The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Son Jesus; whom you delivered up…
Our Lord distinctly appointed the apostles as his witnesses (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8). In these their early sermons or addresses, we may find the points which they considered were specially entrusted to them to declare. They would be sure to give first the basis or foundation facts on which the Christian system rested, and then gradually unfold the various doctrines which were embodied in those facts. Their central, foundation fact was their Lord's resurrection. It even seems that, at first, the Resurrection stood out more prominently before the apostles' minds than the sacrifical death. The precise proportions and relations of the Christian truths became matters of later adjustment; and, indeed, we are still trying to get them complete and satisfactory. Very many of the modern doctrinal controversies and sectarian disputes are occasioned by a failing sense of the proportions and relations in the whole of truth; some things are exaggerated and some underestimated; men fight hard for pieces of truth, as if they were the whole. The true work, worthy to engage all our thought and heart, is the fair estimate of all the various pieces, and the skilful setting of each in its fitting place. In the early preaching of the apostles may also be noticed how they seem to stand aside, so that Christ, their Lord and Master, only may be seen and honored. In this following the example of that Master, for he seemed ever to be stepping aside in order that men may fully see the Father. And in this also showing to us what is the essential spirit of all Christian preaching. The preacher's self must never be prominent; we may only set forth "Christ Jesus the Lord." The scene in "Solomon's porch," or portico, may be described. It was on the eastern side of the temple, and "consisted of a double row of Corinthian columns, about thirty-seven feet high. It was, like the porticoes of all Greek cities, a favorite place of resort, especially as facing the morning sun in winter" (John 10:23). In this same portico Jesus himself had taught. The prominent points concerning the Lord Jesus presented by St. Peter are -
I. JEHOVAH SENT AND ACKNOWLEDGED HIM. (Ver. 13.) The word Son would be better Servant, and then the passage (Isaiah 42:1), "Behold my Servant, whom I uphold," is at once brought to mind. In addressing the Jews, it was necessary to show that no claim was made for Jesus Christ as a new and independent God; the teaching of his divinity was consistent with both the teaching of the Divine Unity, which was the Jews' great truth, and the teaching of the Divine Trinity, which is the great Christian truth. To the Jew a new God must be a false God, for Jehovah is one. Messengers of Jehovah they could receive. Manifestations of Jehovah they could accept. The conception of the "Son of God" was not to them an impossible one. And therefore our Lord so earnestly pressed that the Father God had sent him; and the apostles urge that Jehovah's seal of acceptance rested on him and on his work. This truth is needed still. We cannot rest in the salvation wrought by Christ unless we can fully see that it is God's salvation (see John 3:16).
II. MEN DENIED HIS MISSION, AND CRUCIFIED HIM. (Ver. 13.) St. Peter gives the fact-Jesus was "delivered up;" and the aggravation of the fact - the clamors of malice actually overcame the natural sense of justice in the Roman governor. In reminding the people of this, St. Peter declares the Moral character of their act; and charges home upon the people the guilt of the judicial murder of no less a person than the national Messiah. For the actual denial of Christ, see John 19:15; and for the purpose of Pilate to release Christ, John 19:4. The fact of the denial is made the basis of the appeal for repentance. The fact of the crucifixion is urged as the guarantee of his actual death. Such enemies as they were would never leave their work imperfect.
III. HE WAS FREE FROM CRIME, AND JUST BEFORE MEN AND GOD. (Ver. 14.) The personal innocence of Jesus aggravates the iniquity of those who secured his death; but it also bears directly upon the work of redemption that he wrought. Had he to bear the true burden of penalty for his own sins, he could not be the efficient Burden-bearer for others. Had he spot, stain, or blemish, he could not be the acceptable sacrifice for humanity, which must he the "Lamb without blemish." Show how much is made, in the Epistles, of the personal innocence and perfect virtue of the Savior. "Holy, harmless, undefiled," etc.
IV. HE WAS THE PRINCE AND AUTHOR OF SALVATION AND LIFE. (Ver. 15.) For the term "Prince of life," see Acts 5:31; Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 12:2. It means, "He who is the source whence life and salvation flow." The chief thought in St. Peter's mind is that of the Resurrection. He who conquered death is "Prince of life," and has power to give life. St. John also says, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men." Our Lord himself said," I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life;" "I am come that they might have life;" "I give unto them eternal life." The worthy apprehension of what Christ is, and can do, makes the Jewish denial and crucifixion of him seem a most hateful crime; and our long neglect of him our unspeakable shame (Hebrews 2:3, 4).
V. HIS MESSIAHSHIP, HIS MISSION, AND HIS POWER TO SAVE, ARE, ONCE FOR ALL, AND SUFFICIENTLY, DECLARED IN HIS RESURRECTION. (Ver. 15.) If that resurrection be a fact - and to it all the apostles and disciples give witness, and on the literal truth of it St. Paul is even willing to stake the Christian system - then there are important inferences to be drawn from the fact, and especially this one: Jesus is the Christ. Therefore to him every knee should bow, and to him every sin-burdened heart should seek. So it is seen that the apostles were true preachers, model preachers; they set Jesus forth, and bid all eyes look to him. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.