News travels fast in the East; and probably most of the adults in Jerusalem, residents and visitors, knew about the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. They also had heard rumors of an “official announcement” that His followers had stolen the body of Jesus just to make people think that He had kept His word and been raised from the dead.
But Peter told them the truth: Jesus of Nazareth had indeed been raised from the dead, and the Resurrection proves that He is the Messiah! Peter gave them four proofs of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, and then he called on them to believe on Christ and be saved.
His First Proof Was The Person Of Jesus Christ
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man accredited and pointed out and attested to you by God with [the power to perform] miracles and wonders and signs which God worked through Him in your [very] midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, when handed over [to the Roman authorities] according to the predetermined decision and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross and put to death by the hands of lawless and godless men. But God raised Him up, releasing Him and bringing an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in death’s power.
Acts 2:22-24 (AMP)
Peter’s audience knew that Jesus was a real Person from the town of Nazareth and that He had performed many signs and miracles. It was clear that God’s hand was on Him. They had heard Him speak and had watched His life. They had even seen Him raise the dead, yet they could find no fault in Him—and these things were not “done in a corner”! (Acts 26:26)
It was incredible that such a Man should be defeated by death. From one point of view, the crucifixion of Jesus was a terrible crime (Acts 2:23), but from another point of view it was a wonderful victory (Acts 2:24).
Peter spoke forthrightly about the Resurrection. As Peter preached, the events of Christ’s death and resurrection were still hot news, less than two months old. Christ’s execution had been carried out in public before many witnesses. His empty tomb was available for inspection just a short distance away.
If Christ had not truly died, Peter’s message would have been laughed at or ignored. If Christ had not been resurrected, authorities could have produced his body and put an end to this new faith. But Peter and the apostles had witnessed the risen Christ. Changed men, they announced the news with great passion and conviction.
Our faith and our credibility also rest on the truth of the empty tomb.
For a number of important reasons. According to the apostle Paul (see 1 Cor 15), the resurrection of Christ means that he is the Son of God and that his word can be trusted. It means that his sacrifice for sin was acceptable to God, so we can be completely forgiven. It means that our Savior is alive and active, able to help us in times of need. It also means that one day we, too, will conquer death. The Christian faith rests on the basic fact of the empty tomb. Don’t neglect this essential part of the gospel when you share your faith with others.
Peter’s Second Proof Was The Prophecy Of David
For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord constantly before me; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken [from my state of security]. ‘Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue exulted exceedingly; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope [that is, will encamp in anticipation of the resurrection]; ‘For You will not forsake me and abandon my soul to Hades (the realm of the dead), nor let Your Holy One undergo decay [after death]. ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will fill me [infusing my soul] with joy with Your presence.’
“Brothers, I may confidently and freely say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, being a prophet and knowing fully that God had sworn to him with an oath that He would seat one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke [prophetically] of the resurrection of the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), that He was not abandoned [in death] to Hades (the realm of the dead), nor did His body undergo decay.
Acts 2:25-31 (AMP)
Peter quoted from Psalm 16:8-11 – a psalm written by David. He explained that David was not writing about himself because David dies and was buried (Acts 2:29). Instead, he was writing as a prophet (Acts 2:30) who spoke of the Messiah who would be resurrected. The emphasis here is that Jesus’ body was not left to rot in the grave but was, in fact, resurrected and glorified.
The Third Proof Was The Witness Of The Believers
Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this [blessing] which you both see and hear.
Acts 2:33 (AMP)
But were these people dependable witnesses?
Can we trust them?
We certainly can! Prior to Christ’s resurrection, the disciples did not even believe that He would be raised from the dead; and they themselves had to be convinced (Mark 16:9-14; Acts 1:3). They had nothing to gain by preaching a lie, because their message aroused official opposition and even led to the imprisonment and death of some of the believers. A few fanatics might be willing to believe and promote a lie for a time, but when thousands believe a message, and when that message is backed up by miracles, you cannot easily dismiss it. These witnesses were trustworthy.
Peter’s Fourth Proof Of The Resurrection Of Christ Was The Presence Of The Holy Spirit
Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this [blessing] which you both see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, yet he himself says,
‘The Lord [the Father] said to my Lord [the Son], “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’
Acts 2:33-35 (AMP)
Follow his logic. If the Holy Spirit is in the world, then God must have sent Him. Joel promised that one day the Spirit would come, and Jesus Himself had promised to send the gift of the Holy Spirit to His people (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; Acts 10:45; Galatians 3:14). But if Jesus is dead, He cannot send the Spirit; therefore, He must be alive. Furthermore, He could not send the Spirit unless He had returned to heaven to the Father (John 16:7); so, Jesus has ascended to heaven! To back up this statement, Peter quoted Psalm 110:1, a verse that certainly could not be applied to David (note Matt. 22:41-46).
Peter’s conclusion was both a declaration and an accusation: Jesus is your Messiah, but you crucified Him! (see Acts 2:23) Peter did not present the cross as the place where the Sinless Substitute died for the world, but where Israel killed her own Messiah! They committed the greatest crime in history!
Was there any hope?
Yes, for Peter gave a third explanation that was good news to their hearts.
Have you accepted Jesus of Nazareth into your heart?
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Dynamic
NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible