This passage reveals to the modern reader the thoughts and attitudes of the early church leaders and represents much of the preaching in the first and second century:
1. It insists that the cross was no accident. It belonged to the eternal plan of God. We must remind ourselves that the cross was no emergency plan B when all else had failed and the cross should not lead us to conclude that Jesus successfully altered His Father's attitude to men and women. As John 3 v 16 proclaims: 'For God so loved the world that He sent His Only Son so that all who believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life.'
2. The plans of God do not abrogate the responsibilities of men and women. The actions of those who betrayed Jesus-Judas Iscariot and the mob who bayed for His crucifixion-were horrific and demonstrated how sin loves to destroy pure things. The thought that human beings can send an innocent person to such a horrific death should fill us with horror.
3. The book of Acts sets out to prove that the sufferings and death of Jesus were the fulfillment of prophecy. Peter is preaching only a couple of months after Jesus had been crucified, yet we see an already formed theology: Jesus as the Son of God, not a son of a god; the crucifixion of Jesus fulfilling God's rescue plans for humanity; the marrying up of prophetic passages in the Old Testament with the actual events.
4. The resurrection is the final proof that Jesus was indeed God's chosen one and, more than that, perfect and divine. The disciples preached the centrality of the resurrection because that event changed everything for them-hopelessness to jubilant joy, smashed dreams to new hope, cowards transforming into heroes.
We live and walk with the Risen Lord!