Today’s reading is Psalm 16
I know it’s not quite Easter Sunday, but “Risen Redeemer” seems like the best title for this Psalm.
At first blush it might not be obvious why this is so, but fortunately Peter has prepared a Faithful Daily Read for us in the book of Acts!
The book of Acts follows on from the Gospels. Specifically from the book of Luke (see intro in Acts 1:1-3). In Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost, the counsellor promised by Jesus arrives – the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit.
As Pentecost was a significant celebration, many Jews stayed in Jerusalem after the passover in order to celebrate Pentecost. Acts 2:5 says “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven”. What an amazing set up to spread the gospel across the world!
With this backdrop, the Holy Spirit emboldened Peter begins his sermon. As he gets to the meat of the sermon, he quotes Psalm 16:
“Men of Israel, hear these words:Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence”
Now you may be wondering if this Psalm is actually talking about David. After all it was written by David. However, Peter reasons clearly from the scriptures for us:
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses”
Peter has brought together the scriptures and shown how even at the time of David they were pointing to Jesus.
This is the centre point of Christianity. As Paul puts it:
if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
1 Cor 15:14
As David looked forward to the coming of God’s Holy One, so we can look back and be assured that his mission has been completed for us.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Cor 15:20
So as we approach Easter, rejoice and be glad of God’s fulfilled plan – that his Holy One would not see decay so that he might buy us back for an eternal life of relationship with him.