Tuesday, 17 January 2023
“but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Acts 13:37
While speaking in the synagogue, Paul just noted that by the will of God David served his own generation, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption. Therefore, his words concerning God’s Holy One not seeing corruption could not have been referring to him. They were, instead, a prophecy of the coming Messiah. Paul now proclaims that the prophesied Messiah has come, fulfilling David’s words. Paul’s words begin with, “but He.”
The Subject is Jesus, specifically noted in verse 13:23, and who has been the main Subject of Paul’s words since –
“From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus.”
It is this Jesus “whom God raised up.” In the Greek, three words translated as “raised up” are used. Each carries a specific meaning not fully perceived because of the translation. Notice the progression of his words –
*From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up [agó] for Israel a Savior—Jesus. Acts 13:23 (to bring forth). God brought forth a Savior for Israel according to the promise.
*But God raised [egeiró] Him from the dead. Acts 13:30 (To arouse or awaken). God aroused Jesus from the state of death despite being put to death.
*God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up [anistémi] Jesus. Acts 13:33 (To stand up or raise up). God raised up Jesus according to the promise both among Israel in His incarnation and which is then confirmed in raising Him out of the dead in the resurrection.
*And that He raised Him [anistémi] from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: Acts 13:34 (To stand up or raise up). God raised Jesus, standing Him up from His place and position of death.
*but He whom God raised up [egeiró] saw no corruption. Acts 13:37 (To arouse or awaken). Unlike David, God aroused Jesus without seeing corruption.
Under inspiration of the Spirit, Paul has carefully spoken his words to ensure that every point about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is fully understood. He doesn’t need to include the words “from the dead” in this verse because it is understood from the context of the previous verse. Jesus’ arousal is contrasted to David’s non-arousal. David remained in the grave and corrupted. On the other hand, Jesus “saw no corruption.”
The incorruptible nature of Jesus is what is highlighted by Paul now. The importance of this point will be made manifest in his next words to the people of the synagogue, and thus to all people because his words are now recorded in Scripture.
Life application: Word studies, such as the one above, will help alleviate misconceptions about what is being said. Three different words have been translated in the same manner by the NKJV. Although there is nothing wrong with this, without knowing what each Greek word is saying, a misunderstanding of the overall picture may arise in our minds.
Therefore, when time permits, it is always a fun and rewarding thing to do a careful word study of a passage. This is especially so if you are set to lead a class on a particular passage. The time you spend analyzing such things will be well worth the effort you put into it.
Glorious God, may we be willing to carefully handle Your word, ensuring that what we convey to others about it is correct and well thought out. Help us to not hurriedly come to conclusions that may not be grounded in reality. Rather, give us the desire to study this precious word thoroughly in order to explain it properly to others. Amen