In yesterday’s post – Miracle at the Gates – we spent some time thinking about the miracle performed by Peter and John at the entrance to the temple. This miracle created a lot of attention, and Peter did not hesitate to speak to those gathered. Today we will have a look at what he had to say. Notice this is the second time Peter preaches, hence the title. You can read about the first time he spoke (at Pentecost) in my post – Peter Preaches.
You can find Peter’s words in Acts 3:12-26, and as it’s quite a lengthy passage, I won’t quote it all here. Hit the link above if you want to read the full text, and I’ll quote parts of it throughout the post.
Open With a Question
Peter begins his sermon by asking the crowd a few questions. It can be a good way to start a message, as it gets us thinking about the subject at hand.
When Peter saw it, he responded to the people, “You men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Why do you fasten your eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk?Acts 3:12 (WEB)
Peter gets straight to it, asking why they are so interested in what has happened. He is challenging their surprise, as if this man becoming well is a perfectly normal thing to have happened. And indeed, when in the presence and power of Christ, the supernatural becomes the natural.
Peter asks the group why they “fasten their eyes” on them, which is the same phrase used in verse 4 when peter looked on the man prior to the healing.
He is crystal clear with the people that this man was not healed by his or John’s power or godliness, and therefore the crowd’s interest should not be on them, but on the source of that power. And that is…?
Verse 13 begins “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus,” and points very clearly to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter names the Jewish forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob leaving the people in no doubt about Who has performed this amazing feat of healing.
Peter pulls no punches as he tells them that they are responsible for killing the prince of Life. Pilate offered them a chance to release Christ, but they chose a murderer instead, denying and rejecting the Messiah.
By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.Acts 3:16 (WEB)
Verse 16 implies it is both faith in the Name of Jesus, and the very Name itself which has given this man “perfect soundness” of body. What miracles can be brought about by the Name of Christ! We must never underestimate that Name, nor use it in vain. Power is released as we utter the Name of Jesus, and is the reason we pray in that Name alone.
What Shall We Do?
Verses 17 and 18 tell us that Peter acknowledged their ignorance of what they had done. They knew not who Jesus really was, and neither did their leaders. Yet the prophets had foretold that the Christ would have to suffer and die, and so Christ fulfilled their words.
Peter goes on to tell the people what they now need to do.
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,Acts 3:19 (WEB)
To repent, as Peter says, is to turn – to turn away from sin and wrongdoing, and to turn to God. We must all do this. Few churches seem to remind their congregants of the need to repent these days. Yet, each one of us, must turn from our sin and turn to Christ. In doing so, our sins will be blotted out – crossed out of the book if you prefer – never to be mentioned again.
Peter tells not just his audience, but us as well, of the terrible consequences of not turning to Christ in verse 23.
And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’Acts 3:23 (ESV)
We must take this warning seriously. There will come a time when it is too late to turn back, and their is no better time than now to give your life to Christ. He is the only way to Heaven and their are no shortcuts. Surrender to Him right here and now, ask Him to forgive you and to be in charge of your life from here on out. It will be the best decision you ever make!
Peter closes his sermon by telling the people that Christ will remain in Heaven until the time comes to restore all things. When that day comes, He will return and put all things right! This was spoken of by the prophets of old, and Peter points out several Scriptures to them.
He reminds them of the covenant God made with Abraham, and that it would never be forgotten. God is not slow in keeping His promises, nor will He ever break a single one of them.
Peter finishes in verse 26 with the following words, and I think it is a great place to finish our post today also.
Praise God our Father who sent His Son to us to bless us, and to turn us from our wickedness!
God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”Acts 3:26 (ESV)