Acts 3:15

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. Acts 3:15

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).

The previous verse should be cited together with this to see the contrast and to better understand the paradox that is presented –

“But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.”

The immediate contrast –

“asked for a murderer” / “killed the Prince of life.”

The paradox –

The Prince of life was killed.

The broader contrast –

“But you denied the Holy One and the Just” / “whom God raised from the dead.”

Peter sets the actions of Israel in complete contrast one to another. Whereas they asked for Barabbas, a man who purposefully ended another’s life, they also killed the One who grants it. The word archégos is introduced here. It will be seen again in Acts 5 and then twice in Hebrews. It comes from arché, meaning “beginning” or “origin,” and agó, “to lead” or “to guide.” Hence, it is one who is a file-leader. He sets the way for others to follow.

Some translations use the term “author.” Though this is a close thought, it is not exact. It more closely would signify an originator or founder that continues to lead. Its other uses will help understand the significance of the word –

Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31

       For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:10

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 12:2

Christ is the “file-Leader” of life, of restoring others to God, of salvation itself, and of the faith possessed by those who look to Him. The question of what “life” is being referred to is appropriate. It could be referring to life itself, that which animates humans (and indeed all life), or it could refer to the “life” which is obtained through restoration with God, meaning the spiritual restoration to God that was lost at the fall.

The immediate context is surely referring to the latter because Peter will next speak of the resurrection that makes this life possible. But the former is true as well. Jesus is clearly revealed as the Lord (YHVH) of the Old Testament Scriptures. It is He who breathed life into Adam at the first (Genesis 2:7), but He is also the one who indicated He would breathe the new life, the Holy Spirit, into those who would come to Him by faith (John 20:22). In Him is life (John 1:4), both the initial giving of it, and the restoration of that spiritual life through His completed work.

It is this One that Israel killed, revealing the great paradox. How could the file-Leader of life die? And yet, He had to die to bring about life in those who killed Him. One necessitated the other. It reveals the wisdom and the immensity of God’s plans. And in their killing of Christ came the victory over death, as Peter notes, saying, “but whom God raised from the dead.”

Peter has already said in Acts 2:24 that “it was not possible that He should be held” by death. This is because “the wages of sin is death.” But Christ, the Prince of life, had no sin. As such, death could not hold Him. He had done nothing to earn death, and He therefore was resurrected by the power of God.

Life was found in Him who is the life. The enormity of the event, and the piercing nature of the words, must have been terrifying to those who realized what they meant. And to make certain that the words could be trusted, Peter next says, “of which we are witnesses.”

It is debated what Peter is referring to:

“the Prince of life…of whom we are witnesses.”
“God raised from the dead…of which we are witnesses.”

Either way, the fact is that Peter and John are witnesses, thus establishing the truth of the matter as required by law. They did witness the life and deeds of Christ, and they did witness Christ in His resurrection. Both testify to the fact that He was, and still remained, the Messiah. Israel is being presented with information that they cannot live without. Likewise, each individual was being presented with that same information. The choice is both an individual one and it is a collective one. Each person standing there had to individually choose to believe, and the nation as a whole – who was under the terms of the Mosaic Covenant – had to do so as well.

Life application: What God has done in Christ is incredible in the extreme. But it is not impossible to believe. If the story of Jesus was just one made up in the minds of a group of people at a given time, it could easily be ignored.

However, the books of the Bible span about fifteen hundred years of time. And more, not only are they written over that span of time, but they encompass details that go from the very beginning of time until the end of time as we currently understand it – telling of things that would happen well into the future, and which continue to be realized even at the current time.

They are comprised of the writings of about forty different people. They are written in various locations throughout the Middle East. They are written in several different languages, and they are written to various groups of people.

Despite all of these things, the message found in these sixty-six books is a single, unified whole. It carries one overall theme while also carrying – very consistently – many individual themes that form it into a single body of literature that defines the very purpose of man’s existence on earth.

The main theme, the Subject, of this compilation is God working in Christ in order to have an eternal relationship exist between the two. The Person of Jesus, who is Christ, is that Subject. It is He who is the Prince of life, and it is He to whom we are responsible.

Let us never forget this, and may we spend our time and energy – above all else – focused on this. Let us praise God, exalt Him, and magnify His glorious name for all the world to see and understand His goodness towards us in the giving of His Son. May this be how we direct our lives, all the days of our lives.

Lord God, thank You for what You have done in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.