A Series of Answers to Common Questions

Sam Shamoun


Peter is recorded in Acts 2:36 as preaching that God "made" Jesus Lord at his ascension. Doesn’t this disprove the Trinitarian view that Jesus has always been Lord?


Here is what the text actually says in context:

"Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." Acts 2:30-36

Not only does Peter say that God made Jesus Lord but that he also made him Christ as well!

In order to understand Peter’s point we must first read his statements in light of the overall Christological teaching of Luke-Acts, since the same author who penned the book of Acts also penned Luke’s Gospel. That inspired author was Luke, a traveling companion of the Apostle Paul who had seen many of the Lord’s disciples.

Luke in the Gospel is rather explicit in his affirmation that Jesus was already God’s Son, Lord and Christ at his conception:

"And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.’" Luke 1:30-35

"And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of MY LORD should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.’" Luke 1:41-44

At his birth:

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you IS BORN THIS DAY in the city of David a Savior, who IS Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’" Luke 2:4-12

"Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes HAVE SEEN your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.’ And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.’ And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem." Luke 2:25-38

During his adolescence:

"Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.’ And he said to them, ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in MY FATHER’S HOUSE?’ And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them." Luke 2:41-50

And all throughout his earthly ministry:

"Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’" Luke 3:21-22

"Now it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, ‘Who do the people say that I am?’ And they answered, ‘John the Baptist; but others say, Eli'jah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.’ And he said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Peter answered, ‘The Christ of God.’" Luke 9:18-20

"Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli'jah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah’ -- not knowing what he said. As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. Luke 9:28-36

"The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘LORD, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I HAVE GIVEN YOU AUTHORITY to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’ In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’" Luke 10:17-22

"Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send MY SON, WHOM I LOVE; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is THE HEIR,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him." Luke 20:13-15

"Then the whole company of them arose, and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself IS Christ a king.’ And Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ And he answered him, ‘You have said so.’ Luke 23:1-3

"Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last." Luke 23:46

From the forgoing we can plainly see that Luke absolutely believed that Jesus was already God’s Son, Lord and Christ long before his resurrection and ascension into heaven.

What then did Peter mean by stating that God made Jesus Christ and Lord? In the context in which Peter made this statement it is obvious that the sense in which he believed that God "made" Jesus Lord and Christ was by providing supernatural vindication for Jesus’ claims by resurrecting him. In other words, God supernaturally confirmed Jesus’ Messianic claims by raising him from the dead, and it is in this sense that Christ was "made" Lord. This is similar to what Paul wrote in his epistle to the Romans:

"the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord," Romans 1:3-4

Jesus, according to Paul, was already God’s Son when he was born of the seed of David and then was designated God’s Son with power when the Holy Spirit raised him from the dead. The resurrection was God’s miraculous declaration to the world, his Divine stamp so to speak, that Jesus is his beloved Divine Son; the resurrection didn’t make him God’s Son in the sense of his Deity and eternal union with the Father.

Furthermore, during his earthly ministry Jesus didn’t exercise his rights as Christ and Lord, he didn’t perform the duties of one who was supposed to be the Christ of God. To be Christ and Lord meant that Jesus was God’s anointed King, the One designated to sovereignly rule over all creation:

"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." Luke 1:31-33

"You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Luke 22:28-30

"You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead…" Acts 10:36, 42

This is something Jesus did not do during his earthly ministry since he came to serve mankind by laying his life down as a ransom for many:

"For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

"And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given FOR YOU. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out FOR YOU is the new covenant in my blood.’" Luke 22:19-20

"Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son." Acts 20:28

It wouldn’t be until after he had accomplished his Divine mission that Christ would be able to exercise his Divine prerogatives and rule as King over all creation.

Putting it in another way, Peter was basically saying that although Jesus was already Christ and Lord he didn’t exercise the functions that are associated with these roles during his earthly sojourn. Jesus started to rule over the creation of God only after his ascension into heavenly glory, thereby discharging his duties as the Lord’s anointed King.

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