International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday March 16, 2014
Purpose: To understand how David’s words reached their fullest expression in Jesus’ death and resurrection
Bible Lesson: Acts 2:22-36
Background Scripture Psalm 110
Key Verse: Acts 2:31
David spoke about the resurrection of Christ.
Psalm 110:1-4 (CEB)
(1)What the Lord says to my master:
"Sit right beside me
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet!"
(2)May the Lord make your mighty scepter
reach far from Zion!
Rule over your enemies!
(3)Your people stand ready
on your day of battle.
"In holy grandeur, from the dawn’s womb, fight!
Your youthful strength is like the dew itself."
(4)The Lord has sworn a solemn pledge and won’t change his mind:
"You are a priest forever in line with Melchizedek."
Acts 2:22-24, 29-32 (CEB)
(22) “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a man whose credentials God proved to you through miracles, wonders, and signs, which God performed through him among you. You yourselves know this. (23) In accordance with God’s established plan and foreknowledge, he was betrayed. You, with the help of wicked men, had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. (24) God raised him up! God freed him from death’s dreadful grip, since it was impossible for death to hang on to him…...
Acts 2:29-32 (CEB)
(29) “Brothers and sisters, I can speak confidently about the patriarch David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this very day. (30) Because he was a prophet, he knew that God promised him with a solemn pledge to seat one of his descendants on his throne. (31) Having seen this beforehand, David spoke about the resurrection of Christ, that he wasn’t abandoned to the grave, nor did his body experience decay.(32) This Jesus, God raised up. We are all witnesses to that fact.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Sometimes it is easy for us to forget that the entire bible is about the coming Messiah. From Genesis 3:15 to the very end of the Book of Revelation. Gen. 3:15 reads “I will put contempt between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. They will strike your head, but you will strike at their heels.", and Rev. 22:20 states “The one who bears witness to these things says, "Yes, I’m coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
The other point that our text makes is that there were opportunities outside of Abraham and his descendants for a righteous leader to flourish as a priest and follower of the great I Am. An order of priests that preceded the lineage of Aaron and may have been along the line of Moses father-in-law who was a Midianite priest, Melchizedek was the priest of Jerusalem, (originally called Salem). Melchizedek (Gen.14:18-20 and Hebrews 6:13-7:28) worshipped the one true God, and Abraham tithed 10% to him out of respect, but he was not a Jew, some speculate he could have been a close descendant of Noah such as his son Seth, in the bible timetable Seth could have been alive at the time of Abraham. Shem lived 502 years after the flood. If you use the dates provided in the text, Shem died in 1846 B.C. Abraham was born in 1996 B.C. so there was 150 years where both men were alive on earth. By this timetable Shem died about 25 years before Abraham died. Scripturally they could have coexisted.
The point our lesson makes is that Jesus the Christ is a priest in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron. Priest in the order of Aaron were priest by their lineage, priest in the order of Melchizedek were priest because of their righteousness. The lineage of Christ went back to Judah, not to Levy. Moses and Aaron came from the lineage of Levy.
Peter uses all of this information to make the case that Jesus is both King and Priest. A descendant of David who earned the right to be a priest because of his righteousness. Peter’s passionate plea to those gathered in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost, should have made perfect sense to those that had studied the Old Testament prophecies. Peter’s arguments were in addition to those that had been eyewitnesses to Jesus both before and after his resurrection. Our great King David is dead, but Jesus is not dead and sits at the right hand of God and rules from the throne, with God.
Everything we need to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, is provided for us in prophecy, witness and works. Two thousand years later the story rings true. Our calling is the same as Peter’s to proclaim and explain how all of the bible’s prophecies are fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Nazarene.