Acts 3:18
But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
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(18) Those things, which God before had shewed.—As in Acts 1:16; Acts 2:23, we have again an echo of the method of prophetic interpretation which the Apostles had learnt from their Lord.

3:12-18 Observe the difference in the manner of working the miracles. Our Lord always spoke as having Almighty power, never hesitated to receive the greatest honour that was given to him on account of his Divine miracles. But the apostles referred all to their Lord, and refused to receive any honour, except as his undeserving instruments. This shows that Jesus was one with the Father, and co-equal with Him; while the apostles knew that they were weak, sinful men, and dependent for every thing on Jesus, whose power effected the cure. Useful men must be very humble. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name, give glory. Every crown must be cast at the feet of Christ. The apostle showed the Jews the greatness of their crime, but would not anger or drive them to despair. Assuredly, those who reject, refuse, or deny Christ, do it through ignorance; but this can in no case be an excuse.But those things - To wit, those things that did actually occur, pertaining to the life and death of the Messiah.

Had showed - Had announced, or foretold.

By the mouth of all his prophets - That is, by the prophets in general, without affirming that each individual prophet had uttered a distinct prediction respecting this. The prophets "taken together," or the prophecies "as a whole," had declared this. The word "all" is not infrequently used in this somewhat limited sense, Mark 1:37; John 3:26. In regard to the prophecies respecting Christ, see the notes on Luke 24:27.

Hath so fulfilled - He has caused to be fulfilled in this manner; that is, by the rejection, the denial, and the wickedness of the rulers. It has turned out to be in strict accordance with the prophecy. This fact Peter uses in exhorting them to repentance; but it is not to be regarded as an excuse for their sins. The mere fact that all this was foretold; that it was in accordance with the purposes and predictions of God, does not take away the quilt of it, or constitute an excuse for it. In regard to this, we may remark:

(1) The prediction did not change the nature of the act. The mere fact that it was foretold, or foreknown, did not change its character. See notes on Acts 1:23.

(2) Peter still regarded them as guilty. He did not urge the fact that this was foreknown as an excuse for their sin, but to show them that since all this happened according to the prediction and the purpose of God, they might hope in his mercy. The plan was that the Messiah should die to make a way for pardon, and, therefore, they might hope in his mercy.

(3) this was a signal instance of the power and mercy of God in overruling the wicked conduct of people to further his own purposes and plans.

(4) all the other sins of people may thus be overruled, and thus the wrath of man may be made to praise him. But,

(5) This will constitute no excuse for the sinner. It is no part of his intention to honor God, or to advance his purposes; and there is no direct tendency in his crimes to advance his glory. The direct tendency of his deeds is counteracted and overruled, and God brings good out of the evil. But this surely constitutes no excuse for the sinner.

If it be asked why Peter insisted on this if he did not mean that it should be regarded as an excuse for their sin, I reply, that it was his design to prove "that Jesus was the Messiah," and having proved this, he could assure them that there was mercy. Not that they had not been guilty; not that they deserved favor; but that tire fact that the Messiah had come was an argument which proved that any sinners might obtain mercy, as he immediately proceeds to show them.

18. that Christ—The best manuscripts read, "that His Christ."

should suffer—The doctrine of a Suffering Messiah was totally at variance with the current views of the Jewish Church, and hard to digest even by the Twelve, up to the day of their Lord's resurrection. Our preacher himself revolted at it, and protested against it, when first nakedly announced, for which he received a terrible rebuke. Here he affirms it to be the fundamental truth of ancient prophecy realized unwittingly by the Jews themselves, yet by a glorious divine ordination. How great a change had the Pentecostal illumination wrought upon his views!

The prophets did all speak the same things, as if they had spoken out of one mouth, as they did speak by one Spirit. God used the ignorance of some, and the malice of others, for his own holy ends: and that it was prophesied

that Christ should suffer, is very plain, Isaiah 1:5-7.

But those things which God before had showed,.... In the Scriptures of the Old Testament, concerning the betraying of the Messiah, and his sufferings and death, with the various causes, concomitants, and circumstances of them:

by the mouths of all his prophets; which were since the world began; some pointing out one thing or circumstance, and some another:

that Christ should suffer. The Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read, "that his Christ should suffer"; but then they leave out the word "his" in the preceding clause, which they put into this; and this entire clause is omitted in the Alexandrian copy:

he hath so fulfilled; in the manner he has, so exactly, so perfectly agreeable to the predictions of them, and yet were unknown to the persons by whom they were fulfilled. So wisely and surprisingly are things ordered and overruled by the wise providence of God, who is a God of knowledge, and by whom all actions are weighed.

