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God’s Word for You

Acts 4:27-30

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

27 “Indeed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, met together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your hand and your plan had decided beforehand should happen.

As the Apostles and their companions continue to pray, they confess what had taken place. Two individuals (Herod and Pilate), and two groups are mentions: the Gentiles (Romans) and “the peoples” (the Greek word is plural) “of Israel.” “Peoples” (laois, λαοῖς) is probably a reference to the various crowds of Jews who were at the trial and out at the crucifixion of Jesus.

Another part of the confession is not historical, but theological. What happened seemed to have been brought about by the leadership of the Jews and the people that they carried along with them, but in reality, this was in accord with God’s intended plan from eternity. “Your hand and your plan” is a way of saying that God’s power and God’s will were involved in the crucifixion. God had meant for Jesus to atone for the sins of the world, to crush the power of the Serpent (Genesis 3:15) and to receive in his body “the punishment that brought us peace” (Isaiah 53:5). This does not mean that the men who rejected Jesus were not guilty of sinning, but that God worked through their sins in the same way that he must work through the sins of many other people to bring about his plans. The sins are not caused by God, but he directs and moves events so that his will is carried out despite our sinfulness and the corruption of man’s hearts. Threatened with punishment for no legal reason at all, Christ “took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4), he was “oppressed and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:7), and “by oppression and judgment he was taken away” (Isaiah 53:8). He was the guilt offering that atones for our sins (Isaiah 54:10), but he was raised to life once again. Having carried the sin of the world, he was carried home to heaven in his risen body, accepted by the Father and glorified by him. Jesus showed his divinity and his holiness; how could the Apostles keep from proclaiming their faith in him?

29 “Now Lord, look at their threats and give to your servants the ability to keep on speaking your word with all boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and let signs and wonders take place through the name of your holy child, Jesus.”

The prayer concludes with a request for strength to keep on preaching the gospel with confidence and boldness. They asked for miracles, for signs and wonders, to continue to take place so that God’s approval would accompany their preaching. Healing is especially requested; not for the Apostles, but for the people they would meet.

The prayer ends with an interesting way of describing Jesus. He is called “your holy child.” The Greek word paidos is sometimes translated “servant” (Luke 1:54), and sometimes “child” (Luke 8:51). Jesus is of course both the servant and the child of God the Father. Paidos is not the usual word for Son (which would be huios, Acts 9:20), and the Apostles’ prayer used the usual word for “servant” or “slaves” (doulois) earlier in verse 29, so I have retained “child” here. It is a tender word, and it emphasizes the relationship between God the holy Father and Jesus his holy Child, subordinate to the Father in his obedience but not in his divinity.

Jesus, the Child of the Father, rescued us from our sins. He was our substitute, and in him we have everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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