God’s Word for You
Acts 13:34-35 Who? What? How?
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, June 1, 2020
34 He has spoken this way about raising him from the dead, never to decay: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 35 Therefore he has also said in another place: ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’
It is to be expected that almost all of the sermons and apostolic speeches in the New Testament, no matter who the speaker or writer is, would follow the same basic outline: God raised up Christ, Christ suffered, died and was buried, and Christ rose from the dead, all to fulfill Scripture and to rescue those who put their faith in him from their sins. This should still be the core of our preaching today, a part of every sermon whether we preach on Genesis or the Psalms or Isaiah or the Gospels or Paul. I like to think of this longer sermon at Antioch Paul’s ‘first missionary sermon’ (which it certainly wasn’t) because it’s the first longer sermon of Paul’s that appears in Acts (13:16-41). Here, in the key gospel section, Paul uses three Old Testament scripture quotations to explain the fulfilled prophecies about Jesus:
1, Who Jesus is (truly God and truly human), quoting Psalm 2, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.”
2, What was prophesied about him (the eternal kingdom promised to David), quoting Isaiah 55:3: “I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.”
3, How this could be (the resurrection of Jesus, quoting Psalm 16:10 as Peter did at Pentecost): “You will not let your Holy One see decay.”
In the Isaiah passage, the prophet remembers that David had been promised an everlasting kingdom without end, “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7). And again: “For even if the mountains are removed, and the hills are overthrown, my mercy will not be removed from you, and my covenant of peace will not be overthrown, says the Lord, who is showing you mercy” (Isaiah 54:10). This could not be fulfilled in David himself, who died and whose body is destroyed by decay. But Paul shows with the Psalm 16 text that it is fulfilled perfectly in Jesus. The body of Jesus did not decay; he rose from the dead, and he still lives. Christians still greet one another on Easter with “He is risen!” and “He is risen indeed!”
Who is Jesus? What does the Bible promise about him? How could that happen? These are key questions for our faith. May our preaching and teaching always focus on these things, so that we never lose sight of our one and only Savior.
Pastor Timothy Smith