extremely important point. He pointed out that this Jesus of Nazareth is far more than only the son of the carpenter of Nazareth:
Jesus, the Christ (Messiah)
He was the Christ. He was the Messiah.
In one of the most striking Messianic passages of the Bible, Isaiah 11, we hear the sound of joy about the coming Messiah:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and He will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what He hears with his ears; but with righteousness He will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
This is, Peter said, is what you are experiencing. God has sent his Spirit. The prophecies are being fulfilled before your very eyes. Yet, you are spiritually blind and cannot see the wonders of God and see the power and majesty of his Son!
Jesus, the everlasting and eternal King
The apostle went further to explain to them who this Jesus the crucified was. Quoting from Psalm 110:
The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”
The Lord, God, said to My Lord (not David, but the Lord Jesus who would be born in the fullness of time) sit at my right hand until I make your enemies the footstool for your feet. We hear the same language from the apostle John in Revelation 19:13-16:
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron sceptre.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
This is the climax of the sermon that day. Peter proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ, the carpenter’s son of Nazareth, who is more and greater than David, the Christ, and the eternal King. Peter summed it all up in the words:
Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Now we are back in the bathroom with the strap. We try to argue ourselves out, but nothing helps. We lost the argument. And with fear and tremble we plead: What must I do?
To hear that you were co-responsible for the death of the King of the World, the Messiah so long expected, is to say: we blew it. There is no hope left for us. We almost had it, but by ignorance and hardness of heart we missed the only opportunity to be saved: we crucified the King.
But that’s not the only truth of the sermon of Peter that day: He proclaimed the risen Christ.
God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.
Jesus, the Christ and King, is alive!
God exalted Him to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear (Acts 2:33).
If Christ is alive, and because we were responsible for his death and the punishment of the cross, we may be in deep trouble. This risen King of all kings may come to punish us for our unbelief and disobedience. “What, Peter, what shall we do?”
The Gospel, now that we still experience the grace of God, is a gospel of hope. Everything that had happened to Christ, was by the foreknowledge of God. It was God’s plan of redemption. It was to make us free from the judgment of God because of our sins.
How does that happen? Now that you understand the message of hope, now that you have heard that God’s love in his Son is there to save you from judgment and the power of sin, “Repent!” Peter said: “Repent and be baptised, every on’ of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of you sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
So what is repentance?
- First, I need to know that Christ lived as a human being on earth to be like us, yet without sin. Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him. (Acts 2:22, NIV)
- Second, I need to acknowledge that Christ is the fulfilment of the promises of God the Father, who gave his Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life. Listen to the text: This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23, NIV).
- Third, I need to acknowledge that no salvation is possible outside of Christ, because no other so-called Saviour. Listen to the text: He is exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:32).
- Fourth, I need to acknowledge Him as my King: The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand (Acts 2:34, NIV).
- Fifth, I need to acknowledge Him as the Anointed One, God has made this Jesus the Messiah. (Acts 2:36, NIV) The Jews are still waiting for the Messiah, but who wants to know forgiveness of sins, must acknowledge Christ as the One who has come.
- Sixth, I need to worship Him as God: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified Lord. (Acts 2:36, NIV)
- Then, I need to ask forgiveness of my sins, turn from it and follow Christ.
- In the last place, by faith I need to take up the new life in Him: “God rose this Jesus to life.” Whoever has the Son, has life.”
Christ is risen. This is the focus of our preaching. God made Him Lord and Christ. Lord: to him belong all dominion and power Christ: He saves by the redemption in his own blood. He has risen so we may live. Now, turn away from sin. Turn toward Jesus Christ. Take up the new life in Him. AMEN.
Sermon preached by Rev D. Rudi Schwartz on Sunday 16 April 2017 (Resurrection)