“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it." (Acts 2:22-24)
On the day of Pentecost, Peter began his message by reminding his listeners of the words of the prophet Joel. His next step was to put the events of the past three years in perspective. As he stood in front of this crowd -- many of whom had reveled in the death of the rabble-rouser Jesus -- he reminded them of those things they had happily ignored. Things like the signs, wonders and miracles He performed in front of them. Clear, obvious proofs they had wanted, for political reasons, to pretend didn't exist. He reminded them of their own actions, just over a month before, to have this miracle-worker executed -- and then hit them with the Truth: that even in their wickedness they had performed God's will. And then, as further proof of what they had done, to whom they had done it, to the ultimate identity of Jesus, he presented the Resurrection.
Many of those listening knew full well about the resurrection, whether or not they wanted to admit it to themselves. Indeed, the Jewish elders had taken part in bribing the guards at Jesus' tomb to conceal the truth. In bringing this to light, Peter was presenting a prelude to the Good News he was about to share. A summary of what he was going to tell them, by explaining exactly who Jesus was in just a few words.
But these words weren't meant only for the ears of those who were present; they're for us, too. In Peter's brief statement, we are given a clear vision of Jesus' identity; of who He is to us. He is a man, attested by God, a performer of miracles and wonders. A man who was killed by our lawlessness, but who had -- and has -- the power to defeat death, not only for Himself, but for all of us. And that, in 100 words or less, is the Gospel. We were dead and lawless. But by His death and resurrection, we are freed from both death and sin.