Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. Acts 2:26
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
Peter began his quoting of Psalm 16 in order to defend the fact that it was not possible for death to hold Jesus. For many of the people there that day, this was probably necessary because of what is recorded in Matthew 28 –
“Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, ‘Tell them, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.” 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.’ 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Matthew 28:11-15
The truth of the resurrection was quickly covered up by the elders. Thus, it would be pointless to believe in a dead Messiah. However, Peter is careful to explain that Jesus did, in fact, resurrect, and he now defends this by citing Scripture to prove that it was prophesied to occur all along. As such, he continues with the next lines of the psalm, saying, “Therefore my heart rejoiced.”
The Greek reads dia touto, or literally: “Through this.” In other words, through the entire time of Christ’s passion, and despite the horrors that came upon Him, there was still a joy in His heart. The word “because” or “therefore” conveys the idea well enough.
The citing of the psalm by Peter is based on the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus noted here in verses Acts 2:23, 24. The previous words of the psalm spoke of the Lord being always before the face of His Messiah and there at His right hand to strengthen Him from being shaken. Because of this, the response – even in His time of greatest distress – is a heart of rejoicing.
The word used is euphrainó. It comes from two words signifying “good” and “moderation as regulated by a personal perspective.” Thus, it means “having a merry outlook (cheery state of mind) because feeling the sense of victory (‘inner triumph’)” (HELPS Word-studies). Our modern word euphoria carries a similar sense. Christ, even before and during the passion He suffered, was able to sense victory because of the presence of the Lord with Him and guarding Him through the ordeal.
Considering that Peter is speaking to an audience that was fully aware of the tortures of crucifixion, seeing it on open display for those who disobeyed Rome, the words must have been almost beyond comprehension. But Peter continues with His words, saying, “and my tongue was glad.”
Here, the word glóssa, or tongue, is used, whereas the Hebrew reads, “and rejoices my glory.” The idea between the two (tongue and glory) is found elsewhere in the psalms –
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise.
8 Awake, my glory!
Awake, lute and harp!
I will awaken the dawn.” Psalm 57:7, 8
“O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.” Psalm 108:1
The tongue is that which expresses the inward thoughts of man. Thus, it is that which sets man apart as glorious because he is a rational, cognitive being. With the tongue (his glory), the psalmist praises God. Understanding this, Jesus’ tongue (His glory) rejoiced even in His time of greatest suffering. The word translated as “rejoices” is agalliaó. It signifies to exult or be full of joy. The incredible part of this description is that the psalms elsewhere speak of the tongue of the Messiah in a much different way.
While Jesus was on the cross, He said, “I thirst” (John 19:28). In the psalms, the result of His thirsting is explained –
“I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.” Psalm 22:14, 15
Even in this terrible state of thirst that is so complete that His tongue clung to His jaws, His tongue was still in a state of rejoicing. It shows the absolute trust and confidence He had in the coming victory.
With that considered, Peter next says, “Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.” The Greek reads “on hope,” thus providing elegant symbolism that will be noted in a moment. This is the last of four times that the particular word, translated as “rest,” is found. The other three uses are from the synoptic gospels and refer to the nesting of birds –
“Then He said, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.’” Luke 13:18, 19
The word literally signifies “to camp down.” One has a tent that he has pitched, and he climbs inside and rests. The idea then is that of peaceful rest. What is being said here is that the most tumultuous turmoil-filled moments of the life of Christ Jesus were moments where He possessed a state of peaceful rest, lying on a bed of hope-filled anticipation of success, expectation of glory, trust in His God, and confidence that what was happening was the right use of this time in His life. Of these words, Vincent’s Word Studies states, “My flesh shall encamp on hope; pitch its tent there to rest through the night of death, until the morning of resurrection.”
This is just what the author of Hebrews states in order to give his reader the same confidence as Christ –
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1, 2
To the audience listening to Peter’s words, if they accepted his message, it would cut to their very heart at the enormity of what he was conveying.
Life application: The word translated as “rejoices” above is used by Peter concerning how we should be in our own afflictions, tying them into the afflictions of Christ –
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 2 Peter 4:12, 13
Christ set the example that we are then to follow. Even in the times of the most horrifying persecution, Christians have been known to cry out the most beautiful melodies of love to their Lord. The anguished cries of pain are intermingled with words of hope and joy – “Lord God, I am yours, be glorified through the tortures I face. Receive my spirit Lord Jesus because my body is destroyed.”
There is an exceeding joy that exists in those who truly hold the hope of Christ in their hearts. Knowing that nothing in heaven or earth can separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus our Lord is what makes it possible. Do you possess this confidence? To what measure is it so? Cultivate it. You never know if it will be necessary in the days ahead.
O God, through the sufferings of Christ, came the glory of the resurrection and exaltation! And because of His work, we can also possess the same confidence He had. Help us to grow in our faith, and to rest on our hope, knowing that we have a better home awaiting us in Your glorious presence. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.