Jesus in the First Christian Sermon

SynopsisJesus was a genuine human being who died a real death on the cross. God did not allow him to see bodily corruption by raising him from the dead and exalting Jesus to reign from His throne - Acts 2:14-36

The Day of Pentecost
The Apostle Peter preached the first Christian sermon on the day of Pentecost after God poured out His Spirit on the fledgling church at prayer in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14-36).
Approximately one hundred and twenty disciples were gathered for prayer when the Holy Spirit fell on them suddenly and with great fanfare.  The resulting commotion confused many in the city, including Jews visiting from other nations. Their consternation was intensified as “each one severally heard those who were speaking in his own language.” Some mocked saying, “They are drunk with wine!
In response, Peter stood up and called the crowd to heed his words.  He began with a citation of Joel 2:28-32, a prophecy of the “last days” when God would “pour out His Spirit on all flesh.”  According to Peter, that prophecy began to be fulfilled on that very day.
Peter then called the “men of Israel” to hear his words about “Jesus the Nazarene, a man pointed out of God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs.” He used the term anér or “male” rather than the more generic anthrōposAnér means “man” but also one who is male rather than female.
This “man” was “pointed out from God” by signs and wonders that God did among them.  The miracles performed confirmed that he was a man sent from God.  In this sermon, a distinction is maintained between God and the man, Jesus.  It was God who performed the miraculous deeds, not Jesus himself.  Whatever Christ’s divine nature or subsequent exalted status may be, that was not Peter’s point; God is the one who anointed the man Jesus for his ministry.
This same man was “marked out” by the “foreknowledge” of God. What happened to Jesus was in accord with God’s purpose.  “Foreknowledge” does not imply preexistence; rather, God saw ahead of time who and what this man would be; the things that occurred were according to a plan set in motion by God in the distant past. 
This same Jesus was “slain” on the cross and buried, yet his body did not see corruption because God raised him from the dead.  He “neither abandoned him to Hades nor allowed his flesh to see corruption.”  Instead, God raised him up.  As a genuine human being who had died, his body was subject to decay, but God prevented that by raising him from the dead.  The implication is clear:  if God had not raised Jesus his body would have decomposed.
This same Jesus was subsequently “exalted to the right hand of God” where, also, he received “the promise of the Holy Spirit” from the Father, the very Spirit poured out on the disciples in Jerusalem. The passive voice signifies that God raised Jesus; he did not exalt himself.

Peter concluded by calling on the house of Israel to know that the very same Jesus whom they crucified “God made both Lord and Christ.” “Made” (poieō) translates a common Greek verb for “make, do, perform, accomplish.”  God was the one who acted to make Jesus “Lord and Christ.” At a specific point in time, God exalted Jesus to rule at His side.
“Christ” or Christos is the Greek equivalent of the Jewish term messiah or “anointed one.”  Peter did not specify when or how this appointment took place, but the implication is that there was a time when Jesus was not “Lord” and “Christ.”  His position is not something that is his by nature; rather, God gave him this exalted position in consequence of his obedience unto death (Philippians 2:6-11).
The Christology of Peter is straightforward. Jesus was a genuine human being who died a very real death on the cross. Unlike other men, God did not allow Jesus to see bodily corruption though, if God had not intervened, he would most certainly have decomposed.  The Almighty raised Christ from the dead and exalted him to His right hand where he now rules until God will put all his foes under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  This was all done in accordance with God’s plan and foreknowledge.
Nowhere in his sermon does Peter suggest that Jesus is anything other than a genuine human being; there is no hint of his preexistence.  His unjust death is seen as a real death.  His Christology, no doubt, was underdeveloped at this point but this is what the Apostle presented in his sermon. Peter treats Jesus the Nazarene as a genuine human, though one in whom God worked miraculous deeds and exalted to become Lord over all things after He raised him from the dead.


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