"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.Acts 2:24(NASB)
What a thrilling message Peter had for the men of Israel on that wonderful Day of Pentecost when the Church was born, and all those present were baptised into the Body of Christ - filled with the Spirit, Who took up permanent residence in their bodies and received the gift of languages. As Jews and Jewish proselytes from around the world witnessed the amazing happenings, Peter stood up and delivered a sermon to which thousands responded on that day... and millions, down through the ages, have read and believed with rapt enthusiasm and grateful thanks.
The city had been buzzing with the news that the One Who claimed to be the Messiah had been crucified. The incident had not been hidden from view, as the Scribes and Pharisees had plotted. There were whispers that women had seen Him alive. Also, the testimony of Romans soldiers who declared Him to be the Son of God, were no doubt being spread abroad. Hearts were filled with unanswered questions on that day, UNTIL... Peter stood up with the Eleven. He raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, "Men of Judah and all you residents of Jerusalem, let me explain this to you - and pay attention!"
He reminded them that Jesus of Nazareth, Whom many had seen and heard preaching, was a man approved of God. For over three years, they had witnessed the many mighty miracles, wonders, and signs, that God performed through Him. And when Peter began to speak, he certainly got their attention and piqued their interest. Although fully God, Peter emphasised Christ's humanity in his sermon, because he proceeded to talk of His sacrificial death on the Cross.
He told them that through the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, they had taken the Lord Jesus and had Him crucified, by the hands of wicked men. Peter wanted the men of Israel to understand that Jesus was the Messiah, Who came into the world to die as the sacrifice for man's sin. Peter wanted these folk to know that this happened, to carry out God’s pre-ordained plan of salvation for His fallen creation - and the redemption of humanity.
Peter did not minimise the depravity of man and our guilt before God. He did not play down the severity of what had taken place and the need to repent of sin. He did not exonerate man's sinfulness or diminish the need for salvation. Peter did not preach a socially accepted gospel that tickled their ears - he spoke the truth.
Peter explained that God permitted this to take place in His perfect plan of salvation, so that the only perfect Man - God's beloved Son, Who is also God the Son, could become man's Kinsman-Redeemer. Peter taught that only a perfect member of the human race, Who lived a sinless life, could qualify to shed His human blood as the acceptable purchase price for humanity's sin.
The wages of sin is death. The consequence of sin is death, and death is eternal separation from God. All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory and no-one is good enough to pay the price of sin. Those men of Israel, on that day of Pentecost, as well as every person conceived through a man and born of a woman, is guilty before God. Everyone deserves death and all are eternally condemned.
It was necessary for Peter to tell the people that the omniscient God KNEW man would sin. And in His mercy and grace, He purposed before the world began, to redeem mankind through the sacrificial offering of His own beloved Son. The burnt offerings, daily sacrifices, and annual Jewish feast-days, all pointed to this pivotal point in history. All Scripture directs our attention to the unique Man Who would come to offer His life as the ransom price for mankind's sin.
"But God raised Him up again," Peter continued. "God raised Him from the dead, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." Jesus was sinless and death is the consequence of sin... not sinlessness. Jesus did not deserve death. But He died for US. He died OUR death on that Cross.
What a staggering truth fell on the ears of those who were listening. They had waited for centuries for their Kinsman-Redeemer, but crucified Him when He came! BUT GOD RAISED HIM UP AGAIN. God raised Him from the dead and His resurrection put an end to the agony of death.
Jesus became the Firstfruit from the dead. - the first MAN to rise to life-immortal. And because His death has paid the price for man's sin - ALL who believe on His name for the forgiveness of sin, will also be raised from the dead. HALLELUJAH! "God raised Him from the dead... putting an end to the agony of death."
There was another important issue that these men of Israel needed to know, "God resurrected Him and put an end to the agony of death... since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." Death had no power over Jesus. He was a sinless Man Who did not deserve death, yet he willingly died in our place, so that we might live. Not only was Jesus a perfect Man, over Whom death had no claim, He is also the eternal Son, in Whom is life eternal.
Faith in His sacrificial death pays the price for our sin... but if Christ did not physically rise from the dead, we would be forgiven of our sin, but we could not rise physically, from the grave. JESUS was the eternal, indestructible, immortal, immutable, deathless God, as well as the sinless Man.
As the sinless Man, He gave His life for us. He willingly died for our sin. But as the eternal God, Who cannot die, He rose from the dead, breaking the power of sin and Satan, death and hell. His work on the Cross means that ALL who believe that Christ died for their sin, was buried, and rose again according to the Scripture, will not perish but have everlasting life. This is a truth that rejoiced the heart of many who heard Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost, and it has rejoiced the heart of millions more, who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and been saved by grace through faith in Him.
Only one member of the Trinity died on the Cross that day, and only one Person of the Godhead rose from the dead. BUT every member of the Trinity was involved in Christ's glorious resurrection - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, were jointly responsible for this wonderful miracle.
This miracle of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, is freely available to ALL, just as it was when Peter stood up on that first day of Pentecost and taught this life-changing truth. The miracle of salvation is a free gift to ALL who believe. Salvation costs us nothing. But NEVER forget what it cost God to give His dearly beloved Son, to hang on the Cross as the sacrifice for sin, and NEVER forget what it cost the Lord Jesus to go to the Cross on behalf of you and me.
Heavenly Father, how I praise and bless Your holy name that the truth of Peter's first sermon is as relevant today, as it was when he spoke to the men of Israel, and declared that God raised Jesus from the dead, putting an end to the agony of sin for all who believe on His name. Thank You that the eternal, indestructible, immortal, immutable, deathless Son of God, became a perfect, innocent, sinless, member of the human race, so that He could willingly give His precious life as the ransom price for my sin and break the agony of death, and permanence of the grave for ALL who believe on Him. Praise His holy name, AMEN.