In Isolation Thoughts 2

Sunday 14th June 2020

Music: YouTube- ‘Peter & John went to pray’

Bible Reading: Acts 3. 11-26

ACTION PAST & PRESENT

Last time we read how a man who had been lame since his birth, a man who had spent his life sitting at the roadside begging, suddenly found his life totally changed. He had come into contact with two men, Peter & John who were simply going with countless others, to the Temple to pray. They had stopped and spoken with him, they caused some disappointment to him in that they openly declared they did not have any money, which was what he wanted. Then they told him to stand up, something he had never done before in his life. They told him that his healing was in the name of Jesus Christ, so he took their offered hand and found he could stand. In fact, not only could he stand but he could walk, run and leap about- it was a miracle. He then used his voice which had previously been used for pleading for alms, to praise God for the miracle. The crowd that saw and heard this event were amazed. At this point Peter took the opportunity to explain what had happened. Again he used history and events from the past to show how God was acting and offering life-changing hope to everyone.

Historical Promise

Heavenly Intervention

Hope for All

Historical Promise

The miracle was not brought about by any power that Peter & John possessed, they were human with all the limitations that brings, so they were no different to the people around them.

  • The miracle was the work of their God, one recognised from His OT description. The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob- a description with which they were all familiar.
  • The action of God was to bring to their notice, not Peter & John but Jesus Christ, the servant of God, His son.
  • Jesus is then put into context; Peter reminds them of what had occurred in recent history:
    • The people, you, had delivered him to the Romans represented by Pontus Pilate, claiming various unproven accusations.
    • Pilate had seen through their false statements and wanted to release Him.
    • This was not what the authorities and the people wanted, so they rejected that offer and asked for a known criminal to be released, not Jesus.
    • You killed Him! what an accusation, His execution was at the hands of Roman soldiers, but here Peter was turning the real blame onto them; Christ was the author or giver of life, you had Him killed!
    • God raised Him from the dead. An absolutely undisputed fact thrown straight back at them, you might have been the root cause of His death, God was the authority that rejected their action and to prove they had acted improperly, acted in malice, He raised Jesus from death to show that He was the Son of God.
    • These events, still fresh in their minds, Peter assures them that he and many others are witnesses to the truth of this matter. There should be no dispute.
  • This is the power that healed this man who is now standing among them. It was an action of faith in Christ that has totally restored this man.

Heavenly Intervention

Peter then reminds them of the OT promises concerning the Messiah.

  • Isaiah wrote that he would suffer.
  • God allowed their actions to be carried out, it was the mind of God, they were not aware of His purpose, yet they had ensured that Jesus was killed. God then completed the purpose by raising Him from the dead.

It was being made quite clear to the crowd that day that what they had seen and heard was not done by human power but the intervention and action of Almighty God. Peter the reminds them of the words of Moses, going back to the early parts of the OT, a promise that a prophet would come, like me, ie like Moses. He would come from within the nation and he needed to be heard and followed. So how was Jesus like Moses? We can draw some parallels.

  • Both acted under the authority of God.
  • Both had a following from the people
  • Both had rejection by the people
  • Both had a purpose to lead people to a better life, a promised land
  • Both had healing powers, one from God the other because He was God.

Peter now gets to the crux of his message, the reason why he was explaining what was happening, it was not a one-off situation.

Hope for All

They could also experience a life changing act in their lives. They were not all physically crippled, but they were spiritually crippled. Quite simply, they has sin in their lives and this was hindering their relationship with God. A holy righteous God, yet one who was prepared to come into their lives if only they would let Him. Peter calls for action:

  • Repent and turn back to God! This would cause some reaction. We are following God, why do you think we are on the Temple Road? We are going to worship!
  • Peter continues, there is another step, you need to have your sins wiped out. Deep theology here, the sacrifices they offered covered their sins, but they continued in sin- hence the need for repeated sacrifice. Now their sin could be totally removed by faith in Christ, their lives would be refreshed, they would be set free, just like the lame man. It all depended on their response to Jesus.
  • The Messiah had come and brought hope for all who were willing to put their faith in Him and all that He stood for, all He had done.
  • The promise of hope had been given to them by Moses and then all the prophets from Samuel onwards, God had told them this would happen. Peter then goes back to Abraham, reminding them of the promise given to him, ‘that the whole word would be blessed through his offspring’. Jesus was that offspring and you as a people were given the first opportunity to recognise and respond to the wonderful provision that God has made possible. Life changing, sin forgiving. Eternal life- it is your choice!

The date has changed, we are now in 2020, we are not outside the Temple in Jerusalem, we are here wherever you are today, but the basis for faith has not been changed.

Historical Promise- we still can read of all that God promised in the OT, the truth has not changed.

Heavenly Intervention- God intervened and sent His Son, as the Jewish Messiah, the Christ who died for all mankind.

Hope for All- the challenge of Peter still stands today, we are called to turn away from our sin, turn to Christ and accept, by faith, His death and resurrection to bring us a life changing, sin removing, heaven bound hope. The choice is ours, so we need to respond.

Closing Hymn- YouTube- ‘How great Thou art’


Page last updated: 13th June 2020 8:43 PM
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