In Acts 2:36, Peter concludes his sermon in this way: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (ESV cf. Acts 2:14–36). Let’s look at these two titles for Jesus.
First, Jesus is Lord. David identified Him as his Lord to come who the Father would grant to sit at His right hand (Ps 110:1; cf. Acts 2:34–35). The outpouring of the Spirit and the resultant speaking of tongues verified that Jesus had indeed sat down with His Father. The Father gave Him the promised Spirit, He poured the Spirit out, and thus He showed Himself to be Lord. Additionally, as He was given authority to pour out the Spirit (2:33–34; cf. 2:1–13), and as Joel identified as this outpouring as a function of God (Joel 2:28–29; cf. Acts 2:17–18), Jesus is therefore the Lord God who poured out the Spirit.
Second, Jesus is Christ. Christ means “anointed one,” and “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38; cf. Luke 3:21–22). Such an anointing was reserved for the promised Descendant of David, the One who would eternally rule God’s people (Acts 2:30; cf. 2 Sam 7:12–16; Ps 89:3–4, 35–37). An eternal rule could only be accomplished by overcoming death, and for whatever the psalm meant to himself at the time, David “spoke of the resurrection of the Christ” (Acts 2:31) when he prophesied in Ps 16:8–11 that the Holy One, God’s anointed king, would neither be abandoned in death nor see corruption—He would be in the presence of God forever (Acts 2:25–28). Thus, God raised Jesus up from the dead, Jesus ascended into heaven (cf. Acts 1:9–11), and there Jesus is “exalted at the right hand of God” as promised in Ps 110:1. He is indeed the Spirit-anointed King who overcame death and will rule God’s people as Christ.
Given these two titles, it is no wonder that the Israelites listening to Peter “were cut to the heart” once they learned who “this Jesus” really was (Acts 2:37). They had crucified Him, the very Lord and Christ who was the Author of their salvation! What a dilemma to be in! Nonetheless, the mercy of God was on full display on the day of Pentecost—even these Israelites who had crucified Jesus could call on His name, repent, and find forgiveness in Him (Acts 2:38–39).
For us today, we may not have called for Jesus’ crucifixion with the crowds or jeered at Jesus at Golgotha, but we are just as deserving of punishment for our sins as they were then. May we be reminded of the great mercy it is that Jesus our Savior was crucified for us, and may we see Him for who He really is—Lord and Christ over all!
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.