In one of Peter’s early sermons in Jerusalem, he spoke of the man they released from prison – Barabbas. (Acts 3:13-15). “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life.” Have you ever thought about the contrast between these two men?
Barabbas was a murderer; he had no regard for human life. He is the one the Jewish people liberated and welcomed back into society, but turned their backs on Jesus.
In contrast, Peter calls Jesus “the holy and righteous one.” He had no sin; in fact He did nothing but feed, heal and teach people. This is the one they disowned and executed! What’s even more stunning is that Peter calls him “the Prince of life.” The word also means author, originator, or leader. He is the very source of life. This means the Jewish people ended the life of the author of life.
Think about it. They freed one who killed lives, and killed One who created life. Peter couldn’t have come up with a more powerful way to describe what they had done.
Yet that wasn’t the end of it. He was quick to declare that Jesus is “the one whom God raised from the dead.” God would not allow the prince of life to remain deceased. He gave him the victory. This confirms Jesus really is the prince of life. As dark as their crime was, it’s the very thing that saves us.
How horribly mixed up the world is. It sells out to the wrong things, and often the worst people. In such a world it took the death of a righteous Son of God to save the souls of unrighteous people. There’s something magnificent about the name Peter used to describe Him: the Prince of life.
– Tim Johnson