Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 13:33-39
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 13:33
v33: The way this verse is usually translated leaves Paul saying God fulfilled the father’s promise “to our children,” which is a thought that is hard to explain. It leaves us wondering in what way God skipped over Paul’s generation (who were alive when Jesus rose from the dead), giving the promise to their children instead. But this verse can be translated with equal validity to read, “…God has fulfilled this promise to the children, raising up to us Jesus, as also it has been written…” In this case the “children” to whom Paul is referring are the children of Israel, which is why he goes on to say God raised up Jesus “to us.” Translated this way the verse is logical and easily understood.

Monday: Acts 13:33
v33 (continued): In this very important verse Paul tells us that in Psalm 2 David prophesied the resurrection. He quotes from verse seven in which the Messiah reports what God said to Him on that day, “You are My Son, today I have begotten you.” By identifying this verse with the resurrection, Paul explains to us that the statement about God “begetting” the Son is not intended to describe the origin of the second person of the trinity but to introduce the Messiah as the “firstborn” of a new race of resurrected human beings. Elsewhere Paul refers to Jesus as the “firstborn from the dead” (Col 1:18), and in his revelation, John also calls Jesus “the firstborn of the dead” (Rev 1:5).

Tuesday: Acts 13:33
v33 (continued): The term “firstborn,” as it is used in the Bible, generally refers to the eldest son in a Hebrew family. By virtue of seniority this person holds an honored position among his siblings, but Paul is saying that God the Father meant much more than this when He called the Messiah His “Son.” He is explaining to us that in the moment of the resurrection much more took place than simply the resuscitation of a dead body, or even the creation of a better body that wouldn’t decay. At that instant, God “conceived” an entirely new level of human existence, of which Jesus was the first. In time, the resurrection will affect every human, not just the righteous. Because of Jesus, both the righteous and the unrighteous will come out of the grave (1Co 15:22; Jn 5:28, 29; Ac 24:15). The righteous will be resurrected at the coming of the Lord (1Co 15:23), but the unrighteous will await a second resurrection which follows the thousand-year period called the Millenium or Messianic Age (Rev 20:7-15). From eternity Jesus always has been, and always will be, the begotten Son of God (Jn 1:1-18; Col 1:16, 17; Heb 1:1-5), but on the day He was resurrected, God begot, through Him, a new race of humans who by virtue of their spiritual union with Him will share in all the blessings and privileges that have been given to Him, even to the point of being called “sons of God” (Ro 8:19, 23; 1Co 3:22, 23; Gal 3:26).

Wednesday: Acts 13:34
v34: Paul’s next point concerning the resurrection was to tell his listeners that because God had raised Jesus from the dead, the “mercies of David” are available to those who believed in Him. He quoted from Isaiah 55:3 which was a familiar passage they would have recognized instantly. In that chapter of Isaiah God invites everyone to come to Him and to repent of their sins. If they do, He assures them He will give them the same undeserved grace He gave to David. The Law of Moses makes no provision for deliberate, intentional rebellion. Sins done out of weakness or by accident could be forgiven, but not sins of presumption, sins done in conscious defiance of God’s laws. No sacrifice was provided for this. The person who sinned with a “high hand” was left to helplessly wait for God’s judgment (Nu 15:30).

Thursday: Acts 13:34
v34 (continued): Yet David committed terrible sins, and did them deliberately. There was no atonement for adultery and murder, only justice. But God gave him a level of mercy deeper than anything the Law of Moses could offer. Instead of running away from God, because of his shame, David ran to Him. He openly confessed his sins, fully acknowledging the wicked motives in his heart, and then he boldly asked for mercy, telling God that he was trusting in the “lovingkindness” He had promised to give His people (Dt 7:6-10). And God gave him mercy, and in doing so He revealed that there is a level of mercy available that is deeper than anything the Law can offer. This is what Isaiah called the “mercies of David” and Paul is telling us that through Christ these mercies are available to us. Because of the cross and resurrection, there is hope for those who are enslaved to the failures of the past, those who have no excuse for the terrible things they’ve done.

Friday: Acts 13:35, 36
vs35-36: Paul’s third point concerning the resurrection was that it proves that Jesus is the One through whom God provides forgiveness of sins. He quotes from Psalm 16 in which David declared, “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither will you allow your Holy One to undergo decay” (Ps 16:10). We hear in these words David confidently declaring that God will not allow someone who is genuinely holy to remain in the grave. A completely holy person might die, but God would never allow them to undergo decay, meaning, remain dead. He will bring them back to life. David appears to consider himself to be holy enough to be included in this promise of immortality but, as Paul points out, he died and decayed in a grave, proving that the level of holiness God requires must be higher than David’s. Earlier in his sermon Paul had mentioned that God considered David to be a very good man. He had called him “a man after My heart, who will do all My will “ (v22), yet David still fell short of the standard: “For indeed, David, having by the will of God served his own generation, fell asleep and was placed among his fathers, and he saw decay” (literal).

Saturday: Acts 13:37-39
vs37-39: The fact that Jesus did not decay in the grave, but rose again in a physical, but immortal, body sets Him apart from every other human being. Yes, there are accounts in the Bible of people who skipped death and stepped across into heaven, such as Enoch (Ge 5:24) and Elijah (2Ki 2:11), but those are mysterious exceptions which lack sufficient information to make any determination of whether or not the person died in the process. Regardless, of no one but Jesus can it be said that a person actually died and was buried and came back to life, never to die again. This fact sets Him apart from all other human beings. He is the One whom God singled out for resurrection, which proves that God considered Him truly holy. Therefore, Paul says, He is the One through whom God has made forgiveness of sins available to everyone who believes. Here’s how he said it: “…but the One whom God raised did not see decay. Therefore, men, brothers, let it be known to you that through this One, forgiveness of sins is proclaimed, and by this One everyone who believes is justified from all the things from which you could not be justified in the Law of Moses” (literal).

Return to Daily Bible Studies