Part 9 – The proof his victory is real
Thanks to Peter, we can now see the connection between the Kingdom and the Cross, because it was Christ’s death forgiving the sins of Israel that launched God’s Kingdom. And thanks to Peter again, in Acts 3:26, he made it clear where it all began: “When God raised up his Servant, he sent him first to you (Jews) to bless you by turning each of you from YOUR wicked ways.” God’s Kingdom had been launched afresh in Israel because God had dealt with THEIR sins first.
And how had God dealt with Israel’s sins? Through Christ toppling the dark forces that had caused Israel to sin in the first place.
And how did he do that? Three things won the battle for Jesus: First off, as Israel’s representative, he did what Israel didn’t do – he stayed utterly loyal to God and never strayed from his purpose. Secondly, he took the death that Israel had brought on itself from chasing other gods, on himself. And thirdly, by his death the sins of Israel were forgiven. All three dealt a deathblow on the evil forces, but the third one especially, forgiveness, because forgiveness destroys evil’s power.
Evil has no power where there is forgiveness. If you’ve done something horribly wrong to me, for instance, but I forgive you, the power of evil to make me bitter and angry at what you’ve done is broken. That’s the power of forgiveness, and through Jesus’ death forgiving Israel’s sin, the power of evil over Israel was broken too, freeing them up to fulfill their calling again. And they got off to a great start too, because thousands of Jews responded to Peter’s message, launching the Kingdom of God in the Church, that reached out next to the Gentiles, just as God promised to Abraham.
It was a great victory that now includes us Gentiles in it, because all nations would be blessed through Israel after Israel’s sins were forgiven. And it’s the same blessing for us as it was for Israel, that through Christ’s death our sins are forgiven too. And for the same purpose, to free us up from the dark forces so we can live the ways of God’s Kingdom that Jesus launched at his death, and by doing so prove in our own lives that his victory was real.
(Coming up next – Did Jesus really come back from the dead?)