GETTING THE MESSAGE/Acts 3:11-16
In this passage the apostle Peter delivers his second sermon. The setting is inside the temple complex at Solomon’s portico, a beautiful structure with a high ceiling and plenty of room for a crowd to assemble. The porch was like an open air chapel. The occasion was an astonished crowd assembled in wonder at the miracle of a crippled man who had been healed instantly and completely.
The healed man is clinging to Peter and John, and the people are staring mystified at them. Peter is ready to give an answer to the crowd for what has happened and what is taking place. Peter tells them the miracle has not taking place because of his or John’s power or piety (Verse 12). Rather it has come through faith in Jesus, whom God has glorified.
The miracle points to a new work God is doing. Christ Jesus has come into the world to make all things new. It is a new day, the year of the Lord’s favor. The Bible speaks of Christ having two days. The first is when he came to accomplish salvation by his death and resurrection; along with the period of time when the Holy Spirit will apply his work, spreading the gospel throughout the world.
The second day is when he will come back from heaven to gather all his people and judge the world. The time we live in now is not yet that day. The world is full of tribulation and sorrow, but in Christ, God holds out the promise of reconciliation and life with God forever. And at Jesus’s second day, he will make this promise permanent and perfect with no more corruption or death.
All that Christ does is according to the promise of God. Peter says in verse 13, “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus.” The crowd would know God identified himself with the phrase, I am the God of…etc.… to Moses, to show he was going to keep his promise and deliver Israel from Egypt. And God did what he promised.
The word “servant” was often used in the prophets, especially Isaiah, of the coming Messiah who would bring salvation to the Jews and to the world. By using this word, Peter is saying that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Christ, and God has glorified him. His audience would have understood this.
Before Peter tells the crowd what they must do for salvation, he reveals to them how sinful sin is, so they understand how great and necessary salvation is. He points them back to the death of Jesus. They cannot blame it on Pilate, who wanted to release Jesus. They preferred a murderer to Jesus, who Peter says is the Holy and Righteous One; the Author of Life (verse 14)
Peter is not only telling them they are without excuse. He is telling them (and us) how corrupt human nature is due to sin. Men would rid themselves of God if they could. Men love the darkness, and hate to leave their present condition and submit to the Lord of all. There are none righteous before God.
Man not only needs salvation, he needs God to come and convince him of his need, or he will remain insensitive to the misery he is in. This is what God is doing through Peter. Man has deserted God, belongs entirely to himself, and lives entirely for his sinful nature. Putting to death the Son of God demonstrates this. The Jews did what all men in sin would have done.
The wonder of salvation is that men are entirely guilty before God because of sin, and eternally incapable of making any payment with regard to their debt. Consequently, we are fully and eternally subject to God’s curse, wrath, and condemnation. The Lord Jesus, however, intervened as our Mediator by taking upon himself all our sin and guilt, as well as the curse and punishment from our sins. To accomplish this, he died on the cross, fully satisfying the claims of the law on our behalf.
In making full payment with his blood, Christ purchased believers to become his property, a blessed state to come into, in which he frees us from the power of sin and the devil in this world, and promises us a certain hope and future with him forever, where righteousness abides.
Peter says,” the faith that is through Jesus has given this man perfect health (verse 16).” And this faith, in Christ, is what heals our souls. This is a good story to remember. Every believer needs to know something of what the lame man found out. Our condition is not beyond Christ’s reach.