Do you have trouble connecting the Old Testament to the New Testament? I know it can seem difficult, but sometimes the apostles help us out. In Acts Chapter 2, just after the apostles received the Holy Spirit and began testifying about Jesus, Peter connected several Old Testament prophecies with New Testament fulfillment in Jesus. When the people heard Peter’s explanation, they were moved into action and asked, “what should we do next?” Check it out!
First, read Psalm 16:8-11 (NASB):
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
You will not allow Your [j]Holy One to undergo decay.
11 You will make known to me the way of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Next, read Acts 2:22–36 out loud, like you’re speaking to a large crowd (I dare you!):
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a Man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and [w]signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of [godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him from the dead, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 For David says of Him,
‘I saw the Lord continually before me,
Because He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue was overjoyed;
Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;
27 For You will not abandon my soul to Hades,
Nor will You [ab]allow Your [ac]Holy One to [ad]undergo decay.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 So because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 It is this Jesus whom God raised up, a fact to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore, since He has been exalted at the right hand of God, and has received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Did you catch that Peter proclaimed that this passage was written by David, it was not about David? Rather, the words above were referring to Jesus. Peter explained that David died, was buried, and did not rise again – his body subject to decay in his tomb to that very day. Peter reminded the people that David was a prophet and knew that God had promised one of David’s descendants would sit on the throne.
As David wrote Psalm 16, he was looking ahead to the resurrection. Jesus would take the penalty for sin, but He would not be abandoned to hell. The Messiah’s body would never suffer decay. God made known to David the path of life: Jesus. With Jesus, the presence of God is possible and the fullness of joy exists. With Jesus at the right hand of the Father, pleasures will exist through all of eternity, forevermore.
Peter boldly proclaimed this prophecy fulfilled, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses,” and thus, Jesus would never be abandoned to hell or suffer decay in the grave (Acts 2:32).
The people “were pierced to the heart” and asked Peter what to do next. Peter said, “Repent, each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37–38).
Don’t miss what Peter said next ~ it’s the best news: “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself” (Acts 2:39).
No wonder the people who were listening lined up by the thousands to get baptized!
Have you been baptized? Have you taken this step of obedience and made a public declaration of your faith in Jesus? As someone said to me just before I walked into the water, “it’s the best decision you’ll ever make!”
For more help connecting the Old Testament to the New Testament, check out my next Bible Study, Predicting Jesus: A Six-Week Study of the Messianic Prophecies in Isaiah. You can join the launch team soon. Subscribe to my blog for some free downloads, insider information, and get the details first!