Acts 2:22-24

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.

Jesus of Nazareth (v.22) — His name when in His humbled state before He was exalted — used as a reproach by the Jews. Peter uses it here, perhaps, to contrast it with Christ’s exalted state.

approved (v.22) = showed forth, displayed publicly

among you (v.22) — Many in the crowd had been eye-witnesses of Jesus’ miracles. They knew, as Nicodemus did (John 3:2), that He came from God (John 5:36).

miracles (v.22) — manifestations of God’s power

wonders (v.22) — startling, wonder-producing — calling attention to their character

signs (v.22) — emphasis on the purpose — indicators of spiritual truth

as ye yourselves know (v.22) — They could no plead ignorance. They had no excuse.

Him (v.23) — added for emphasis — “This very one who manifested the power of God.”

delivered (v.23) — handed over. God was in control.

determinate counsel — marked-out determination, decreed will — planned before the world began (Revelation 13:8; 2 Timothy 1:9).

foreknowledge (v.23) — for God, all history is an eternal now.

wicked hands (v.23) — “lawless” — without the law — Gentile (Roman). But also with the sense of law-breakers, transgressors. The Jews and Gentiles crucified Christ.

crucified (v.23) — (here) with an idea of murder

Whom God hath raised up (v.24) — God’s actions are contrasted with mans’

loosed the pains of death (v.24) = birth pains — for Christ, death was the birth of resurrected life (Psalm 18:5).

not possible (v.24) — Jesus Christ was God, He had not sinned so death had no hold on Him and the work of redemption had to be completed (Romans 1:4; Romans 4:25; Hebrews 2:14-15).

How did Peter, in his Pentecostal address, deal with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ? Was that his gospel? Did he proclaim it as good news? Was it his purpose to offer salvation to his hearers through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ? No, nor did he in fact make such an offer.

On the contrary, his purpose was to convict his hearers of their guilt in the crucifixion of Christ and to warn them that the One whom they with wicked hands had crucified and slain, had risen from the dead and was alive again.

When those who were thus convicted asked what they should do, Peter did not tell them simply to believe that Christ had died for them, as we do today. His “great commission” had not contemplated such a message. What he did was to command them to repent and be baptized, every one, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, so that they might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-18).

We now know that the very death which Peter accused them of was the basis upon which God could offer them salvation at all, but Peter, at Pentecost, was not commissioned to preach “the gospel of the grace of God,” nor did he know that gospel (Acts 20:24; Ephesians 3:1-3). — Stam, pages 96-97.


In His perfect foreknowledge God had a two-fold purpose in this [delivering Christ to be crucified] — one related to prophecy and the other to the mystery; one with which Peter’s ministry was concerned and the other with which Paul’s was concerned. The one related to prophecy and Peter’s ministry is that with which we have here to do.

It was because God purposed, by Israel’s very crucifixion of her Messiah, some day to touch and break the heart of His chosen people, that He thus delivered Christ into their hands. Indeed, it is by recognizing and acknowledging her guilt in Christ’s death that Israel will some day be saved.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem …

And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends (Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:6). — Stam, pages 98-99.

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