Yesterday we read about Peter’s opportunity to speak to thousands, and how he chose to Retell the story of Jesus’ death, pointing the finger squarely at the gathered crowd, saying “you did this”. Why would he be so negative?
Well, all this terrible news about Jesus dying at their hands gets a surprising but happy ending.
…you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (Acts 3:15b-26 ESV)
Yes, they participated in Jesus’ death, but God raised him from the dead. What seems to be an indictment turns into a reason for their freedom. And there is an object lesson standing right in front of them!
The crippled man Peter just healed was still there. He would have begged daily at the temple’s beautiful gate, a prime spot to lay a guilt trip for those passing by in opulent surroundings. Worshippers at the temple were desperate to do right in God’s eyes, and they would know that a big display of giving would look great at the moment they entered the temple.
In that culture, they would have immediately seen his disability as a sign that he was a great sinner, or that his parents had been terrible sinners. Now, I can guarantee you that this man was a sinner, and his parents were too, we all are. And I can also say that all pain, suffering and illness in this world is also a result of sin. We were created for a world without pain, illness and death, but by rebelling against God, living in our own way, we brought those into this world.
The man in question had never walked in his life, we read that people had to carry him to this spot every day. And now, after Peter stopped and healed him, he could walk. He was doing exactly how he was always meant to do, as if sin had never broken us and our world around us. He was a sign of God’s kingdom, right in front of them.
You can imagine, the temptation was for Peter to become the star and tell everyone to look at him! But Peter says, “don’t look at me, and don’t look at the healed man.” You won’t find explanations or power in people like us.
Question: Where does Peter want them to look for explanations?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]