The Agony of Death
In Acts 2:24, Peter use the phrase “agony of death,” to describe what God did for Jesus in His resurrection. God freed Jesus from the agony of death to a place of resurrected life.
But what does the agony of death mean? How can one feel agony in death? And what does that agony have to do with new life?
This is the word agony in the Greek: ὠδίν. It is pronounced o-deen. The word agony is directly related to the act of a woman giving birth (labor pains).
Now as we know, the purpose of labor pains is not just an arbitrary process. The purpose of labor pains (the contradictions) is to allow the womb opening to be induced to open up, so that the new life (baby) can be born.
With that in mind, let’s understand the word for death used in this verse. Again, in the Greek, this is the word: θάνατος. It is pronounced than’-at-os. This word can indicate both physical death as well as spiritual death.
From Thayer’s Greek lexicon, we read this about θάνατος:1. properly, the death of the body, i. e. that separation (whether natural or violent) of the soul from the body by which the life on earth is ended:
Jesus’ death was a separation because His death was an atonement for sin’s punishing separation.
However, according to commentator G. Bertram, “the abyss can no more hold the Redeemer than a pregnant woman can hold a child in her body.”
Taken together, what Peter is saying is that Jesus, who underwent the pain of separation- the agony of death- has now received new life, and that death (the wages of sin) could not hold him anymore than a woman in labor can stop the contractions.
And just as the pain of the contractions stop after the baby has been born, so to the the agony of death (separation) stop with Jesus’ resurrected life.
Jesus’ death and resurrection were not God’s uh-oh plan after sin entered the world. Jesus’ death and resurrection were the sin solution that had always been.