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“Him, (Jesus), being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
We note the total change in Peter’s attitude to the cross that took place at some stage in the narrative. At Caesarea Philippi Peter heard the Lord speaking about His death and resurrection and responded, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” He was severely rebuked for his comment, the Lord hearing the thoughts of Satan in what Peter said. We have also noted that the disciples tried to dissuade the Lord from making His final visit to Jerusalem. Even at that stage, they had not accepted the fact that the Lord had come to die and rise again. As Jews, they could only think about the Messiah coming to reign, not to die!
Nevertheless, a few weeks later, Peter was addressing a vast crowd in Jerusalem and said the words in the box above. He, and the other followers of the Lord Jesus, had realised that all that had happened was according to THE DETERMINED PURPOSE AND FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
Paul gives us a glimpse of the Jewish mindset in 1 Corinthians 1:22-23, “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, TO THE JEWS A STUMBLING BLOCK and to the Greeks foolishness.” The idea of a crucified Messiah was a stumblingblock to the Jewish mind. When they read their Old Testament scriptures, they bypassed all the prophecies relating to a suffering Messiah and retained those that spoke about a coming King, who would rule in justice, equity and righteousness, One who would overthrow their oppressors and usher in a reign of freedom.
Once Peter had grasped this truth, it became the focus of his message. On two occasions, when he was on trial before the Jewish council, he boldly spelled out this truth. In Acts 3:14-15 he proclaimed, “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead.” Similarly in Acts 4:10, after the healing of the lame man, “Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.”
And later in the house of Cornelius in Acts 10:39-40, “And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day.” PETER KNEW FULL WELL THE MESSAGE HE WAS TO PREACH AND IT CENTRED IN THE CROSS.