As we come to this part of Paul’s sermon, we need to remember that Jesus Christ was no ordinary man! In fact, He was not merely man! He was Godman! He was Emmanuel, God with us and called Jesus because He would save His people from their sin. It is not feasible that God come and save His people from their sin and lose His life, for then He is neither God nor Savior because He would cease to exist! God who is eternal, from eternity past to eternity future, cannot cease to exist! Please read:
Ac 13:32 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: “‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ 34 The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ 35 So it is stated elsewhere:
“‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’
36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.
38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
41 “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’’”
1) God’s promise. Although we have covered this before, we need to remember that what God promises He does. Even just a casual reading of the Old Testament into the New Testament shows us that God comes good on all His promises. For us today, the Gospel contains two vital promises. The first one is that through faith and repentance our sins shall be forgiven and we shall enjoy eternity with the eternal God. The second one warns that all who do not exercise faith in the Lord Jesus and do not repent of their wicked ways shall be lost to eternal punishment. In saying this, the promise to God’s people includes Jesus’ Second Coming. What a glorious comfort to the saints. Heaven is not just a promise. We are told we shall be collected and escorted into Glory.
2) Jesus rose. Notice how Paul shows his preaching skills by not just speaking of human witnesses:
Ac 13:30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
He brings in God as a witness! He does this in verse 32 to 37, using quotes from Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10. His hearers being Jewish and Jewish converts accepted the Old Testament as God’s Word, although they did not place the complete Old Testament into the same category as they did Moses writings (Genesis to Deuteronomy). What Paul did as guided by the Holy Spirit is glorious. We know that the resurrection is fundamental to the Gospel message! No resurrection, no Christianity because no resurrection means no assurance or proof of believers finding their way into God’s heaven. Apart from Jesus rising from the dead as our guarantee of life after death, why did Jesus rise from the dead? Because …
3) Jesus cannot remain dead. In Psalm 2 God tells us that Jesus is His Son and that He is Jesus’ Father. They are both part of the Triune God, who is one and God being eternal cannot die! You see, if God the Son (Jesus) died and stayed dead, there would be no God! Yet Jesus as man died. He died in the flesh but remained alive as God. As man He paid the sin price through His death, shedding His blood substitutionary for our pardon. But being God, He could take back the human life He died … and He did because He is God the Son … with God the Father as His Father. Paul also uses the concept of “decay” saying Jesus’ body could not see decay. The great king David all Israel looked up to and longingly looked for the one promised from His bloodline who would sit on his throne eternally, died and his body decayed in the grave … but Messiah, God the Son’s human body would not decay! It is staggering when we think of Mary and the disciples as they encountered Jesus on the third day after his execution. Even with his lacerated, blood soaked, sun baked body, taken off the Cross and buried in a tomb on the Friday … there was no decaying … not because of the spices Joseph of Arimathea bound onto it … but because the Father said it would not decay! Remember, Jesus is God the Son! By now Paul has presented the Gospel message to these people. They would have understood the Gospel because Paul used the Old Testament promise to expound the Gospel. Right here is a lesson to all preachers … because the New Covenant (Christianity) is founded in the Old Covenant (Judaism), it is important that we see the Gospel’s root in the Old. Failure here would mean the Old Testament to be irrelevant to Christianity.
4) Paul’s Gospel offer. He starts off by calling his hearers “brothers”. They were! The relationship is in the belief that Abraham is the father of the Jewish nation … yet it digs even deeper. All human beings come from Adam through Noah and his sons. In other words, all ethnicities, nations, languages and tribes are related. We come from the same human bloodline. No wonder God’s Gospel is for the whole human race! He then deals with the scope and reach of the Gospel.
(1) Forgiveness. Apart from Jesus there is no forgiveness of sin. Man’s desperate plight is that he is a sinner and as a sinner he is an enemy of the Holy God. There is war … for man’s union is with God’s arch enemy the devil. The future without pardon for sin has horrendous consequences for man … and it is only through Jesus that man might be forgiven. There is no other way! He is Messiah. He is Messiah promised and Messiah come.
(2) Justification. Through the Law of Moses which the Jews held onto as their true Scriptures for justification with God, Paul says justification is found in Jesus alone. Only through faith in the Gospel will any person be made right with God. So here is the glorious truth of the Gospel … only in Jesus Christ is the forgiveness and justification. The Law could do neither because God did not design the Law for that purpose. The Law’s purpose shows us we are sinners. Once we grasp this we shall flee to Jesus to be covered in His blood for the forgiveness of our sins … and when we do … we are made right with God. We are justified … pronounced guiltless and seen as guiltless because the Father sees us as He sees His Beloved Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. In Jesus the Father acquits us of all our sin. He wipes the charge sheet clean.
6) The Gospel’s warning. In verses 40 and 41 Paul issues a challenge to his hearers. He does not force them. He once again uses the Scriptures calling people to be saved. The harsh reality of not turning to Jesus and His salvation is doom! As Matthew Henry says “Those who will not wonder and be saved, shall wonder and perish.”
Our Father, as we thank You for the Lord Jesus and the salvation He has provided for us, we pray that you bring multitudes under conviction of sin leading them into Your Kingdom through Jesus’ shed blood. Amen.