June 22, 2015
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Prince of Life
And killed the Prince of Life Whom God hath raised from the dead
It has become common place to hear people speak of “oxymorons” – expressions with inherent contradictions, things which do not belong together. Peter’s sermon outside the Temple Gate called Beautiful, contains such an expression: the Prince of Life being put to death.
John 1 reveals to us that all life originated in Him: “In Him was life” (John 1:4). He infused life into a creation. He breathed into man and gave him life. He is the author of life. Apart from Him there is no life.
He is true life in its essence and as it is meant to be. He proclaimed without reserve or exaggeration, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Yet He was put to death.
He was the One Who possessed a life which no man could take from Him (John 10:18). As the Father possessed life – inherently, underived, essentially, eternally – so He possessed it in like manner (John 5:26).
Yet the Prince of Life stepped into the waters of death for us. Peter does not stop to explain how men could “kill” the Prince of Life. He began his sermon by reminding them that they had delivered up the Lord Jesus (v 13), they had denied the Holy One and the Just (v 14), they had demanded a murderer to be released instead of the Lord Jesus (v 14). To their guilt they had added the ultimate crime: they had killed the Prince of Life. They judged the Prince of Life worthy of death! Could anything else so display the blindness of sin?
The Holy One was sent to a place where He was numbered among the transgressors. The Just One was condemned by His creature. The giver of life was taken by those to whom He had given life as they sought to take from Him His life. Contradiction mounts upon contradiction! Paradox upon paradox!
As a Prince, He reigned over a realm, a kingdom. That sphere of rule was life itself. Yet He willingly yielded that life for you and me. Peter charged the nation, and rightly so, with having killed the Prince of Life. And yet, Scripture balances that with the truth that He willingly gave that life to accomplish His Father’s will, to put sin away, and to abolish death and bring life and immortality to life through the gospel (2 Tim 1:10). The Prince of Life gave His life, went into death, to bring life to light.
In the previous chapter (Acts 2), Peter mentioned five things that God did for His Son. Can you find the five things that men did to Him in this chapter (vv 13-15)?
Peter said that it was “through ignorance” that they had done it (v 17). Is there a link here with the City of Refuge for the man who slew another in ignorance?