Peter and Paul and Psalm 16

Psalm 16 is quoted in two Sermons in Acts.

Psalm 16 is appointed for this Sunday the 25th week after Pentecost.  We are a long way from Easter, but the apostles Peter and Paul quoted from Psalm 16 in preaching concerning Christ’s resurrection.

Peter’s Pentecost sermon is included in Acts 2.  “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”  He then refers to this Psalm of David verses 8-11.  Perhaps quoting from the Greek translation of psalm 16: 10, Peter quotes David, “For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.”

St. Paul includes the psalm in a sermon preached at the synagogue in Antioch.  Acts 13:15, “You will not let your Holy One experience corruption.”

As commentator James Limburg of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. writes, “These early believers were convinced that the promises found in the Old Testament were being fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  And when they had experienced the resurrection, they thought of Psalm 16.”

Then last verse of the psalm also found its way into the early church.  “’You show me the path of life.’  The earliest believers referred to themselves as a movement, not an institution.  They used the image of being followers of the ‘The Way.’  Of course Jesus had already used that image in a conversation with Thomas before his cross and resurrection.  Thomas asked, ‘How can we know the way?’  Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6)’”

Still a good path on which to walk as we consider the end of the church year and its emphasis on the return of the resurrected Christ.

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