Wednesday, 12 January 2022
“let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. Acts 4:10
Peter’s response to the council that has been assembled concerning the healing of the beggar has already begun. He continues his opening words to them now by naming the Source of the healing miracle that took place, saying, “let it be known to you all.”
Commentators give various ideas on Peter’s words, noting the boldness of what he says. Although this is true, it fails to acknowledge Jesus’ words from the gospels –
“You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Matthew 10:18-20
Peter was given this promise and he knew that what he was saying was being directed by the Lord. As such, the credit for the boldness may only go to him indirectly. Ultimately his conduct is because of the Lord’s promise and because of the Lord’s hand upon him. As such, he could boldly proclaim the words to this notable gathering of Israel’s highest officials.
But Peter’s words extend beyond them. This is because they stand as the representatives of the nation. What they determined would decide the direction and the fate of the nation. Because of this, Peter continues with, “and to all the people of Israel.”
Whether the records of such meetings were available to the public or not, the intent of the words is that the proclamation stands, and that it will be one that affects everyone who belongs to the nation. It is as if Peter is calling out a judicial decree. As Jesus promised that it would be “the Spirit of your Father” who is speaking, it is – in fact – just this. The Lord God of Israel was conveying through His chosen apostle the words for Israel to hear and understand His intent.
With that in mind, Peter now directly refers to the Source of the healing, saying, “that by the name of Jesus Christ.”
Rather than “by the name,” the Greek more appropriately reads, en tō onnomati, “in the name.” The proclamation was made by Peter, and it had its effect –
“Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’” Acts 3:6
The Name itself is where the healing was derived from because the name reflects the being. As Jesus Christ is the Lord, in Peter’s invoking the name, the healing was realized. But more, the title “Christ” is affixed to the name. As the word “Christ” is the Greek form of “Messiah,” Peter is saying, “in the name of Jesus the Messiah.”
What this demonstrates is that the office of Messiah is One that was completely misunderstood by the rulers of the people. This is clearly evident from what is happening. If Jesus is the Messiah, and if it was in His name that the man was healed (and determining the Source of the healing is the purpose of the gathering), then they have misunderstood everything about what was to be expected concerning the Messiah, even that He was “of Nazareth.”
They had already dismissed Jesus for exactly this reason –
“They answered and said to him, ‘Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.’” John 7:52
As Nazareth is in the area of the Galilee, they had misunderstood their own Scriptures which clearly identified that God’s light would shine forth from that area –
“Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:1, 2
What may have been veiled was at least understandable in the general sense of the words. Something magnificent would occur in this area, and it would shine a wondrous light upon the people. As Israel’s leaders, it is inexcusable that they would not know this. It was their job, above all else, to know what the Scriptures that established and guided them as a people proclaimed.
With this understood, the words of Peter continue, saying, “whom you crucified.” Peter has proclaimed that Jesus is the Messiah. As this is so, and as the Scriptures testified to His life and work, it is apparent that their misunderstanding of who the Messiah was to be went even further.
It is unthinkable that the Messiah could have been crucified without it being a part of God’s plan. But here was Peter, proclaiming an obviously miraculous healing in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, “whom you crucified.”
The first point of this is that the blame rests squarely on those seated before the apostles, and to whom the words are directed. The word “you” means the council and thus all of Israel, who was also addressed. The nation bears the guilt for the crucifixion of their Messiah.
However, the second point is that this means the act had to be a part of God’s plan. The words of the Spirit of the Father, through Peter, are manifestly pointing to the fact that they had completely misunderstood everything in Scripture about the coming Messiah. This is true whether they acknowledge it or not.
But the Scriptures clearly indicated that Christ would die for the people. Isaiah 52:13-53:12 indicates this. It is acceptable for them to have misunderstood this, but it is no longer acceptable that they should continue in their ignorance. They have the Scriptures, they have the healed man bearing witness to the power of God being displayed, and they now have an explanation of the Scriptures that resulted from the own actions. The facts and the evidence of the events are undeniable.
Now that this has been clearly and unambiguously presented to the council, Peter tells the leaders what at least some of them already knew, saying “whom God raised from the dead.”
A dead Messiah couldn’t do a thing to heal a man. And in Israel’s history, there had been plenty of “Messiahs” that had come and gone. However, the One now proclaimed by Peter is given full credit for having accomplished the miracle. As this is so, He cannot be dead. Peter’s words testify that He is not, and that it is God who raised Him. Thus, God’s approval must have been upon Him.
The amount of theology that is piling up in what is stated is literally incredible. It will continue to be explored for thousands of years. New insights into what occurred will arise and be contemplated based on what Peter is proclaiming to the council.
Each person there would be responsible for considering what they heard and applying their knowledge of Scripture to determine if what he was saying was in accord with it or not. From there, they would then be responsible for determining the meaning of it all. Or they could simply dismiss his words and ignore the truth of what was completely obvious that was being presented to them. And that truth is based on the very response to the question that they had asked. Their question was –
“By what power or by what name have you done this?” Acts 4:7
The summary of the response is, “by Him this man stands here before you whole.” Again, the word says, “in Him.” It is in Jesus Christ because it is in the name of Jesus Christ that the miraculous had been realized. The man who was obviously doomed to life as a cripple stood whole and restored, and with a new direction in both his physical and spiritual life, was healed in the name of Israel’s Messiah. The crucified One had prevailed over death and the power that was realized in His name is evidenced in that fact.
Life application: It was noted that Israel had the Scriptures that testify to the coming of the Messiah. They tell what He would do, where He would do those things, and the result of His work. These Scriptures testified against them –
“And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:37-40
“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:45-47
Those same Scriptures are still available to Israel today. In their continued rejection of Him, the same condemnation remains that came upon the people two thousand years ago. We must never make the mistake in assuming that because Israel is back in the land that they are right with God. They are not. The favor of the Lord that is promised to be upon the people and the land is future to us now.
We cannot pick and choose our allegiances. Rather, we must take God’s word as it is given to us. Until they, as a nation and under the approval of their leaders, call out to Jesus, they remain under the wrath of God. His reestablishing them, and the resulting catastrophes to come upon them are also detailed in the prophets.
Pray for Israel just as you would pray for any lost people. But thank God for His faithfulness to them, despite their continued rejection of Him. Great are His tender mercies to those He has covenanted with. If you are in Christ, this includes you. So thank God for His favor towards you.
Lord God Almighty, thank You for the hope we possess in Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank You for Your faithfulness to us, even when we stray. And Lord, we lift up Israel. Guide them to search out Your word and to find what they have missed for so long. Yes, Lord God, lead them to You through Your precious word. Amen.