Chapter 33 The Prince Of Life

Ye … killed the Prince of life (Acts 3:14, 15).

The Bible is God’s book and the Holy Spirit is the Teacher of it. The One about whom He teaches is the eternal Son—the Source and Sustenance—The Beginning and the End—of the eternal life given to those who come to believe on Him. The Lord Jesus is the Holy Spirit’s criteria—His standard—His pattern—the One whom He would make us like unto. His work is not to speak of Himself, nor that we should glory in the gifts which He bestows, but to mold and fashion us into the image of the Saviour. Everything is ordered to that!

In the background of the text there is the story of the healing of a crippled man. The man could do nothing for himself, hence he was reduced to beggary and utter destitution. But the word spoken by Peter and John was with power to heal, and healing brought a complete change to his lifestyle. When a crowd gathered they would have made much of the apostles, but Peter at once directed their eyes away from themselves to the Lord who alone should receive glory.

The Title Given Our Lord

“The Prince of life.” One of the ways in which the Holy Spirit glorifies God’s beloved Son is in the names and titles He has given Him. There may be at least three hundred of such, and it takes a very great person to carry so many names and titles, especially when such reflect a person’s life and character. These names and titles are the highest in the universe of God and are all reflections of what God is.

In this particular instance, Peter describes the Lord Jesus as “The Prince of life.” Such a title is not to be thought of as, for instance, “the prince of Wales.” The word “Prince” here is also translated Author or Captain. The best translation is Pioneer. What a revelation it must have been to the Jewish mind when Peter flung down the challenge and devastating indictment—“Ye … killed the Prince (Pioneer) of life.” It meant they had killed the only One who could lead them into the realm of eternal life. That is why Jewry has lost its way since the day they crucified Him. How can anyone find their way through a trackless desert—which this world is—if they kill the only One who knows the way and can lead them through it?

The Issue Facing Us

The Lord Jesus is the Pioneer of life—that is, the life of the ages. Our whole eternal well-being both here and beyond the grave is determined by whether or not we have this life of His. Our own human life is corrupt because of sin. The very act of God in driving the first sinful man from any approach to the tree of life, which was a symbol of Christ, shows that we cannot attain to that life on the ground of what we are by nature. A flaming sword is set against us (Genesis 3:24).

It was for this reason that God, in matchless and astonishing love, sent forth His beloved Son that we might have that life communicated to us through faith in Him. “I am come that they might have life” He said (John 10:10). He came to give it because we did not have it. But “in Him is life” (John 1:4). “This life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath (the) life” (1 John 5:11, 12). “These [things] are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through His name” (John 20:31).

The Hope of Recovery

The Lord Jesus is ever the Pioneer of life. He ever was that, but His resurrection from the dead and His triumph over all the hierarchy of hell has made Him the Pioneer of Life in a new way to us. He has now pioneered the way, not through life only, but through death also. As the Pioneer He is now leading many sons to glory, and all who are following are those who have been saved by His wonderful grace.

Think of the crippled man in the story here given. Through faith in the name of the Lord Jesus He was put on his feet again—a miracle of recovery. He stood on his feet praising and blessing God. That is a parabolic picture of the new life in Christ which is given to heal our crippled souls. And “whosoever believeth” is given that life (John 3:15, 16). Any person who believes—the rich or poor man—the young or the old—the learned or unlearned—all who believe of whatsoever race or condition, have communicated to their souls the eternal life which is in the Son of God. At the Table of the Lord we who believe gather to remember what it cost our great Pioneer to make that possible, and to praise and thank Him for making a way for us through life and death to the Land of light and glory above.

Sweet the moments rich in blessing,
Which before the cross I spend,
Life and health, and peace possessing
From the sinner’s dying Friend.

Here I rest in wonder viewing,
All my sins on Jesus laid,
And a full redemption flowing
From the sacrifice He made.

Here I find my hope of heaven,
While upon the Lamb I gaze;
Loving much, and much forgiven,
Let my heart o’erflow with praise.

Lord, in ceaseless contemplation
Fix my thankful heart on Thee!
Till I taste Thy full salvation,
And Thine unveiled glory see.

—William W. Shirley