#DailyDevotion You Killed Him By Hanging Him On A Tree
Act 5:27-32 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, (28) saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” (29) But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. (30) The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. (31) God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (32) And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Having been let out of prison by the angel the apostles did what came naturally, they went to the temple preaching about Jesus, repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name. This didn’t please the priests of the temple at all. The priests arrested them again and the high priest charged them, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” Indeed, the apostles were filling Jerusalem with the teaching of Jesus. What else could they do? They were taught by Jesus, heard his teaching, saw him crucified, dead, buried, risen and ascended to the right hand of God. Jesus was Jerusalem’s and the world’s salvation for all who heard of him. The love of God compelled them to preach about Jesus. But the apostles were not after the blood of the priest. They were not looking for vengeance. They were wanting the blood of Jesus Christ to rest upon the priest, the Pharisees and the Scribes in a manner in which they did not mean at Jesus’ trial. They wanted to blood of Jesus to be on them in the manner the blood of atonement was on them on Yom Kippur, for their salvation.
Would to be we would have the courage of the apostles to tell all who oppose us, “We must obey God rather than men.” Now it is true, Peter lays the death of Jesus right at the high priest feet. “You killed him by hanging him on a tree.” But Peter also lets him know, God has raised Jesus from the dead. Not only that, God has exalted him to his right hand and Leader and Savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins. Now leader may be seen more as Author, the source, if that is helpful. Right here Peter is giving the high priest and all those responsible for Jesus’ death an out. The apostles are not out after blood. They seek for those who were responsible for crucifying Jesus to receive the gift of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name.
Now this message is still the same for us who have received the witness of the apostles concerning Jesus and who have also received the Holy Spirit. We too can do no other than confess the truth that has been handed to us: Jesus Christ is our and your Leader and Savior of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. We are called to live repentant lives looking to Jesus alone as the source of repentant lives and as the source of our forgiveness before God. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit that we too may forgive those who sin against us even when they think they are doing good when they do so. No matter what you have done, it can’t be any worse than putting God, your Lord and Savior on a cross to die. Jesus took that cross willingly so you may have forgiveness, life and salvation before God and be raised like him on the Last Day.
Merciful and Gracious God, may the teaching of Jesus always be upon our lips so we may too live repentant lives, turning from sin and death to forgiveness and life in Christ Jesus. May we be the means, as were your apostles, to spread the good news of Jesus to all to whom you bring to us as our neighbors. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.