Peter has begun to explain that the loud noise and foreign languages his audience has heard is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Joel foretold. Yet before he can pursue this idea, he must give some background about Jesus. “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know”(Acts 2:22). Jesus is known to this audience. Word of his great miracles has spread throughout the Jewish world so that even these visitors are familiar with him. These miracles are vital because they prove that God is with Jesus. He is “a man attested to you by God.”
Yet “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men”(Acts 2:23). Despite Jesus’ divine credentials, the people consented to his execution. The fact that the did this “by the hands of lawless men” does not exempt them from the guilt of their action. Yet all of this remains a part of God’s plan. “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it”(Acts 2:24). God has undone their sin, raising Jesus, yet this does not absolve them of guilt.
Peter paints the picture of God acting in Jesus—attesting him, working through him, planning for his coming, and then raising him up. Yet at every turn, God’s people stand in his way. They reject and question the miracles, ignore his work of compassion, ignore the prophecies he fulfills, and deny he is raised. It is a chilling reminder that we can become so certain that we are right—or so closed to God’s work—or so proud—that we cannot see that we have become God’s enemies.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Can certainty and humility coexist?
One Thing to Pray For: A heart open to God’s word and work
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