“Jesus is the Good News” Acts: To the End of the Earth
Scripture: Acts 2:22-41
What was most characteristic about Peter’s sermon at Pentecost were two things. First his sermon was radically Christ-centered. This means the sermon found its focal point on Christ, rather than simply mentioning Jesus a few times. Second his sermon was radically Bible-grounded. The sermon was not just inspired thoughts by the preacher but preaching that came from the inspired Word. The unique content of Peter’s sermon was the gospel: God’s saving message of Christ’s life, death, resurrection and exaltation. The gospel message is the good news of Jesus. Or put another way, Jesus is the good news. Jesus himself, not the benefits we derive from him, is the primary blessing of the gospel. This is important to affirm because it keeps Jesus front and center in the Christian faith. Jesus never falls into the background hidden behind the benefits that we receive from him. This keeps our focus on loving, honoring and worshiping Jesus.
#1: Jesus’ Life (2:22)
Peter’s sermon begins with Jesus who came to us in full humanity and full humility. As a man from Nazareth, Jesus identified himself as one of us. But his life was full of mighty works and signs that pointed to the work he came to do. He would restore the brokenness of the world and fix every wrong. His miracles were all glimpses of his power and his promise to one day do exactly that. Jesus’ life is good news.
#2: Jesus’ Death (2:23)
Jesus died in order to fully pay for man’s sins and take the punishment that we deserved. There’s a mystery involved in his death. How do we balance the mystery of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? Although this is a question for us, it neither bothered nor mattered to the original audience. They were so cut to the heart about Jesus that their concerns were how they should respond. Peter tells them that repentance and faith in Christ will lead to the forgiveness of sins. Trusting in Christ is the only way their sins will be dealt with. The same is true of us today. Christ’s death as our substitute was sufficient for us that we don’t need to any anything else to his death. Jesus’ death is good news.
#3: Jesus’ Resurrection (2:24-32)
Death did not have the final say over the Author of Life. He was raised from the dead three days later, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. As the holy, innocent and righteous One, God could not leave him for dead. He was raised in a glorious resurrection as a vindication and verification of all that he claimed. His resurrection was the seal that all who trust in him will also share in his eternal life and bodily resurrection. Without the resurrection, the Christian faith would all be in vain. Jesus’ resurrection is good news.
#4: Jesus’ Exaltation (2:33-35)
Now Jesus is exalted in heaven as the reigning King. His enemies are made his footstool as he rules and protects his people. Jesus does not leave his people unprotected and defenseless. He continually subjects evil to himself until he will vanquish evil forever when he returns in his final judgment. Jesus saved his people as a compassionate and loving lamb but he protects his people as a strong and mighty lion. Jesus’ exaltation is good news.
Jesus is the good news that we celebrate. The Giver is always better than the gifts, the Benefactor better than the benefits, the Person better than the prizes. When we thank God for the gospel, we don’t thank him for the things he gives us. We thank him for Jesus – his life, death, resurrection and exaltation.
Group Discussion Questions
- Share something you found either interesting, memorable, convicting, confusing or challenging about the passage/sermon.
- How do you define the gospel? Everybody should share their working definition.
- If you ask ten different people to define the gospel, you will most likely get ten different answers. Do you think Christians should have a uniform answer so that our answers aren’t contradictory? What are the pros/cons of having a uniform answer? What are the pros/cons of having a diversity of answers? How do you think an unbeliever would interpret the fact that he/she would hear as many different answers as people that he/she asked?
- No one part of the gospel is more important than the other (life, death, resurrection, ascension/exaltation). Why do you think Christians focus and emphasize on one more than the others? Which do you tend to neglect the most? In what ways does this imbalance affect your Christian life? How would your faith be improved if you paid more attention to the other emphases?