Friday, 19 November 2021
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Acts 2:29
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 has completed his citing of David’s words from the 16th Psalm. With that complete, he now immediately turns to the explanation of why those words were spoken by him, beginning with, “Men and brethren.”
In verse 2:14, Peter said, “Men of Judea and all who are in Jerusalem.” In verse 22, he then addressed them as “Men of Israel.” Now, he brings them even closer to himself by saying the exact same words he said to those gathered with him in verse 1:16, Andres adelphoi, “Men, brothers,” or more literally, “brother-men.”
In this, he is addressing those with him in a personal, friendly manner, acknowledging that those gathered are not just of Israel, and they are not just dwellers in the nearby areas. Instead, they are brothers united by the distinct culture that had bound them together in a unique way. With this bond of affinity stated, he continues by saying, “let me speak.”
Rather than “let me,” which would be begging permission, the meaning of the Greek is “it is permitted for me to speak.” Based on the display of tongues, based on the fact that he has shown from both the prophets and the psalms that the events that have taken place were prophesied, and based on the fact that he is a brother Israelite, he has the permitted right to speak forth.
From there, he says, “freely to you.” Rather, the Greek clearly reads “with freedom.” Based on what has occurred, and based on the facts presented in verses 22-24 concerning Christ’s ministry, crucifixion, death, and resurrection, Peter cited inspired Scripture in order to establish a baseline by which he could then make and support his argument concerning Christ and how He is the reason behind the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples.
As such, Peter next narrows his discourse to speak of the writer of the psalm that he just quoted, Israel’s famous king and sweet psalmist. He does this by saying, “of the patriarch David.” Here, the word patriarchés, meaning the head or founder of a family, is introduced. The word will be used to describe the twelve sons of Jacob in Acts 7:8, 9, and also of Abraham in Hebrews 7:4.
David is called a patriarch because he is the father of the royal line and family leading to the Messiah. The term “House of David” is used numerous times in the Old Testament. It is referred to three times in the gospel of Luke as well. It is this key family that he is the patriarch of. Of King David, Peter now makes an obvious point to demonstrate why he brought in the words of the psalm. It is “that he is both dead and buried.”
Again, the translation is not precise. The verbs are aorist. It reads, “he both died and was buried.” There is a definite time in which these events occurred in the past. It is sure and fixed, and it is recorded for Israel to remember –
“So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. 11 The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years.” 1 Kings 2:10, 11
The events happened, and time then marched on. David became a memory of the past. But a reminder of his time remained for those in Jerusalem. As Peter next says, “and his tomb is with us to this day.”
The word is mnéma. It signifies an identifiable sepulcher. The word comes from mnaomai, meaning to remember or to recollect. The resting place of David was still to be found among the place where most of the other kings of Judah were buried. It was a reminder of his time upon the earth, and that he had – in fact – gone the way of the earth.
As such, the entire point of Peter’s quoting of the psalms becomes clear –
“For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Acts 2:27
The psalms were considered both sacred and inspired by God. To say otherwise would be considered blasphemous. As this is so, no one could challenge Peter’s logic that David could not have been speaking of himself. David died, entered Hades, and remained there. And more, his body saw corruption, testified to by the tomb which remained in Jerusalem for all to see.
As this is so, then the psalm was clearly speaking of someone else. Therefore, Peter’s claim in the resurrection of Jesus was a valid explanation of what occurred, and the tongues coming upon the believers were a sign and a witness that it was so. Peter will explain this in detail in the verses ahead.
Life application: When evangelizing Jews, it is good to first determine if they accept the premise that the Scriptures are inspired or not. If they accept this premise, then it is a valid approach to show them, from their own Scriptures, that the things presented there clearly point to a New Covenant, a crucified Savior, the resurrection, and so on. If they are willing to accept these things, you have a valid door through which to present them the gospel.
If they are not sure about the inspiration of Scripture, then you can attempt to convince them by reading them Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12. Most Jews have never heard these words read and they have no idea they are there. Without telling them that you are reading Isaiah, simply read them the words and then ask, “Who is this referring to?” Almost any who hears the words will say, “Jesus.”
They have heard the claims, they have been told what Christians believe, and they are told that none of it is true. But after they say it is Jesus who is being referred to, you can then show them that the words come not from a “Christian” source, but from their own “Jewish” Bible. From there, you have demonstrated that Christ is referred to, seven hundred years in advance, and they have testified to it as such. From there, you can give them the simple gospel of their salvation.
In the end, it is the heart – softened by the word of God, or hardened to the word of God – that must accept the word and receive the Gift, or reject the word and be condemned. Be ready to evangelize Jew or Gentile at all times. There is only one way to be reconciled to God, and that is through the Messiah of the Jews and the Christ of the nations. It is through JESUS.
Lord God, give us the desire to share the wonderful word of salvation to those who so desperately need to hear it. May we be willing to open our mouths and speak. Give us this desire, O God. Amen.