Put to Death Yet Raised Up
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know--Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it" (Acts 2:22-24).

After explaining to the crowd that the miraculous activity of that day was predicted by Joel, Peter then preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the power and wisdom of God (cf. I Cor. 1:18-2:2). The visible and audible phenomena of that day were to further authenticate the mission of Jesus Christ, which Peter will explain. He makes six significant points about the Lord in one powerful sentence, which serve as a wonderful summary of the accounts of the gospel:

1. Jesus was approved by God the Father as demonstrated by the mighty miracles Jesus was able to perform.
Jesus' miracles were genuine (approximately 40 of which we have recorded in the accounts of the gospel). They amazed the people and impacted them for good in numerous ways. His miracles were not done secretly but in the midst of the Israelites. They were well acquainted, by observation, with His mighty works which showed His power and divine nature. Even His enemies did not deny the reality of His miracles (cf. John 11:47), though they did try to ascribe His power source to the devil (e.g., Matt. 12:24ff).

2. It was God's will that Jesus would be delivered to die.
Such had been predetermined by God before time began. Jesus, as the Lamb of God, had been "slain from the foundation of the world" in the mind of deity (Rev. 13:8; cf. I Pet. 1:20). When the time was right historically and the circumstances were ideal to accomplish His will, "God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law" (Gal. 4:4). Jesus specifically was born in order to die to redeem mankind. Our Lord "was delivered up because of our offenses" (Rom. 4:28). He was not overpowered but laid down His life willingly that God's plan of redemption could come to fruition (cf. John 10:15-18; Gal. 2:20). The death of Christ was not something unseen by God; it was not an afterthought to the redemptive plan.

3. The Jews behaved unlawfully toward Jesus.
Although it was ultimately God's purpose for Jesus to die, this does not negate the wicked behavior of the Jews. They chose to take Him by "lawless hands" (Acts 2:23) because of envy (cf. Matt. 27:18). They were responsible for their illicit behavior. Jesus had done nothing wrong; He had committed no sin (cf. Heb. 4:15). Although the religious leaders instigated this travesty of injustice against the innocent Christ, the multitudes approved with their shouts of "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" (Luke 23:21). Peter lays the guilt of it all at their feet - "You have taken [Him] by lawless hands." Peter made no distinction between what a man does himself and what he does by another.

4. They crucified Jesus.
The mob clamored for it, and Pilate ultimately caved to their demands--after having Jesus scourged first (cf. Matt. 27:26). Peter is appealing to their consciences. They crucified the One who had been attested to them by God via many miracles, wonders, and signs! As the narrative will soon show, many of those listening would have rightly felt strong feelings of guilt due to their sinful behavior.

5. They put Him to death.
They tortured Him on the cross and He died an exceedingly painful death. Peter did not need to spend time developing the points regarding Jesus' crucifixion and death. These were well-known facts and still very fresh in the public consciousness since they had occurred less than two months prior to Pentecost.

6. God raised up Jesus from the dead.
Although there had certainly been rumors circulating, here is the first announcement to the world of a risen Redeemer! Peter would spend much time developing this point in greater detail as his sermon progressed. Such was necessary so that those with good and honest hearts would believe it as a fact. The Jews had unlawfully pronounced a death sentence on a just Man who had been attested by God via miraculous power, but God had reversed the unjustified sentence by loosing the grip that death had on Jesus, thus raising Him from the dead. This demonstrated His continued divine approval of Christ. In fact, it was not possible for Jesus to remain dead for long (cf. Luke 24:46). Death could not overpower Jesus! The importance of Jesus' resurrection is stressed in the New Testament. It is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity (cf. I Cor. 15:1ff).

Never before have mortal lips, in one sentence, uttered so many truths of such tremendous seriousness to the hearers.