In Acts 3:11-26, the Apostle Paul’s friend and physician, Luke, says this:
“And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, ‘Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this man? or why fasten ye your eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Servant Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied before the face of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. But ye denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed the Prince of life; whom God raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And by faith in his name hath his name made this man strong, whom ye behold and know: yea, the faith which is through him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.’
‘And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But the things which God [foretold] by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, . . . so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; and that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus: whom . . . heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, whereof God spake by the mouth of his holy prophets that have been from of old. Moses indeed said, “A prophet shall the Lord God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me; to him shall ye hearken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you. And it shall be, that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.” Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days. Ye are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.'”
In this passage, Luke records the people of Jerusalem’s response to seeing the crippled beggar’s perfect health, and the Apostle Peter’s evangelistic sermon for them. This passage may be seen as being mainly divided into two parts, consisting of the two paragraphs that make it up.
First, we see the explanation of the cripple’s healing in the first paragraph. This may be divided into 3 main topics:
- The People’s Amazement
- The Preacher’s Attack
- The Power’s Authority.
In the second paragraph, we see the exhortation, or urging, to confess, or acknowledge, the Holy One, the Lord Jesus the Anointed One. This may divided into 5 main topics:
- The Preacher’s Acknowledgment
- The Prophecies’ Accomplishment
- The Preacher’s Admonition
- The Prophets’ Admonition
- The People’s Answerability
In verses 11-16, Luke records Peter’s explanation of the cripple’s healing. He begins in verse 11 by describing the people’s amazement. He says that, while the man who was healed was clinging to the Apostles Peter and John, all the people in the temple ran together to them at the porch of Solomon, which was around the Court of the Gentiles, and they were full of amazement.
In verses 12-15, he describes the preacher’s attack. When Peter saw that all the people in the temple ran together to him, John, and the healed man, Luke implies, he responded by first asking the men of Israel why they were amazed at the healing of the cripple, and why they gazed at the Apostles, as if it was their power or righteousness that had made him walk. In reality, he goes on, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who was the God of their ancestors, had glorified His Servant Jesus, who was the One whom they delivered over to crucifixion and disowned in the presence of Pilate, at the time when he had actually decided that he wanted to let Him go. Nevertheless, he continues, the Jews disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer, Barabbas, to be released for them, but murdered the Prince of life itself, who was the One whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which Peter and John were witnesses.
In verse 16, Peter describes the healing power’s authority. He says that, on the basis of faith in the trustworthy reputation and identity of Jesus, it was the authority of Jesus which had strengthened the formerly crippled man that they were seeing and knew, and that it was the faith which came from Jesus that was the means by which he received his perfect health in the presence of the people.
In verses 17-26, Peter gives his exhortation to confess, or acknowledge, the Holy One. He begins in verse 17 with the preacher’s acknowledgment. He says to his Jewish brethren that he knows that they acted without knowledge in murdering Jesus the Anointed One, just as their rulers did.
However, in verse 18, Peter talks about the prophecies’ accomplishment. He implies that, regardless of the fact that the Jews murdered Jesus without the knowledge that He was the Messiah, by doing so, the things which God announced before they happened by the mouths of all the prophets — the sufferings of Christ — were fulfilled by Him.
Therefore, in verses 19-21, he gives the preacher’s admonition. He begins by commanding the people, because God fulfilled all His prophecies that talked about Christ’s suffering at the hands of the Jews and Romans, to change the way they think, or repent, and to turn from the way they think, or return, so that their sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, or the Father, and that He may send Jesus, the Supreme Prophet, Priest, and King appointed for them, whom heaven must have until the time of the restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times.
In verses 22-24, Peter explains the prophets’ admonition. First, he says that Moses prophesied that the Lord God would raise up for the Jews a prophet like him from among them, and that they had a moral obligation to submit to everything He said to them. Furthermore, he paraphrases Moses as saying that it would be that every soul that would not submit to that Prophet would be utterly destroyed from among the people of the Jews. Also, he adds, in a similar way, all the prophets who had spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced the days they are living in.
In verses 25-26, Peter ends his sermon with the people’s answerability. He begins by saying that it is the people of Jerusalem, the Jews, who are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant, or agreement, that God made with their ancestors by saying to Abraham, “in your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Finally, he says that it was for the Jews first that God raised up His Servant, Jesus, and sent Him to bless them by Him turning every one of them from their wicked ways.
So, are you amazed at supernatural things that are done through Christians, or gaze at them, as if by their own power or righteousness they have performed them, or do you recognize that God has glorified His Servant Jesus, and that it is on the basis of faith in Him, and by His authority alone, that Christians are used by God to perform supernatural things?
Are you a witness to the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead?
Are you trusting only in the trustworthy reputation and person of Jesus for your spiritual healing of your spiritual death and enslavement to sin?
Do you believe that Jesus is the only One that you can trust to give you perfect spiritual health?
Have you changed the way you think and turned from the way you used to think, so that your sins have been wiped away, and that times of refreshing have come from the presence of God?
Are you giving heed to everything you know that Jesus has said to you through His Word?
Are you a spiritual descendant of the prophets and a participant in the covenant that God made with Abraham, saying that in his Descendant all the families of the earth would be blessed?
Has God blessed you by turning you from your wicked ways?
Do you understand why you need to seek the only cure for your disease of wickedness? The Apostle Paul wrote about it this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what the Apostle John said about the gospel in John 1:1-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16 and 1:18-32:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
“. . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousnessof men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
Speaking of those that practice sin, the Apostle Paul uses this quote:
“. . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness . . .” – Romans 3:10-14
This is my appeal to you, as written by the Apostle Paul:
“. . . we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
This is how you become reconciled to God:
“. . . if thou shalt confess [acknowledge] with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [Greek: kurios, or Supreme in Authority], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him [depend upon Him]: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [who He is, what He has done, and what He can do] shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13