Through the Bible in One Year

Days 189

Acts 3:11-26

We have already seen a huge change in Peter and in all the disciples.  We have seen them speak with boldness to the same crowd of people, who less than two months ago were crying out for Jesus’ execution.  We have seen Peter and John heal a man who was born lame.  And now today we are going to see Peter deliver yet another bold address in such a short amount of time, yet again proving the life changing experience of baptism in the Spirit.

While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.—3:11-16

The sight of the man leaping gathered a large crowd of astonished worshipers.  The event became Peter’s opportunity to share the gospel.  He notes that God’s approval of Jesus was the basis of the miracle.  God’s approval created a tremendous problem for the hearers, however, for the people had delivered and disowned Jesus (who was holy and innocent) and had asked for a murderer (who was unholy and guilty) to be released instead of Jesus.  Thus, they were guilty of rejecting Jesus.

In verse 15 Jesus is described with a word that means “author/originator” of life (some translations have “Prince”).  The people put to death the one who is life itself.  Since this who he is, it is no wonder Jesus rose from the dead.  It should also be noted that the man who was lame had faith on hearing the invocation of Jesus’ name.  He would have likely heard of Jesus’ ministry and may have even caught glimpses of Jesus as he taught in the temple.  Had the lame man wished and longed to be healed by Jesus?  When Peter extended healing in the authority of Jesus to him, it is no wonder he believed in the authority of Jesus to heal.

“Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.—3:17-21

Peter’s address shifted to his fellow Israelites.  He made two points intended to indicate they were not guilty of pure, unmitigated evil.  First, they and their leaders acted in ignorance.  Second, the suffering of the Messiah had been long predicted by all the prophets.  However, the listeners were not absolved of all guilt; their part was played voluntarily.  Peter therefore gave two commands: repent and turn back.  To repent is to turn from the path of rejection, and to turn back is to go toward Christ, implying belief in Christ.  Peter’s call was an invitation to salvation; he called the people to submit to Jesus as their King.  If they chose salvation, they would experience refreshment that is only found in the presence of the Lord, mediated through the Holy Spirit.  They would also experience a time of restoration as they prepared for Jesus’ return.

For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’—3:22-23

Peter references Deuteronomy 18:15-19 as the Scriptural support for his appeal.  The Jews had looked for a prophet like Moses.  Scripture connects the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18 to Jesus (John 6:14 and 7:40).  Obeying this prophet—Jesus—is important.  Since the prophets from Samuel forward announced the coming Messiah, their announcements suggest that none of them were the promised prophet.  Only Jesus could embody the one whom Moses foretold.

“Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”—3:24-26

The hearers were the descendants of the prophets and heirs of the covenant blessings foretold to Abraham.  In verse 26, the notion of raising up is not a reference to the resurrection; it likely describes the whole process of God bringing Jesus into human history to bless Israel (and all people).  The blessing is explicitly tied to salvation through repentance.  The means of salvation is hinted at by referring to Christ as “his servant,” a phrase used to describe the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.  And this is where we will pick up tomorrow as we see Peter and John before the Sanhedrin.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

1 Chronicles 7-8, Acts 27:1-20, Psalm 7:1-17 and Proverbs 18:22


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