Shortly after the church saw the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the massive expansion of their numbers by 3000 people, and established some early practices, we find today’s story.
In today’s story, Peter had just healed a man who wouldn’t walk since birth. The crowds saw this, were amazed, and suddenly wanted to hear from him. This was his opportunity to preach to thousands. What would he say?
While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. (Acts 3:11-15 ESV)
Peter basically retells the story of Jesus’ death. But in this case, he is uncomfortably direct, at least by today’s standards. He speaks directly to his fellow Jews, in particular those in Jerusalem, and makes sure they don’t miss the significance of what happened, and their implication in it.
He says those listening to him were responsible for four terrible things about Jesus:
1) You handed him over.
High priests handed him over to Roman authorities.
2) You disowned him before Pilate even though he would have let him go.
They said Caesar is Lord instead about Jesus is Lord.
3) You traded him for a murderer
There was a tradition to release one criminal at Passover. They asked Pilate to release Barabbas, not Jesus.
4) You killed the author of life.
The crowds yelled, “Crucify him!”
The author of life is an important title. The Greek word (archegos) we translate as author here could also be translated as pioneer. That’s why we called this series Pioneer Story, because it’s the story of the first Christians, who were like pioneers, but it is even more so the story of Jesus, the true pioneer of the Christian faith, working through those other early pioneers.
What was the bottom line of Peter’s message? You did this. He wants his audience (then and now, them and us) to feel guilt.
Question: Why would Peter make them feel so terrible? Where is he going with this?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]