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.