“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. For David says of Him,
‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope; because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’
Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:24-32).
All of humanity, both Jew and Gentile, converged to assassinate the purest, holiest, most godly man who ever lived. Hate must destroy beauty and holiness. Humanity will not be satisfied until we sit among the ashes of our own ruination.
Then again, the execution of Jesus was according to “the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). What we meant for evil, God intended for good. Jesus tasted death in order to bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:9-10).
Jesus tasted death, but death didn’t devour Him. The sign of Jonah was a huge fish that swallowed the prophet, but couldn’t keep him down. Death gripped Jesus, but couldn’t hold onto Him. The Father had consigned Jesus to the grave until the third day when He raised Him again.
God had displayed Jesus publically as a propitiation for sins. The Father had presented the Son as the atoning sacrifice to appease His righteous wrath. God didn’t change His mind about sin. His wrath abated when His perfect justice was satisfied. No longer were the symbolic sacrifices of the temple necessary, as the true, once-for-all sacrifice was accomplished.
David, whom Peter quoted, clearly meant himself, when he said, “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay” (Ps. 16:10), as the rest of the psalm referred to David as well. Peter, however, rightly pointed out that David did die and stayed dead. Since the inspired Word of God cannot be wrong, there must be another answer. David prophetically saw that the Messiah would one day fulfill this promise, and Jesus did.
Peter said that God raised up Jesus (Acts 2:32), but Jesus had said that He would raise Himself up (Jn. 10:17-18). There’s no conflict, though. Since Jesus is God, both statements are true. Since God’s just requirement for sin was fulfilled, there was no need for Jesus to remain dead. Instead, to indicate that the work of redemption was done, God raised Jesus to life again. Jesus then presented Himself to His disciples to demonstrate the completion of His work. The Law was fulfilled in Christ. Grace had come to God’s people.
All of this is Good News indeed. Jesus humbled Himself by taking on human flesh, by living in perfection submission to God’s Law (which no one else could’ve done), dying in the place of an incalculable number of sinners, satisfying God’s perfect justice and appeasing His pure wrath for sins. Then, He rose from the dead, in every sense but one – He would never die again. He then ascended to the Father where He sits at the right hand of majesty on high, ruling and reigning over His creation until, in the fullness of time, He returns to claim His people for all eternity.
What a blessing to know such a Savior!