13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
In this section of Peter’s sermon, he answered his questions from verse 12. Jesus—not the apostles—healed the lame man.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers,
The reference to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob harks back to God’s covenant promises with Israel. The emphasis is on God’s faithfulness to keep His promises.
glorified His Servant Jesus,
Peter described Jesus here as “His Servant,” the Father’s Servant. Isaiah used the term “servant” for the Messiah (Is 42:1; 49:6-7; 52:13; 53:11). The healing of the lame man fulfilled prophecy. God glorified Himself through Jesus’ healing ministry. God of Israel’s “fathers” glorified Jesus by the Resurrection (Jn 12:23; 17:1; Acts 2:33). The lame man was healed because Jesus was glorified in it.
whom you delivered up and denied [disowned] in the presence of Pilate,
Peter charged the Jews with rejecting their Messiah at the trial of Pilate, whereby He was sentenced to execution (Isa 53:12).
when he [Pilate] was determined to let Him go.
The Jews demanded Jesus’ crucifixion when Pilate decided to release Him (Lu 23:4-22).
“But” contrasts Pilate’s decision to release Jesus with Israel’s rejection of Him.
you [emphatic] denied [disowned] the Holy One and the Just [righteous],
Jesus was the “Holy One” because the Father set Him aside to be the Savior. He was also “just” or innocent of the price He paid on the Cross. The word “holy” means set apart. God set apart Jesus as Someone special (Ps 16:10; Jn 6:69). The Lord was “just” in this passage in the sense that He did no crime.
Peter repeated the word “denied” or disowned from the previous verse, making Israel’s rejection of their Messiah emphatic. They firmly refused to embrace Christ as their Messiah, “the Holy One and the Just.”
and asked for a murderer to be granted [released] to you,
The Jews demanded that the “Holy One” be crucified while letting the murderer free. Jesus was innocent of any crime, but antithetically Israel chose Barabbas, an insurrectionist guilty of murder, for release (Lu 23:18-25).
and killed the Prince of life,
The very Person who healed the disabled man is the One whom Israel killed by hanging on the Cross. Jesus is the Prince of life, the source of life itself (Jn 10:10). Israel killed the One who represents life, but God raised Him never to die again. Paradoxically, they killed the One who gives life. The Jews killed the Author of life itself.
“Prince” can mean leader or source (Acts 5:31; He 2:10; 12:2). Life itself is found in Christ (Jn 1:4; 5:26; 11:25; 14:6; 1 Jn 5:11, 20). The Jews killed the architect of life.
whom God raised from the dead,
Although Israel condemned their Messiah to death, God had the last word by raising Him from the dead (Acts 2:24, 32; 3:16, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 37; 17:31; Ro 6:4, 9; Eph 1:20; He 13:20; 1 Pe 1:21).
of which we [Peter and John] are witnesses.
The apostles witnessed the Resurrection of Christ by talking to Him personally (1 Co 15:3-7).
Conviction comes before conversion.
It is not enough to relay the gospel to people. They must understand their need for salvation. Sermons that avoid the issue of sin are not complete; they lack the whole gospel. This inadequacy is a particular issue of the day in which we live. Our culture does not want to call attention to our violation of an absolutely holy God. We want to depict Him as a glorified human being who is always nice to people. The reason we have the kind of salvation that we do is that we have the kind of God we have, who must be consistent with His perfect holiness. It took Jesus’ death on the Cross to pay the penalty for sin and satisfy God’s holiness.