Messiah or Mere Man?
Lord of lords, by Your mighty power, Jesus was exalted into heaven. I thank You that he has prepared a place for me.
Read Acts 2:22–28
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We must faithfully preach the apostolic gospel as outlined here, but we must present it in ways that resonates with modern men and women.
As with all the preaching in Acts, Peter used the present situation to focus on Jesus. He emphasized three central factors of his life. First, he highlighted Jesus’ mighty acts in his public ministry. Peter’s audience, “you, yourselves” (22), were in no doubt about his remarkable works, which many had witnessed for themselves. He stressed that these were signs from God, confirming his divine power in and through Jesus’ life and actions. Second, Peter confronted his listeners, “you,” with the painful truth that they had participated in the death of Jesus, with “the help of wicked men” (23). He also recognized, however, that this was part of God’s predetermined plan that Jesus should suffer and die (23). Third, Peter showed that Jesus’ resurrection proved that death had no hold on him. God raised him, not in the way Pharisees believed the dead would rise before the final judgment but in a one-off, earth-shattering event. Thus he fulfilled David’s words (Psa. 16:8–11) that God would not abandon his holy one in death, nor let him see decay. With these three convincing arguments, Peter sought to persuade his audience that Jesus was God’s Messiah.
Any presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ must encompass these three elements. It is not sufficient to present his suffering and death without the convincing authentication of his divinity by his mighty works or God’s validation of his Son by the resurrection. Proclamation that neglects any one of these three presents an inadequate picture of God’s revelation of himself in the man Christ Jesus, our salvation achieved through his death on the cross and his risen conquering power over sin and death. Western thinking prefers to express truth about God in statements of belief, much like Paul’s teaching in the epistles, but the gospel records of Jesus’ life and words contain many deep theological treasures within the stories themselves.
Emmanuel. King of kings. Bright Morning Star. What significance do these (or other) names for Jesus hold for you?
Jesus, forgive me for reading the gospels as if they were stories and failing to explore the rich spiritual truths in Your words and actions.