Acts 5:30

T’baccy farm. Backwoods Tenessee.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Acts 5:30

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 words of the last verse were those of the apostles as they proclaimed, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Now, to continue with their lecturing of the high priest and the council, the words of Peter and the apostles say, “The God of our fathers.”

This is referring to YHVH (Yehovah), the covenant Lord God of Israel, such as is recorded in Exodus 6:7 –

“I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

It is He who set forth the law through Moses which the people agreed to. It is, ironically, this law that these men at the council administered for the people of Israel, but which the apostles will school them on in the verses ahead concerning Jesus Christ whom that same law spoke of.

In saying “The God of our fathers,” it is clear that the apostles are claiming that their worship is not of a new God, a false God, or a misrepresentation of the true God. They are aligning themselves with the people at the council (our), and they are aligning themselves with the God whom the council represents (our fathers).

As such, what they will claim is an extension of what the Lord (YHVH) is doing in redemptive history, not merely something entirely new, but a continuance of the overall redemptive plan in a new direction. This same thought is seen in the words of the Lord to Moses –

“Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.’ Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:5, 6

When the Lord spoke to Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – who preceded him – were not under the law that was to be given through him, and yet nobody in Israel would deny that those patriarchs were a part of what the Lord was doing in redemptive history. And so, what the apostles now proclaim bears the exact same weight, if the words are true. To validate that their words are, in fact, true, the schooling of the council by the apostles begins with the words that the God of their fathers “raised up Jesus.”

This is an obvious reference to the resurrection. The council was fully aware of the claim that Jesus had been raised. By saying that God raised Him up, it meant that God was fully satisfied concerning His innocence and that His sacrifice was acceptable before Him. And this, despite the next words of the apostles to the council, saying, “whom you murdered.”

Here is a new word in Scripture, diacheirizomai. It comes from dia (through) and a derivative of cheir (to handle thoroughly). Thus, it means “To lay violent hands upon.” In the case of Jesus, it means they killed Him violently. This word will only be found one more time, in Acts 26:21.

Peter and the apostles firmly avow that what happened to Jesus was a willful, violent, and unjustified attack against the Lord’s Messiah. God had approved of His life, He had raised Jesus from the dead, and thus those of the council (the verb is plural – “you all”) were guilty of His death. But more, they then added in the most striking words of all, saying, “by hanging on a tree.”

The verb is an aorist participle and should read, “having hanged.” The act occurred, it was successfully accomplished, and it was one intentionally brought about by those at the council. These words are a clear and unambiguous reference to Deuteronomy 21:23. There, the Greek translation uses the same word as is used now in Acts, xulon, or tree. That is a direct translation from the Hebrew word ets, signifying wood, or a tree –

“If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.” Deuteronomy 21:22, 23

The council had determined that Jesus was deserving of death. And yet, both Pilate and Herod had determined exactly the opposite –

“Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, ‘You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him’ 17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).” Luke 23:13-17

Because the council had violently, and yet wrongfully, participated in the crucifixion of the Messiah (proved by God’s having raised Him from the dead), it means they bore the guilt of what occurred. This is the weight of what is being said to them now. If they understood the scope of what this meant, however, they would then realize that what occurred was not outside of, but a part of, what the Lord had planned –

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13, 14

If the council would acknowledge their part in what happened, forgiveness could come. But this is not what took place. Until Israel’s leaders acknowledge their part in what occurred, they – even to this day – remain under the curse that they brought upon themselves.

Life application: Such a seemingly unimportant set of words, that can be quickly read over and easily forgotten, carry an immense amount of theological importance. And the words of this verse have not been fully explained in relation to many other verses in Scripture. They tie in with other parts of the law, with words in the psalms and the prophets, with what is stated in the gospels, the epistles, and Revelation.

Everything in Scripture ultimately ties in with what God is doing in Christ to reconcile the world to Himself. And Christ (the Messiah) is Jesus who is clearly depicted in the gospels and Acts, and who is then explained throughout the rest of the New Testament. Be careful to know this now because there are people all over the world who claim to be the Messiah, or who claim to be Jesus the Messiah.

There are also others who add to the word about Christ, such as the Mormons. Jesus is the central point of all of what God is doing in the world, Jesus is revealed to us in Scripture. So be sure to know exactly what books form Scripture, and then be sure to know which “Jesus” it is that Scripture is presenting. When you get these things right, and when you believe the message of what He has done, you will be saved. Anything else will only lead to condemnation.

Thank You, Lord God, that we have a sure word in the pages of the Bible. Nothing is missing, and nothing is superfluous. And thank You that the Bible tells us all we need to know about Jesus and the proper path to salvation. Thank You, Lord God. Amen.