God’s Word for You
Acts 3:11-15 You killed the Author of life
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, September 12, 2019
11 While he held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the covered walkway called Solomon’s Colonnade. They were astonished. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them, “O men of Israel, why do you wonder about this? Why do you stare at us as though by our own power or godliness we made this man walk?
Luke doesn’t say what the crippled man did when he went into the temple. Instead, we find him moving to the left (south) into Solomon’s Colonnade. The easiest thing to imagine is that the man, who was a beggar and would have had money with him from begging, would have purchased what he needed for a grain sacrifice (flour, oil, incense, and salt, Leviticus 2:1-13) and that he offered it before the priests as a thank offering for his miraculous healing. We don’t know everything that the money changers sold in the temple courts, but judging from Jesus’ experiences with them early and late in his ministry (John 2:14-15; Mark 11:15-16), the beggar probably could have bought almost anything he needed for a sacrifice as long as he had enough money.
After his sacrifice (assuming he made one) or prayers (Luke 18:10; 1 Samuel 1:7,10) or offering of money (cp. Luke 21:2-3), he moved out to the covered walkway called Solomon’s Colonnade. This was a place where Jesus had liked to walk and teach his apostles, and Peter and John still enjoyed going there for the same reason. It was here that a crowd of Jews ran up to them to see the healed man. They quickly identified him and realized what had happened, and it on account of their questioning faces that Peter spoke.
13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over and rejected him before Pilate, even though he had decided to release him.
Here is a reference to the Trinity. Peter describes God as the one God: “The God of our forefathers.” At the same time, he is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The threeness and oneness of God was not a surprise to the Jews. They understood that God has a Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2), and that God is a heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48), and that therefore he would have a Son who would also be truly and fully God. This Son was the anticipated Anointed Messiah whom David prophesied: “He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’” (Psalm 2:7).
This is the very Jesus, Peter says, whom the Jews handed over to Pilate. They rejected him, and even that rejection was a fulfillment of the prophecy about the Christ: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
14 You rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer released to you.
The Righteous One is a name for God (Proverbs 21:12; Isaiah 24:16). John (the other apostle who was with Peter) remembered this title well, saying “We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). To be righteous is to be completely without sin and able to stand in the presence of God. In the Old Testament, even the high priest could not do this without the blood of a sin offering to cover over his own guilt, but Jesus stands with God, the Son standing with his Father, holy, righteous, blameless, and glorious, deserving of all worship and praise. This is who was rejected by the Jews and murdered.
The firstborn son of Adam and Eve murdered his brother. The firstborn (and only-begotten) Son of God was murdered in place of a murderer, and yet his death atoned for the sins of all murderers, all adulterers, all idolators, and all sinners of every kind, all over the world, throughout all time.
15 You killed the Author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
The word archegos (ἀρχηγός) is translated “author” three times in the New Testament, always about Jesus. He is the “Author of life,” the “Author of salvation” (Hebrews 2:10), and the “Author and Perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). But the word ἀρχηγός can also mean leader or founder, and in Acts 5:31 we will see it translated “Prince.” In the Greek translation of Psalm 2, the scene is presented this way: “The kings of the world and the rulers take their stand against the Lord and against his Christ” (Psalm 2:2). But the Lord responds: “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill” (Psalm 2:6). God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Why? As a testimony that his righteous work was completed. He lived the holy and blameless life God requires of all mankind. He said, “Be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). His blood covers the shame of our failure to be holy, but his life fills up everything that is missing or lacking in us. Our faith in the Author of life means eternal life for us, through him, his life, and his blood.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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