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Acts 13:32–35

“We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’” (vv. 32–33).

In proclaiming the gospel to the audience at the synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia, Paul included in his account of the resurrection the truth that His disciples had seen the risen Jesus firsthand (Acts 13:30–31). This reference to witnesses was particularly important for the largely Jewish audience that heard Paul speak, for the law of Moses stresses the importance of confirming the truth of a claim via the testimony of eyewitnesses (Deut. 19:15). Not only was the truth of the resurrection of Jesus established by eyewitness testimony, but it was also foreseen in the Old Testament Scriptures. Paul makes this point in today’s passage.

First, the Apostle quotes Psalm 2:7. The New Testament sees this psalm fulfilled in at least two ways. Texts such as Hebrews 1:5 see in Psalm 2:7 a reference to God the Father’s eternal begetting of the Son and thus to the Son’s deity and supremacy over all creation, including the angels. From all eternity, the Son has come forth from the Father, sharing fully the one divine nature. This begetting has no beginning point, so there was never a time when the Son did not exist. Other texts such as Romans 1:4 emphasize the fulfillment of Psalm 2:7 in the resurrection of Christ. In the resurrection, Romans 1:4 says, Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God in power.” The resurrection, in other words, was the public announcement and confirmation that Jesus is the victorious Son of God and ruler over the nations. Paul’s use of Psalm 2:7 in Acts 13:33 is in line with the Apostle’s meaning in Romans 1:4.

Paul moves on in Acts 13:34–35 to quote two more Old Testament passages that foresaw the resurrection. Verse 34 quotes Isaiah 55:3, which promised that the blessings of the Davidic covenant would be extended to the repentant people of God after the Babylonian exile. These blessings include peace, the righteous rule of David’s son, and the possession of a holy land (see Jer. 23:1–8; Ezek. 34:11–31). Acts 13:35 quotes Psalm 16:10, which reveals that the Messiah would not suffer corruption in the grave. When we put all this together, we are to see that the blessings of God’s covenant with David come to God’s people in and through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In His resurrection, Jesus inherits the Davidic throne to rule righteously over the nations. His resurrection is for our justification, which establishes peace with the Lord and with other believers. Finally, His resurrection is the firstfruits of our own resurrection to inherit a good land in the new heavens and new earth (see Rom. 4:23–5:1; 1 Cor. 15).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

Our proclamation of the gospel should emphasize the death of Jesus. Yet we have not proclaimed the full message of salvation if we leave out the resurrection or pay too little attention to it. If Christ had not risen from the dead, He would have been just one of many thousands of people to die a terrible death by crucifixion. Because He is risen from the dead, we know that He is the Lord of glory who will raise us from the dead as well at His return.

For further study
  • Daniel 12:1–2
  • Amos 9:11–15
  • John 11:25–26
  • 1 Peter 1:3–5
The bible in a year
  • Ezra 1–2
  • John 19:16b–42

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From the June 2024 Issue
Jun 2024 Issue