April 26, 2009
We continue our examination of the resurrection of Jesus. This week’s passage comes from Acts 3:
12 Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? 13 For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. 14You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
16 “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes. 17 “Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. 18But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things. 19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
Peter begins to preach at the temple following the healing of a man who was crippled. The crowd is amazed at this, but God is showing his power — his resurrection power. Peter declares that although Jesus was crucified at the hands of humankind — (the same humans that God created) — God brought Jesus back to life. Peter goes on to say that he and the other disciples were witnesses. Jewish law only required two witnesses to establish a valid testimony. All eleven disciples witnessed the resurrection of Jesus and so did over 500 others. Peter goes on to say that we (humankind) crucified Jesus out of ignorance, but it was only in fulfillment of prophecy. What is the cure for what each one of us did to Jesus?
John writes in his first letter:
1 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.
The cure for what we did to Jesus is to turn from our sins — in other words — repent — but not only repent but turn to God, so He will wipe our sins away. It is only the resurrection that gives us the power to live lives free from sin. Peter is calling for transformed lives. God still calls people to repent and turn to God and to be transformed by the power of God.