I have worn glasses since I was two-and-a-half years old. They correct my nearsightedness and help me see things at a distance.
Biblical prophecy is like glasses. In Acts 2:25-36, Peter quotes or alludes to three psalms that speak about the Messiah. These prophetic lenses help us see Jesus clearly. Here’s what Peter said:
David said about [Jesus]:
I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will live in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence [Ps. 16:8-11].
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 [Ps. 132:11]. 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. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet” [Ps. 110:1].
Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
First-century Jews believed that David was a prophet who wrote psalms under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They interpreted his songs as vehicles for telling the truth about God, his plan, and the Messiah who would bring that plan to fruition.
For Peter, Jesus was that Messiah. Psalm 16:8-11 is a song of hope, in which David expresses confidence that God will not abandon him to the grave. But as Peter pointed out, it did not apply to David himself, whose tomb was in Jerusalem. Rather, it applied to Jesus, David’s descendant and heir, whom God raised from the dead. Peter and others were “witnesses of the fact.”
Psalm 132:11 speaks of the “oath” God “promised” to David to “place one of his descendants on his throne.” While Jesus did not ascend to an earthly throne, he did ascend to a heavenly one at God’s right hand (Ps. 110:1) and ruled from there. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the first of his kingly acts.
When we see Jesus through the lens of these three psalms, we see a God who makes and keeps his promises in spite of human opposition. The crucified Jesus is “both Lord and Christ”—David’s and ours.