"IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE"
Please turn in your Bible to Acts 2.24.
As you are making your way to that verse I will establish the
setting in which this verse is found.
The day of Pentecost is the second of the three great Jewish
national festivals, and is observed on the 50th day, or 7 weeks, after
the Passover Feast. In the
Old Testament it is called “the feast of weeks.”
The requirements of the three great Jewish festivals were well
understood in Jesus’ day, and their authority was founded in the
Mosaic Law and unquestioned by the people.
The Pentecost festival and its rituals were minutely described in
Every male in
The central feature of the day was the presentation of two loaves
of leavened, salted bread to the LORD, with additional sacrifices
required. It was supposed
to be a festival of good cheer, a day of joy.
Freewill offerings were to be made to the LORD, marked by a
liberal spirit toward Levites, toward strangers, and orphans and widows.
Contemporary Jewish practice is now to commemorate the giving of
the Law to Moses on
Imagine, then, thousands of Jewish men streaming out of the
immediate vicinity of multiplied thousands of observant Jewish
men, come to Jerusalem to express their gratitude to God, with that
dreadful crucifixion only seven weeks ago still in the back of their
But this frightful noise, that seemed to attract everyone’s
attention to a group of men sitting off to the side, and then the cloven
tongues as of fire that sat on them.
What must the multitudes of Jewish men have thought?
But before they could make up their minds what they thought the
small group of individuals stood and began to speak in foreign
languages, which served to attract yet an even larger crowd of
“And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another,
Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were
born? Parthians, and Medes,
and Elamites, and the dwellers in
Of course, some mocked, as some always do.
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his
voice,” and began to preach the sermon that God would use to ignite
the fires of revival that would eventually spread the Gospel message
throughout the known world, and over much of the world not at that time
And what, pray tell, did Simon Peter preach to those thousands of
“thankful” Jewish worshipers? Though
we can be quite sure Peter’s entire sermon is not recorded here in
Acts chapter 2, enough of it is preserved that we have the essence and
the meat of what he preached on that day so long ago.
So, though my text for this evening is Acts 2.24, let me quickly
review what is found in verses 14-36.
There is Joel’s prophecy concerning the day of the LORD.
There is the deliverance of Jesus by the determinate counsel and
foreknowledge of God. There
is the accusation to those men that Jesus was taken by them and slain by
wicked hands, pointing to the complicity in His crucifixion of both the
Jews and the Romans. There
is the fact that Christ was raised up by God until He made Christ’s
enemies His footstool, a warning if there ever was one.
And then there is the declaration by Peter that God has made this
crucified One both the Lord and Christ over the house of
Each of these topics was, no doubt, troubling to the consciences
of those who had gathered for the Pentecostal feast.
No wonder they were pricked in their heart by the truth and
asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
But let us focus our collective attention on verse 24:
“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death:
because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
Pointing out that God raised up Jesus just as surely as God
delivered Him to be crucified, and that the pains of death were thereby
loosed, the particular phrase that captures my interest is this one:
“because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
Think of it! Jesus
was raised from the dead, made physically alive again after being
physically dead for three days, because it was not possible that He
should be held by death! But
why was it not possible?
MY FRIEND, IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF MY SAVIOR’S POWER
How can anything contain and restrain the omnipotent God?
Remember, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. The
same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing
made that was made.” John
Also remember, “For by him were all things created, that are in
heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they
be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all
things were created by him, and for him, And he is before all things,
and by him all things consist.” Colossians
1.16-17. As well, “in him
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
Jesus is the One Who threw the stars into the
sky. How could death hold a
grip on One So powerful as Him?
IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE, AS WELL, BECAUSE OF MY SAVIOR’S POSITION
In Psalm 2.6 we read that God has set His King on His holy hill
other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the king of the Jews!
And He is not yet set on God’s holy hill of Zion, in
fulfillment of that prophecy. That
remains to be done. Therefore,
because of His position it was not possible that death should hold Him.
You see, nothing can defeat or thwart the plan and purpose of
almighty God. “Lift up
your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the
King of glory shall come in. Who
is this King of glory?
strong and mighty, the LORD
mighty in battle. Lift up
your heads, O ye gates; even lift them
up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The
LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory.
It is Christ’s position, determined in the council chambers of
heaven before the beginning of time, to reign and to rule.
And that cannot happen if death maintains a hold on Him.
Therefore, it is not possible that death should hold Him, because
Christ will sit on the throne of His father David in the millennial
kingdom and reign in regal majesty.
IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE, THIRDLY, BECAUSE OF HIS PREEMINENCE
Colossians 1.18 declares that He “is the beginning, the
firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the
preeminence.” But how can
He be preeminent, thereby fulfilling the will of God The Father, if He
is not the firstborn from the dead?
I tell you, on the authority of God’s holy and innerrant Word,
that not only must Jesus be risen
from the dead because of His preeminence, but I also declare unto you
that for the very same reason many must follow Him in the resurrection.
It is unreasonable that Jesus not have the preeminence the Father
wants for Him. It is
unimaginable that Jesus not have the preeminence the Father wants for
Him. And it ts
unconscionable that Jesus not have the preeminence the Father wants for
Him. Therefore, He not only
will have the preeminence, He presently does have the preeminence.
IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE, FOURTH, BECAUSE OF HIS PROMISE
Did not Jesus tell His disciples “Let not your heart be
troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I
would have told you. I go
to prepare a place for you. And
if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you
unto myself; that where I am, there
ye may be also.” John
Yet, Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life,” the
exclusive avenue by which the Father is approached by sinners, John
14.6. Therefore, how can He
lie? How can He not tell
the truth? And is He not
God, the Son? Yet Titus 1.2
declares, “God, that cannot lie . . . .”
It was not possible for death to hold Jesus because of His power
(He is omnipotent), because of His position (He as king must rule and
reign), because of His preeminence (how can one be preeminent who
remains dead?), and because of His promise (He said He would come again,
and He will).
FIFTH, IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF GOD’S PROPHECY
My friends, God is on the throne.
Amen? We worship a
God Who is sovereign over all. Amen?
Therefore, we take great comfort in such pronouncements as is
found in Ephesians 1.11, where it is declared that God “worketh all
things after the counsel of his own will.”
In other words, God does what He has decided He will
do. And things
happen as they are determined in the council chambers in heaven.
That being so, listen to what Psalm 16.10 reveals to us about the
counsel of God’s Own will: “for
thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine holy
one to see corruption.” And
then there is David’s prophetic pronouncement in Psalm 110.1:
said unto my lord, sit thou at my right hand, until i make thine enemies
So, prophetic utterances, given 1000 years before the event,
predicted that the Lord Jesus Christ
would be raised from the dead, so that the body of God’s Son
would not see corruption, and so that God’s Son could ascend into
heaven to sit at His right hand. Both
reasons making it impossible for God’s Word to be true unless Jesus
was raised from the dead.
So, we have 5 wonderful reasons why it was not possible for death
to maintain a grip on Jesus, 5 glorious explanations why He must needs
rise up, victorious over sin, death, Hell and the grave.
And good reasons they are. Amen?
But there is one final reason why Jesus had to rise up.
One final reason why He could not remain in the grave.
IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF HIS GLORIOUS PERSON
Why could not Jesus remain dead?
Because He is the one who blew into Adam’s nostrils the breath
of life, whereby he became a living soul.
He was the ark that bore up Noah and his family on the flood
waters and who bore the infant Moses on the waters of the
My Lord Jesus, Who walked with Adam in the cool of the evening in
the garden of Eden, Who wrestled with Jacob at Peniel and named him
How fitting is it for One who is best described as the lily of
the valley, the bright and morning star, the fairest of ten thousand to
my soul, to stay in the tomb? How
can His banner over me be love, when He is dead?
How can He bid me to rise up my love and come away, if He had not
risen up Himself?
How can He be the chiefest among ten thousand?
How can His cheeks be as beds of spices and His legs be as
pillars of marble, if His flesh is rotted and decayed?
How can I be my Beloved’s and how can His desire be toward me,
if He is not risen from the dead in power and great glory?
No, it is not possible for my Savior to be holden by death.
You see, nothing makes sense if my Savior is not at His
Father’s right hand. If
He be not risen we are of all men most miserable.
If He is not reigning on high then He cannot come again,
conquering and to conquer, as He promised.
And if He is not risen from the dead He is not who He is.
Therefore, truly did Peter declare, properly did He pronounce on
that Pentecost so very long ago, that God hath raised Him up, “having
loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be
holden of it.”
Rejoice, Christian, your Savior and husband is coming again for
Repent, sinner, because when the Savior Who is risen comes for us
it will be a prelude to His return seven years later to come with us.
And when He comes with us it will not be to save, but to judge.
And do you think that He, Who cannot be held by death, will be
kept from judging sinners most severely?
May God bless you.
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