the miracle that preceded Peter’s sermon (Acts 3)

“Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this (miracle), or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14 But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. 16 And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. 17 “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18 But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time of the restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.  22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. 23 And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward predicted these days25 It is you (Jews) who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 For you primarily, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” (Acts3:12-26)

Following his sermon on Pentecost, Peter’s second address was in response to peoples’ reactions to the disciples’ healing of the lame man at the temple gate resulting in his exuberant celebration. Again it is clear the apostle is addressing Jews, reminding them that this miracle was not down to them but to the One they had delivered, disowned and had put to death. He had been sent to bless them  “by turning them from their wicked ways” (v26), albeit acknowledging that they had done what they did it in ignorance (v17). In terms of what was now required of them, it was to repent so that their “sins should be wiped away”. Baptism is not explicitly mentioned here but it is in most other sermons, as will have been the expectation that Jesus would come again soon “to restore all things” (v21). Such is how Peter and all the apostles will have regarded “the Second Coming”. He also added that the prophets of old had predicted what was now occurring (in terms of the outpouring of the Spirit) but as we shall see, neither they nor Peter at that point anticipated that these blessings were to come in their fulness upon the Gentiles (cf. Acts11:17-18).

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