MAY 27 – PRIMARY MEANING OF PENTECOST: CHRIST IS EXALTED

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both LORD and Christ.

ACTS 2:36

When you give yourself to prayerful study of the opening chapters of the book of Acts, you will discover a truth that is often overlooked—the thought that wherever Jesus is glorified, the Holy Spirit comes!

Contrary to what most people unintentionally assume, the important thing was that Jesus had been exalted. The emphasis upon the coming of the Spirit was possible because Christ’s work was accomplished and He was glorified at the Father’s right hand.

Jesus Himself had said on that last great day of the feast in Jerusalem, recorded in John 7: “He that believeth on me, as the scriptures hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

It is plain that the glorification of Jesus brought the Holy Spirit, and we ought to be able to get hold of that thought instantly. So, we repeat: Where Jesus is glorified, the Holy Spirit comes. He does not have to be begged. When Christ the Saviour is truly honored and exalted, the Spirit comes!

On the day of Pentecost, when the scoffers and scorners said “These men are full of new wine,” Peter stood and exalted Jesus of Nazareth and reminded Israel “that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When Christ is truly honored, the Spirit comes![1]


2:36 Now, once again, the announcement comes crashing down upon the Jewish people. GOD HAS MADE BOTH LORD AND CHRIST—THIS JESUS WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED (Gk. word order). As Bengel said, “The sting of the speech is put at the end”—THIS JESUS, whom you crucified. They had crucified God’s Anointed One, and the coming of the Holy Spirit was evidence that Jesus had been exalted in heaven (see John 7:39).[2]


36. “Therefore let all the house of Israel assuredly know that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Here is the conclusion of Peter’s sermon. Peter utters an admonition that he directs to every member who belongs to the house of Israel and tells him that Jesus is both Lord and Christ.

Observe these points:

  1. All Israel. In this conclusion, Peter appeals to all the people who claim to be Israelites. He does so because the nation Israel considered itself the people of God. Repeatedly God had told the descendants of Abraham, “I will be [your] God, and [you] will be my people” (Jer. 31:33). Also, when Jesus sent the disciples on their first missionary journey, he instructed them not to go to the Gentiles: “Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6). Christ addresses his gospel first to the Jews, then to the Samaritans (Acts 8:4–25), and last to the Gentiles (Acts 10:24–48). On the day of Pentecost the Jewish audience must have full assurance of the truth of the gospel.
  2. God. What is the content of this truth? Peter says, “God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Throughout his sermon, Peter makes God the principal speaker and doer (vv. 17, 22–24, 30, 32, 36). At the conclusion, he shifts attention to the deity of Jesus Christ, whom he places on the same level as God. He does this with full awareness of the monotheistic creed of the Jewish people: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4, NIV). Peter teaches the deity of Jesus Christ and thus places Jesus next to God. He notes that although the Jewish people crucified Jesus (v. 23), God has made Jesus Lord and Christ. When Peter states that God made Jesus Lord and Christ, he does not convey the interpretation that God exalted Jesus after his death on the cross. To the contrary, the New Testament alludes to Jesus’ exaltation even before he suffered on Calvary’s cross. Of course, the titles Lord and Christ are used after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, when the apostles become conscious of the meaning of these redemptive events.
  3. Lord and Christ. Here is the point. During his earthly ministry, Jesus never referred to himself as the Christ. Only at his trial did Jesus affirmatively answer the high priest’s question concerning his messiahship (Mark 14:61–62). Yet in the first recorded sermon of one of Jesus’ apostles, Peter calls Jesus Lord and Christ. Whereas in the Old Testament Scriptures the term Lord denotes God, in the New Testament writings Jesus’ followers call Jesus both Lord and Christ. Did the early Christian community originate these terms and ascribe them to Jesus? Hardly. Notice that the angel who proclaims Jesus’ birth tells the shepherds in Bethlehem’s field that “[Jesus] is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). The words of Peter clearly state that God, not the Christian church, made Jesus both Lord and Christ. That is, in consequence of Jesus’ death and resurrection, God declares that Jesus is indeed the Christ, who is the sovereign Lord (compare Rom. 1:4).

Doctrinal Considerations in 2:36

In this verse, the two titles Lord and Christ are significant. The verse indicates that God himself gave these titles to Jesus. The title Lord, then, belongs to Jesus instead of God the Father, for the writers of the New Testament declare that every knee must bow before him and every tongue confess that he is King of kings and Lord of lords (see Phil. 2:9–11; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). Also, before ascending to heaven, Jesus revealed his royal status when he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18).

