The Cross of Christ in Peter’s Theology -- By: Frederic R. Howe

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 157:626 (Apr 2000)
Article: The Cross of Christ in Peter’s Theology
Author: Frederic R. Howe

The Cross of Christ in Peter’s Theologya

Frederic R. Howeb

Peter mentioned the death of Christ in every chapter of 1 Peter, and he alluded to it in 2 Peter 2:1. It is well to remember also that in Peter’s messages recorded in the Book of Acts the cross of Christ is prominent (see Acts 2:23–28; 3:14–16; 5:30–32; 10:38–42).

Peter’s proclamations of the truth about Calvary include great theological depth and richness, though before Jesus’ resurrection Peter did not want to believe that the Messiah would be crucified (Matt. 16:21–22; 17:22–23). When the risen Savior opened the minds of the disciples “to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45), however, Peter and the other apostles learned the truth of the suffering Messiah. Jesus’ unfolding of the Christological significance of central Old Testament passages indelibly linked His death with the proclamation of the gospel. Luke clearly indicated that this truth is basic to the message of salvation from sin (24:45–47). What Peter had believed about the suffering Messiah was now radically changed by the very nature of the divine necessity of the Cross.1

When the Holy Spirit came in fulfillment of God’s promise, He gave further clarification to the apostles, as Peter himself declared concerning Christ in Acts 5:31–32: “He is the one whom God ex-

alted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”2

As a result of this sweeping change in Peter’s thinking, he moved far away from his position of resisting the teaching of Christ concerning His impending suffering (Matt. 16:22). Instead of his former words, “This shall never happen to you,” he now declared, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sin” (

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