Excerpt from John Piper's sermon
Did You Kill the Lord of Glory?
By John Piper November 11, 1990
Remember that he (Peter) is talking to several thousand Jewish people in Jerusalem (3,000 are going to be converted, v. 41!). Many of these people had nothing directly to do with the death of Jesus. Even if many of them were among the mobs that shouted, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" you know that in a crowd this large there were a good number who did not do that—they weren't even there on that day. But Peter doesn't seem to be worried about that. In verse 23 he says, "This Jesus YOU killed by the hands of lawless men." And at the end, in verse 36, he says, "This Jesus YOU crucified." How can he say that?
He can say it because everybody in that crowd was involved in the crime against Jesus that brought him to his death. The essence of the crime against Jesus was not the ending of his physical life. The essence of the crime against Jesus was the rejection of God in Jesus' life. Think with me carefully about this. It is tremendously important and has major implications for us today...
So what I am asking you this morning is not: "Were you bodily there on Good Friday voting against Jesus and sending him to his death?" I'm asking, "Do you join God in his affirmation of Jesus, or do you stand against God in the life of Jesus? Do you agree with God about Jesus? Or do you reject his endorsement of Jesus?"
... These are religious people that Peter is talking to. They are moral people. They are worshiping people. They are people who know hundreds of verses in God's Word by heart. And he is telling them that their minds are totally at odds with God. They claim to know God. They claim to love God and worship God and follow God. And Peter says that they are diametrically opposed to God. They are anti-God.
The test of whether we are anti-God or not is not whether we say we believe in God, or whether we say we know God, or love God, or serve God. The test is whether we embrace God's endorsement of Jesus. If we say we know God but reject God's endorsement of Jesus as the worker of miracles; if we say that we know God but reject God's endorsement of Jesus as the predestined Passover sacrifice that takes away sin; if we say we know God and reject God's endorsement of Jesus by raising him from the dead, then we don't really know God. In fact we are against God. We are anti-God...
This is what cut Peter's hearers to the heart. They saw that in their zeal for "God" they had been against God. This is so utterly important for us today. Because in our live-and-let-live pluralistic society hardly anyone would dare say to another person, "You claim to know God, but in fact you are anti-God; you are against God." Why? Because you do not embrace God's endorsement of Jesus. Jesus is the test of all true knowledge of God. Are we with God in his endorsement of Jesus by raising him from the dead, or are we against God?