Happy New Year! I’m excited about 2017 because I know that God has good things planned for us. God has good things planned for your walk with Him. He has good things planned for your family. And He has good things planned for our church. When you’re walking with God there is nothing to fear about the New Year. The New Year is a time to be thankful and to rejoice in a great tomorrow. God wants to give each one of us a new start, a fresh start in this New Year 2017. Let’s grab hold of what He has for us.
Today, our message is entitled “Messiah’s Resurrection.” We’re going to see how David prophesied of a coming Messiah, who would die, but live again. As a prophet, David saw far into the distant future concerning the Messiah’s resurrection. Christmas is the biggest holiday in the world, celebrating the birth of Christ. Yet, the Bible celebrates, not the birth of Jesus so much, but His death and most importantly His resurrection. Why? Because the resurrection shows that the power of God is greater even then the power of death. If God could raise Jesus from the dead, then He can make the coming year a year of great hope for you. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is what our faith is all about.
1 Corinthians 15:14, 17 (NIV) And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. … And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
God’s Word makes it clear that if Jesus simply died on the cross and was not raised from the dead, Christianity has no meaning. If there was no resurrection, our faith has no point. If Jesus is still dead, then there is no forgiveness of sin and no eternal life with God. The resurrection obviously implies that Jesus is alive today and forever. In the book of Revelation, years after His death and resurrection, Jesus speaks to John, the apostle and says…
Revelation 1:18 (NIV) I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
The founder of every other religion is dead, be they Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius or Krishna. They are all dead and buried, only Jesus is alive. In order to be saved, in order to have eternal life, one must believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Romans 10:9 (NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Not only must we believe that Jesus has been raised and is alive today, we must tell others the truth of the resurrection. You cannot be a Christian and deny that Jesus has been raised from the dead. So, today, my first goal is that each one of us today believes in the resurrection. And secondly that you’re able to tell somebody else some of the evidence that Jesus is alive.
Our passage today is taken from Peter’s message on Pentecost in Acts 2. This powerful message, features clear teaching on the importance of Jesus’ resurrection. We can learn a great deal from Peter’s method and use of the Old Testament prophesy of David on how to be a witness to others. Our passage today begins with a succinct summary of …
The story of Jesus
If someone asked you the question, Who was Jesus?, how would you answer? Let’s see how Peter answers that question with three points about Jesus. Peter does not begin with Jesus’ birth, he begins with …
Jesus’ ministry of miracles
Acts 2:22 (NIV) “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.
Many today downplay the miraculous aspects of Jesus’ ministry recorded in the Gospels. Some even go so far as to say all the miracle stories were made up and aren’t true. Yet, Peter begins with the miracles of Jesus. He says that the miracles, wonders and signs showed that God was with Jesus. In fact, he states that it was God working those miracles through Jesus, by His Spirit.
Notice that Peter says the miracles were done among you, adding that you yourselves know. The crowd that Peter was speaking to had seen the miracles that Peter was talking about. They had spoken and seen the people who had been healed. This was not just something they were hearing for the first time, they had lived through Jesus’ ministry. You can’t talk about Jesus without talking about His miracles. Next, Peter says that …
Jesus’ death by God’s will
Acts 2:23 (NIV) 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.
It was in God’s plan and purpose that Jesus should die for the sins of the world. So, it was part of God’s plan for the Jews, with Roman help, to put Jesus to death on the cross. Yet, both the Jews and the Romans were guilty of the murder of the Son of God, for they put the man who worked miracles among them to death. But that was not the end of the story, Peter goes on to talk about …
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead
Acts 2:24 (NIV) 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.
Even when it seemed as though there was no hope, but God. But God raised Jesus from the dead, freeing him from death’s grip. God raised Jesus to life, never to die again, forever alive with a glorified body.
So, there you have Peter’s summary of Jesus. He begins with His ministry of miracles, speaks of His death on the cross and concludes with His resurrection from the dead. So, we too, when we’re telling people of Jesus, should not neglect to speak of His miracles, which continue to this day. We must certainly speak of His death, but not end there. A person must believe that Jesus rose from the dead in order to be saved.
Peter was one of many eyewitnesses who saw Jesus crucified on the cross. Not only did he see Jesus die, but he saw him alive from the dead. He had touched Him and ate with Him. Peter had seen Jesus ascend back into heaven. Jesus was not just a good teacher, He was the very Son of God. God proved it by raising Him from the dead, alive forever more. Now, let’s see how Peter quotes from David’s prophecy in Psalm 16.