But those things, which God before had shewed {e} by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

(e) Though there were many Prophets, yet he speaks only of one mouth, to show us the consent and agreement of the Prophets.

Acts 3:18. δὲ: a further mitigation; whilst they were acting in their ignorance, God was working out His unerring counsel and will.—πάντων τῶν προφητῶν: not to be explained by simply calling it hyperbolic. The prophets are spoken of collectively, because the Messianic redemption to which they all looked forward was to be accomplished through the death of Christ, cf. Acts 10:43. The view here taken by St. Peter is in striking harmony with his first Epistle, 1 Peter 1:11, and 1 Peter 2:22-25.—παθεῖν τὸν Χ. αὐτοῦ, R.V., “his Christ,” cf. Luke 17:25; Luke 24:26. The phrase, which (W.H[144]) is undoubtedly correct, is found in Psalm 2:2, from which St. Peter quotes in Acts 4:26, and the same expression is used twice in the Apocalypse, but nowhere else, in the N.T.; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 12:10 (cf. also Luke 2:26; Luke 9:20). See also the striking passage in Psalms of Solomon, Acts 18:6 (and Acts 3:8), ἐν ἀνάξει Χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ, and Ryle and James on Psalm 17:36. The paradox that the suffering Messiah was also the Messiah of Jehovah, His Anointed, which the Jews could not understand (hence their ἄγνοια), was solved for St. Peter in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. On the suffering Messiah, see note Acts 26:23.—ἐπλήρωσεν οὕτω: “He thus fulfilled,” i.e., in the way described, Acts 3:14-15. On πληρόω, see Acts 1:16. “In the gardens of the Carthusian Convent … near Dijon … is a beautiful monument.… It consists of a group of Prophets and Kings from the O.T., each holding in his hand a scroll of mourning from his writings—each with his own individual costume and gesture and look, each distinguished from each by the most marked peculiarities of age and character, absorbed in the thoughts of his own time and country. But above these figures is a circle of angels, as like each to each as the human figures are unlike. They, too, as each overhangs and overlooks the Prophet below him, are saddened with grief. But their expression of sorrow is far deeper and more intense than that of the Prophets, whose words they read. They see something in the Prophetic sorrow which the Prophets themselves see not: they are lost in the contemplation of the Divine Passion, of which the ancient saints below them are but the unconscious and indirect exponents:” Stanley’s Jewish Church, pref. to vol. ii.

[144] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

18. by the mouth of all his prophets, &c.] The best MSS. connect the pronoun his with the next clause. Read, by the mouth of all the prophets that his Christ should suffer. The purpose of the whole of the Scripture is to set forth the redemption of men through the suffering of Christ. So that from the first mention of the bruising of the heel of the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), there had been a constant chain of testimony that the Christ should suffer.

he hath so fulfilled] Turning your evil deed to a purpose of salvation.

Acts 3:18. Δὲ, but) In the case of anything badly done by us. this too is to be considered, what good GOD hath done under it.—ἃ προκατήγγειλε, which God announced before) This is opposed to the ignorance (Acts 3:17) of the Jews.—πάντων, of all) This imparts great force to his language.—παθεῖν τὸν Χριστὸν αὐτοῦ) So the Greek MSS. of adequate authority, as also Irenæu[29] and the Syr[30] Version. That is to say, that His Anointed should suffer.[31] And this altogether accords with ch. Acts 4:26, “Against His Christ.” Others have written αὐτοῦ, His, afterwards the words by the mouth of all the prophets, as we find in Luke 1:70.—οὓτω, so) in this way.

[29] renæus (of Lyons, in Gaul: born about 130 A.D., and died about the end of the second century). The Editio Renati Massueti, Parisinæ, a. 1710.

[30] yr. the Peschito Syriac Version: second cent.: publ. and corrected by Cureton, from MS. of fifth cent.

[31] BCDEde Vulg., both Syr. Versions, and Iren. read αὐτοῦ after Χριστὸν. A puts αὐτοῦ after προφητῶν, omitting παθεῖν τὀν Χριστόν. Rec. Text and Memph. read αὐτοῦ προφητῶν παθ. τ. Χριστόν.—E. and T.

Verse 18. - The things for those things, A.V.; foreshowed or before had showed, A.V.; the prophets for his prophets, A.V. and T.R.; his Christ for Christ, A.V. and T.R.; he thus fulfilled for he hath so fulfilled, A.V. He even excuses their ignorance by showing how the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God was brought about through it (comp. Gem 45:5, and see above, Acts 1:23). Acts 3:18
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