“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (verses 22-24)
The wind has blown. The Spirit has come. The presence of Jesus is made known among his eager followers.
In this swirl of Holy Spirit activity, Peter, himself freshly inspired and emboldened, preaches to the gathered thousands. No longer the quaking disciple who so easily denied his Master, in this moment he is empowered with divine courage, lifting his voice to address the crowds. He sets the context by quoting the prophet Joel’s centuries-old promise of a Spirit-anointing like that just experienced. He revels in the gift.
But he doesn’t linger there. Clearly following the direction of the Spirit himself, Peter goes on – eagerly, joy-filled, purposefully – to call every eye to focus on Jesus.
Eyes on Jesus. That’s the goal.
In these three short verses, Peter, before a rapt audience, draws attention to Jesus of Nazareth. Perhaps the assembled crowd, even its most hostile members, wouldn’t balk at such an earth-bound title. But immediately Peter draws Almighty God into the story, naming him four times over in quick succession, making it clear that the miracles and wonders which flowed from Jesus’ ministry were potent signs of God’s full endorsement – indeed, concrete evidence of the Lord’s direct involvement. Even Jesus’ arrest, far from being a sign of disapproval, was in fact part of God’s express purpose and plan.
And the resurrection is the Father’s explosive demonstration that death could not keep Jesus down.
Jesus is the one. All eyes on him. Such focus is the Father’s delight. Such attention is the Spirit’s committed purpose.
Paul, who at this juncture (perhaps unseen in the crowd) could not yet embrace Peter’s spotlighting of Jesus, years later would put it this way:
“He is the image of the invisible God … He is before all things, and in him all things hold together … so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him …” (Colossians 1:15-19)
The Father rejoices. The Spirit shines light. Jesus, the Son, is exalted. By him people find salvation. Praise his name.
Lord Jesus, this day I lift my sights to you afresh. I honour you, accredited by the Father, celebrated by the Spirit. Triune God, I rejoice in your work. Praise your name.
Reflect: Stop three times during this day, for 5 minutes apiece, to reflect on one part of Jesus’ story celebrated in these verses. First, reflect on his miraculous ministry. Second, reflect on his death. Third, reflect on his resurrection and ascension. Give thanks.
Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash