Video of this message is available on YouTube: Peter Tells the Jews to Listen Up! – Acts 2:22-31
“Nazareth” (2:22) was a despised city (John 1:46), but Peter mentioned it anyway. Never be ashamed of the truth!
God approved the Lord by miracles (Acts 2:22), miracles that would tell the Jews that their God had come (Isa. 35:4-6). The Jews require a sign (I Cor. 1:22) and the Lord gave them plenty of signs that He was their God! But the Father did them (John 14:10,11) through Him. God was “with Him” (Acts 10:38) but that didn’t mean He wasn’t God (John 1:1).
How’d Peter know they knew about the Lord’s miracles (Acts 2:22)? They were from all over (Acts 2:5). But His fame got around (Mt. 4:24; 9:1,26,30,31; Mark 1:28; Lu. 4:37).
But the Jews killed Him (Act 2:23). God “delivered” Him to them by His “determinate” counsel, even though His “foreknowledge” told Him they’d kill Him. But that doesn’t mean God forced them to kill Him to provide the world a Savior, despite what He “determined” (cf. Lu. 22:21, 22). They should have sacrificed Him in faith, not executed Him in unbelief (Psalm 118:250-27 cf. Mark 11:9).
Peter says God the Father raised the Lord from the dead (Acts 2:24 cf. Acts 3:15,26; 10:40; 13:30,34; 17:31; Rom. 4:24; 6:4; I Cor. 6:14; Gal.1:1; Eph. 1:20; Col.2:12; I Thes. 1:10; Heb.13:20; I Pet. 1:21). But the Bible also says the Lord raised Himself up (John 10:17), and that the Spirit raised Him (Rom.8:11), showing the oneness of the Trinity.
It was “not possible” that death could hold the Lord (Acts 2:24) because “the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23) and He was no sinner. True, God put our sins on Him, but God was “satisfied” with His payment for our sins (Isa. 53:11). So death couldn’t hold Him—or us! But Peter didn’t know this, so he says death couldn’t hold Him “for” the Bible predicted that He’d rise from the dead (Acts 2:25-27), and all Bible prophecies must come true (cf. John 10:35; Acts 1:16).
Peter quotes a Messianic psalm of David (Ps. 16:8-11), a psalm that was true of both David and Christ. The faith of both was so strong, they saw the Father in the grave with the eyes of faith, and so couldn’t be moved (Acts 2:25). You’d think the Lord would be sad He was killed but He was “glad” (2:26) because His flesh rested in the “hope” of resurrection.
The “hell” they both went to (Acts 2:27) was the paradise side of hell (Luke 16:19-31 cf. 23:43). The Lord “finished” paying for our sins on the cross (John 19:30) and didn’t have to go to the torment side of hell to pay for our sins.
But if the Lord was “glad” (Acts 2:26) in paradise, why’d He want to be raised from the dead? It was because His flesh was still in the grave, where bodies see “corruption” (Acts 2:27). So God showed Him the way out of the grave by the path of life (2:28), a way that unsaved men in the grave can’t find (Pr. 2:2-19). His hope was to see God’s countenance (Acts 2:28), as was David’s (Ps. 17:15)—and ours too!
Peter probably knew that quoting Psalm 16 would remind his hearers of the similar-sounding Psalm 21:6-9, which predicted that after the Lord rose, He would avenge His enemies. Peter wanted them thinking about that when he later told them to “repent” (Acts 2:38).
Peter’s argument in Acts 2:29 is that David didn’t rise from the dead before he saw corruption, so either he was mistaken when he said he would or he was talking about someone else. Peter knew the Jews would never admit there was a mistake in their Bible, so they’d have to admit he was talking about someone else—someone Peter identified as Christ (v. 30,31).
David predicted Christ would rise from the dead, knowing God had promised him that one of his descendants would be Christ (Act 2:30 cf. II Sam. 7:12,13).So God had to raise Christ to fulfill His promise that He’d sit on Israel’s throne forever.
But Paul says God raised Him for our justification (Rom. 4:25). Peter and Paul didn’t preach the same thing! We must remember Christ according to Paul’s gospel (II Tim. 2:8), not Peter’s! Finally, Peter wasn’t trying to be unkind in charging Israel with Christ’s death, he was just trying to get them to mourn for Him (Zech. 12:10), as they someday will.