But those things - he hath so fulfilled - Your ignorance and malice have been overruled by the sovereign wisdom and power of God, and have become the instruments of fulfilling the Divine purpose, that Christ must suffer, in order to make an atonement for the sin of the world. All the prophets had declared this; some of them in express terms, others indirectly and by symbols; but, as the whole Mosaic dispensation referred to Christ, all that prophesied or ministered under it must have referred to him also.
But those things - To wit, those things that did actually occur, pertaining to the life and death of the Messiah.
Had showed - Had announced, or foretold.
By the mouth of all his prophets - That is, by the prophets in general, without affirming that each individual prophet had uttered a distinct prediction respecting this. The prophets “taken together,” or the prophecies “as a whole,” had declared this. The word “all” is not infrequently used in this somewhat limited sense, Mark 1:37; John 3:26. In regard to the prophecies respecting Christ, see the notes on Luke 24:27.
Hath so fulfilled - He has caused to be fulfilled in this manner; that is, by the rejection, the denial, and the wickedness of the rulers. It has turned out to be in strict accordance with the prophecy. This fact Peter uses in exhorting them to repentance; but it is not to be regarded as an excuse for their sins. The mere fact that all this was foretold; that it was in accordance with the purposes and predictions of God, does not take away the quilt of it, or constitute an excuse for it. In regard to this, we may remark:
(1)The prediction did not change the nature of the act. The mere fact that it was foretold, or foreknown, did not change its character. See notes on Acts 1:23.
(2)Peter still regarded them as guilty. He did not urge the fact that this was foreknown as an excuse for their sin, but to show them that since all this happened according to the prediction and the purpose of God, they might hope in his mercy. The plan was that the Messiah should die to make a way for pardon, and, therefore, they might hope in his mercy.
(3)this was a signal instance of the power and mercy of God in overruling the wicked conduct of people to further his own purposes and plans.
(4)all the other sins of people may thus be overruled, and thus the wrath of man may be made to praise him. But,
(5)This will constitute no excuse for the sinner. It is no part of his intention to honor God, or to advance his purposes; and there is no direct tendency in his crimes to advance his glory. The direct tendency of his deeds is counteracted and overruled, and God brings good out of the evil. But this surely constitutes no excuse for the sinner.
If it be asked why Peter insisted on this if he did not mean that it should be regarded as an excuse for their sin, I reply, that it was his design to prove “that Jesus was the Messiah,” and having proved this, he could assure them that there was mercy. Not that they had not been guilty; not that they deserved favor; but that tire fact that the Messiah had come was an argument which proved that any sinners might obtain mercy, as he immediately proceeds to show them.
The disciples of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His exhaustless wealth. Thus strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not to press forward in the service of the Master. AA 57.1Read in context »
A short time after the descent of the Holy Spirit, and immediately after a season of fervent prayer, Peter and John, going up to the temple to worship, saw a distressed and poverty-stricken cripple, forty years of age, who had known no other life than one of pain and infirmity. This unfortunate man had long desired to go to Jesus and be healed, but he was almost helpless, and was removed far from the scene of the Great Physician's labors. Finally his earnest pleadings induced some kind persons to bear him to the gate of the temple. But upon arriving there he discovered that the Healer, upon whom his hopes were centered, had been put to a cruel death. SR 248.1Read in context »
Their Saviour had been rejected and condemned, and nailed to the ignominious cross. The Jewish priests and rulers had declared, in scorn, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” But that cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The believers rallied; their hopelessness and conscious helplessness had left them. They were transformed in character, and united in the bonds of Christian love. Although without wealth, though counted by the world as mere ignorant fishermen, they were made, by the Holy Spirit, witnesses for Christ. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were the heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence and power that shook the world. TM 67.1
The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Acts give an account of their witnessing. Those who had rejected and crucified the Saviour expected to find His disciples discouraged, crestfallen, and ready to disown their Lord. With amazement they heard the clear, bold testimony given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The words and works of the disciples represented the words and works of their Teacher; and all who heard them said, They have learned of Jesus, they talk as He talked. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” TM 67.2
The chief priests and rulers thought themselves competent to decide what the apostles should do and teach. As they went forth preaching Jesus everywhere, the men who were worked by the Holy Spirit did many things that the Jews did not approve. There was danger that the ideas and doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute. The apostles were creating a wonderful excitement. The people were bringing their sick folk, and those that were vexed with unclean spirits, into the streets; crowds were collecting around them, and those that had been healed were shouting the praises of God and glorifying the name of Jesus, the very One whom the Jews had condemned, scorned, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. This Jesus was extolled above the priests and rulers. The apostles were even declaring that He had risen from the dead. The Jewish rulers decided that this work must and should be stopped, for it was proving them guilty of the blood of Jesus. They saw that converts to the faith were multiplying. “Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” TM 67.3Read in context »