But you denied the Holy One and the Just and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. (Acts 3:14-15)
The Prince Of Life
Not long after Pentecost, Peter and James go to the Temple to pray when they find a lame man asking alms from those entering the Temple. Peter heals the man, which causes quite a commotion among the people as they rush together to them on the porch, greatly amazed. Realizing an opportunity to preach Christ, Peter delivers a brief message about the power of Christ and the impact of the lame man being healed. His sermon is pointed, direct, and accusatory against the Jews for killing some days earlier Jesus of Nazareth. Peter boldly charges his fellow Hebrews of delivering up, denying, and killing the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead. Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment of the prophets who spoke of Christ’s suffering and dying. Although the people acted in ignorance, the death of Jesus was part of the divine plan.
Peter refers to Jesus as the prince of life. A prince is someone who is a commander or captain, someone with authority. The Greek carries the thought further in suggesting Jesus as the Author of life or the originator of life. Paul would later call Jesus the author and finisher of the faith in his letter to the Hebrews. Jesus was the prince of life or author as one who has dominion over life. All rule and authority was given to Jesus following His resurrection as He Himself declared to the eleven. Life emanates from the Son of God as the author of eternal life through His blood.
It was the irony of human tragedy that men killed the source of their life. Jesus created the world and formed man from the dust of the ground. The breath of life came through the hand of the one crucified at Calvary. God was nailed to the cross by His creation. Jesus tells Pilate that it was within His power to call twelve legions of angels to destroy all of humanity. This was the power of God ruling through His Son. As the prince of life, Jesus is more than the Creator. The spiritual character of humanity was tainted by sin resulting in death, both physical and spiritual. Jesus did not come to take away physical death but to give all men hope in eternal life. As the author of salvation, Jesus offers hope through His sacrifice that all men could have life and have it more abundantly. The prince of life can give life to a sinful body through the grace of forgiveness.
Barabbas had been released at the demand of the Jewish people to fuel their hatred of Jesus and have Him killed. Peter does not shy away from the accusation of the Jews denying the Holy One, asking for a murderer to be set free. As Barabbas was released from prison scarred with the burden of sin, the Son of God died on a cross to release all men from the wrath of God. Jesus was innocent of all sin, and Barabbas represented the worst in all humanity. When the prince of life was killed, the joy of eternal life was opened for all who would believe Jesus to be the Son of God. As the author of faith, Jesus is the one who reigns at the right hand of the Father with all authority and power. No one can come to the Father but through Jesus Christ. He is the only way because He is the prince of life. The truth of God is found in the message of the author of life. Life comes from the prince of life. Jesus is the prince of life.