David’s messianic prophecy
Acts 2:25-26 (NIV) David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,
At first glance when you read Psalm 16, you think David is speaking about himself. However, as we see here, David was speaking under the anointing of the Spirit. Jesus was speaking of Himself through David’s mouth. Peter makes it clear that David was speaking about him, that is Jesus Christ.
The Lord is the Father that was always with Jesus in His earthly ministry. As we’ll see, this prophesy anticipates the Messiah’s death. Jesus knew before He went to the cross that He would not be shaken, that His body would live once again, even after He died. Jesus rejoiced, knowing what His death and resurrection would accomplish.
Messiah would not stay dead
Acts 2:27 (NIV) because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
When Jesus was on the cross, He took the sin of the world upon Himself. God the Father, could not look upon that awful evil and sin, so He turned His face from Jesus. Jesus called out, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? at that dreadful moment. Yet, Jesus knew that the Father would not abandon Him in the grave, nor would He remain there to decay. Jesus Himself had prophesied that three days later, He would rise from the dead.
Messiah would live forever
Acts 2:28 (NIV) You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
In the last verse that Peter quotes from Psalm 16, the Messiah continues speaking to God the Father. Rather than decaying the grave, God would show Him the paths of life. God would bring Him into His presence with joy. In other words, God would raise the Messiah to life to live forever. In the next verses, we’ll see how Peter interpreted this prophesy regarding Jesus.
There are some 300 messianic prophecies in the Old Testament dealing with every aspect of the Messiah’s life. Some prophecies are more general and some are very specific. We see in the New Testament, many of these prophecies quoted and shown to be fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. These fulfilled prophecies are powerful internal evidence for the validity and supernatural character of God’s Word. They show that not only was Jesus Christ the prophesied Messiah, but also, that God spoke through the prophets and gave a detailed vision of the future. As all of the prophesies concerning Jesus’ life have been fulfilled, we can be assured that those that speak of His second coming will also be fulfilled. Now, let’s see how Peter interpreted David’s prophesy in Psalm 16, showing the …
Importance of the resurrection
Acts 2:29 (NIV) “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.
What Peter is saying is that David was not speaking of himself when he said that God would not let His Holy One see decay. David had died, was buried and his tomb was still visible in Peter’s day. Rather, David was prophesying of the Messiah, who was to come in the distant future.
Jesus was the promised Messiah
Acts 2:30 (NIV) But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.
Peter says that David was a prophet, He was able to hear from God and write down God’s Word through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God had promised David that one of his descendants would be placed on the throne and rule forever. David was speaking of the promised Messiah, the son of David, who was to come.
David prophesied the resurrection
Acts 2:31 (NIV) Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.
Now David did not see what was ahead with his own mental ability. He saw what was in the future through the power of the Spirit. David was speaking of the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah, that would happen a thousand years after he had died and been buried. Jesus, the Messiah, was the one who would go to the grave, but not be abandoned or remain in the grave. The Messiah’s body would not see decay in the grave, but would be preserved and transformed by the power of God.
Eyewitnesses prove Jesus lives
Acts 2:32 (NIV) God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
Peter concludes by making it clear that God the Father raised Jesus to life, never to die again. When Jesus was raised from the dead, His physical body was transformed into a glorified body. That glorified body, has both physical and spiritual characteristics, including being immortal. The body that Jesus was raised in will be the kind of body that all believers will receive when they are raised from the dead or when Jesus returns. Notice that Peter concludes by saying that we are all witnesses of the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. All the apostles and many other believers had seen Jesus alive after He was resurrected. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a proven historical fact.
So, as we have celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, this past Christmas season, we must remember the entire story of Jesus. His ministry of miracles and teaching, His death on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead, proving that He was indeed the Son of God. If you have not been sure whether Jesus rose from the dead, I encourage you to believe that fact today. About 75% of Americans believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
When you are talking to others about Jesus, ask if they believe that He rose from the dead. If they do, begin to discuss the implications of the resurrection. If not, see if they have read the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection in the Bible. Peter’s message about Jesus and His resurrection resulted in over 3000 people being saved. The same message has great power this New Year and though out the year.