In his sermon, Peter speaks about Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Jews had crucified. He mentions historical events that are well known to his audience and thus he links the names Jesus and Christ (v. 31). Peter writes emphatically “this Jesus” (vv. 32, 36), who is exalted to the position of highest honor. Jesus is seated next to God the Father (v. 33), for he is the Christ, the Son of God.[3]


36 With the proclamation of Jesus as Lord and Messiah, Peter reaches the climax and conclusion of his sermon. His initial “therefore” highlights the fact that God’s resurrection and exaltation of Jesus accredits him as humanity’s Lord and Israel’s Messiah. So Peter calls on “all Israel” (lit., “all the house [oikos, GK 3875] of Israel”) to know with certainty that “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

In certain quarters it has become commonplace to assert that the church did not proclaim Jesus as Lord and Christ until after the resurrection—or, as many prefer to express it, until after the rise within the church of “the Easter faith.” The implication is that only later were such names as “Lord” and “Christ” attached to Jesus’ memory, but Jesus himself did not think along these lines. And this verse is often cited in support of such a view. But it is more in line with the evidence to say that Jesus was acknowledged and proclaimed Lord and Christ not just after his resurrection but also because of his resurrection.

In Jewish thought, no one had the right to the title Messiah until he accomplished the work of the Messiah—in fact, in all of life, accomplishment must precede acclamation. During his earthly ministry, as portrayed in all the Gospels, Jesus was distinctly reluctant to accept such titular acclaim. This was probably because (1) his understanding of messiahship had to do with suffering, and (2) his concept of lordship had to do with vindication and exaltation by God. But now that Jesus had accomplished his messianic mission, was raised by God, and has been exalted “at his right hand,” the titles Lord and Christ are legitimately his. And these themes of function and accomplishment as being the basis for any titular acclaim are recurring features in the christological statements found elsewhere in the NT (cf. Ro 1:4; Php 2:9–11; Heb 2:14; 1 Jn 5:6).

The verb epoiēsen (GK 4472, “he made”) has sometimes been taken as implying an adoptionist Christology, as though Jesus became ontologically what he was not before. But in functional contexts epoiēsen has the sense of “appointed” (cf. 1 Sa 12:6 [LXX]; 1 Ki 12:31 [LXX]; Mk 3:14; Heb 3:2), and it is in just such a context that it is used here. Peter is not proclaiming an adoptionist Christology. Rather, he is proclaiming a functional Christology with ontological overtones. It is a functional Christology that emphasizes two vitally important points: (1) that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is God’s open declaration that the messianic work has been accomplished and that Jesus now has the full right to assume the messianic title, and (2) that the exaltation of Jesus is the proclamation of his lordship, which God calls all to acknowledge.

In the twelve instances in Acts where “Christ” appears singly (2:31, 36; 3:18; 4:26; 8:5; 9:22; 17:3a; 26:23; also 3:20; 5:42; 18:5, 28, where “Christ” is in apposition to “Jesus” but still appears singly), it is used as a title (usually articular in form, except here and at 3:20) but not as a name. And in every instance where it appears as a title, it is in an address to a Jewish audience. (Only 8:5 and 26:23 are possible exceptions, though both the Samaritans and Agrippa II possessed something of a Jewish background and understanding.) Even where the combination “Jesus Christ” or “Christ Jesus” appears, the original appellative idea is still reflected in the usage. Apparently, therefore, the messiahship of Jesus was the distinctive feature of the church’s witness within Jewish circles, since Jesus’ messiahship signifies his fulfillment of Israel’s hopes and his culmination of God’s redemptive purposes.

The title “Lord” was also proclaimed christologically in Jewish circles, with evident intent to apply to Jesus all that was said of God in the OT (cf. the christological use of Isa 45:23 in Php 2:10). But “Lord” came to have particular relevance to the church’s witness to Gentiles, just as “Messiah” was more relevant to the Jewish world. So Luke in Acts reports the proclamation of Jesus “the Christ” to Jewish audiences, both in Palestine and among the Diaspora, whereas Paul in his letters to Gentile churches generally uses “Christ” as a proper name and proclaims Christ Jesus “the Lord.”[4]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1586). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 101–103). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] Longenecker, R. N. (2007). Acts. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 746–747). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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One thought on “MAY 27 – PRIMARY MEANING OF PENTECOST: CHRIST IS EXALTED

  1. Pingback: MAY 27 – PRIMARY MEANING OF PENTECOST: CHRIST IS EXALTED — Truth2Freedom’s Blog | Unchain the tree

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