The Prince of Life
“While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, ‘Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Moses said, “The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.” And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’”
Christ alone was the aim of apostolic preaching. Whatever circumstances had prompted their preaching, He was the subject and object of it. Peter and John met a cripple, but they didn’t preach a series on healing the sick or caring for the unfortunate. By God’s grace, Peter healed the man by proclaiming Christ to him. A crowd gathered to see the miracle. So, Peter proclaimed Christ to them all.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve become distracted and thought it better to proclaim human needs, instead of Christ’s glory. Sin always leads us to make much of ourselves and less of Christ, but the truth is Jesus is still the Prince of life, the Author of salvation. He is the only One who can save us and, if we will be saved, it’ll be by His grace alone.
The great irony of the gospel is that God humbled Himself to become one of us. He took upon Himself every weight of His Law that was designed to show His glory and our failures. He fulfilled that Law perfectly. Then, He submitted Himself to His own righteous wrath and died on behalf of sinners. Thus, He is glorified in bringing many sons to glory.
Today, we hear that Jesus did His part; the rest is up to us, which is another subtle way of diminishing Christ and making much of ourselves. The truth is that none of us has ever chosen Christ on our own. We’re all dead in our sins. The dead don’t choose anything.
Peter said, “God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” Only when God turns us from our sins will we ever renounce our love for sins and desire Him above all else. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
Jesus Christ is the Prince, Captain, and Author of life because He is the Founder, Creator, and Giver of life. To Him belongs all glory.