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Acts 2:23 & meaning...


being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed.

Acts 2:23


Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days,

    I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy.

I will show wonders in the sky above,

    and signs on the earth beneath;

    blood, and fire, and billows of smoke.

The sun will be turned into darkness,

    and the moon into blood,

    before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.

    It will be that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[b]

Acts 2 [22.] “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him among you, even as you yourselves know, him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it. 

Acts 2 [25.] For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before my face,

    For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.

Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced.


  • Divine Sovereignty:

Definite Plan and Foreknowledge: The opening phrase acknowledges the divine sovereignty that underlies the events surrounding Jesus' crucifixion. It suggests a meticulous plan and foreknowledge on God's part, highlighting the orchestrated nature of Jesus' sacrifice as an integral part of God's overarching purpose.

God's Sovereign Control: The acknowledgment of God's definite plan emphasizes His sovereign control over human history. It challenges the perception of Jesus' death as a mere consequence of historical events, positioning it as a divinely ordained and purposeful act.

  • Human Responsibility:

You Crucified and Killed: The subsequent statement confronts the human responsibility in the crucifixion of Jesus. While acknowledging God's sovereignty, the verse does not absolve individuals of their culpability. The conjunction "and" serves as a poignant conjunction, connecting divine providence with human action.

Lawless Men: The reference to "lawless men" underscores the moral culpability of those involved in the crucifixion. It points to the violation of divine and moral law, emphasizing the gravity of the actions that led to Jesus' death.

  • Theological Significance:

Redemptive Atonement: Acts 2:23 lays the theological foundation for understanding Jesus' death as a redemptive atonement. The conjunction of divine sovereignty and human responsibility highlights the dual nature of this profound event—a divine plan unfolding within the context of human choices.

Sacrificial Love: The verse sets the stage for the Christian understanding of Jesus' sacrifice as an expression of sacrificial love. It reveals a God who, in His foreknowledge and plan, willingly allows His Son to undergo the anguish of crucifixion for the ultimate purpose of redemption.

Practical Application:

Understanding Divine Providence: Acts 2:23 encourages believers to grapple with the tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. It prompts reflection on how God's definite plan coexists with individual choices, fostering a deeper understanding of God's providential workings.

Appreciating the Cost of Redemption: The verse invites believers to appreciate the cost of their redemption. By acknowledging the crucifixion as part of God's plan, it emphasizes the intentional and sacrificial nature of Jesus' death, prompting gratitude and awe.


Isaiah 53:10: "Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." This Old Testament prophecy aligns with Acts 2:23, emphasizing the redemptive purpose behind the suffering and death of the Messiah.

John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 complements Acts 2:23 by providing the motive behind God's plan—the sacrificial love that drove the redemptive act.

In conclusion, Acts 2:23 encapsulates a profound theological perspective on the crucifixion of Jesus. It navigates the complex interplay between divine sovereignty and human responsibility, illuminating the redemptive significance of this pivotal event in Christian history.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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