July 13, 2015
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Prince and Saviour
“The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:30, 31
Having enjoyed their angelic release from prison, Peter and the other apostles had made their way to the temple and were teaching the people. The consternation of the Jewish leadership must have reached monumental proportions when they learned that the prisoners they had confined to cells for the evening were free and preaching in the temple.
Summoned before the council, Peter and the apostles had no hesitation in producing their credentials for preaching: “We ought to obey God…” If the command of God was the reason for their preaching, the resurrection of Christ was the ratification of their preaching.
Peter’s plainness of speech must have cut to their hearts: “Ye slew and hanged on a tree.” The hands of men had taken Him and impaled Him to a cross; they had literally “slain” Him by delivering Him to Gentile powers and demanding His death. Their hands had not only slain Him but shamed Him by placing Him on a cross. Their hands were stained with blood: “His blood be on our hands, and on our children” (Matt 27:25). The Lord Jesus had spoken of being delivered into the hands men (Matt 17:22), of sinners (Matt 26:45), of wicked men (Acts 2:23). Human hands were used to bind Him and to buffet Him.
But another hand was active as well to contravene all that wicked hands had done. “Him hath God exalted with His right hand…” When the hands of men had done all they could do, then the hand of God moved into action. He was exalted and exalted to God’s right hand (Heb 8:1); but He was also raised and exalted by God’s right hand. If in the former it is His place of honor, in being raised by His right hand it is the display of power and approval. The heavens are the work of His fingers (Ps 8:3), but He magnified His power by using His right hand to exalt His Son.
Exalted in Heaven He is a Prince and a Saviour. As a Prince, He awaits the day of coronation. As Saviour, He is available for salvation. As prince, God has assured Him and the universe that He has reversed earth’s verdict and that His Son will one day reign. As Saviour, God has assured all of the certainty of redemption in its fullest aspect.
- Look up some references to the “arm of the Lord” and the “right hand of the Lord” in connection with the Lord Jesus.
- This is one of at least seven references to the resurrection of Christ mentioned in the preaching in the book of Acts. Trace each of them.
- Notice how frequently Peter refers to the “tree” while Paul speaks more of the cross. Why do you think there is this difference?