Christendom has just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The early Church observed this event every time it met. Its significance cannot be understated for it was and is a major component in the gospel. This emphasis on the resurrected Christ was essential if Israel was to repent of its rejection of Messiah and avoid the judgment that would befall the nation.

Thus, in his first sermon to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, Peter called upon the Jews to reconsider the One whom had been crucified.  “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:22-24 NIV).

Fully aware of the admiration the Jews had for King David, Peter said … “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact” (Acts 2:29-32 NIV).

The apostle left no room for doubt in delivering the message of salvation … “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36 NIV). God the Holy Spirit convicted the hearers concerning the Person and Work of Christ and some received the message but as always, others did not. However … “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41 NIV).

The preaching of the gospel message, whether in answer to those who questioned the authority of the apostle or when answering those who sought to persecute and silence the apostles, always included the resurrection. In his response to his critics in the healing of the lame man, Peter boldly stated … “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. (Acts 3:12-15 NIV).

Even the threats of the Sanhedrin failed to deter Peter and John from preaching the resurrection. “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4:8-10 NIV). Peter unashamedly concluded his address with these words … “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV).

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