Act 2:22-24 “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: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
The power and authority with which Peter spoke is very evident here. It rings in our hearts today as we read and study God’s word. We, who are the elect of Almighty God, are called upon to hear these words. This is not just an auditory sensation.
As used here, the word translated as “hear” means to understand. We are not simply listening to sound waves. These words that Peter spoke should find a lodging place in our hearts and minds. They should mean something to us, and we should demonstrate that by the way we live.
We need to understand that Jesus was truly the Son of man, but He was a man in whom God demonstrated His approval. Using miracles and wonders and signs, God showed that this was truly His anointed vessel. Although they saw Jesus perform these miracles, Peter quickly points out that it was God who did these things through Jesus.
Peter may have been recalling the words that Jesus spoke when He declared “the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works (John 14:10).” We see the God the Father in everything that Jesus said and did while He walked on this earth. If we are “men of Israel” (called to walk in God’s kingdom), then we know that this is true. We are witnesses in our hearts to the truth of Jesus Christ.
The wicked hands of men laid hold on Jesus. The wicked hands of men crucified Him in a most horrible manner. However, it was the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God that delivered Jesus into those hands. Men could not take His life from Him unless He willingly laid it down.
How do we begin to fathom such love as this? God, with forethought and purpose, sent His only begotten Son in a body of flesh to suffer for our sins. Jesus declared that no man could take His life from Him. Then He said He would lay it down, and He would take it up again.
God delivered Him into the hands of men, and then God raised Him from the dead. God loosed (relieved) the pains (travail) of death. We hear the prophet Isaiah saying that He would see the outcome of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. We are justified because Jesus bore our iniquities (Isa 53:11).
It was not possible for death to hold Him. According to Strong’s, this word “not” is “the absolutely negative adverb.” The power of death could not keep Him because God loosed the pains of it. Jesus laid down His life, and on the third day He took it up again!
May God give us ears to hear and hearts to understand these words!