Aug 23 — Acts 3-4

Acts 3 — The Lame Beggar, Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico
Acts 4 — Peter and John Before the Council

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One Reply to “Aug 23 — Acts 3-4”

  1. Peter and John are heading to the temple and the come across a lame man. Through faith in Jesus Christ they healed this man and “all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old” (Acts 4:21-22). The people “were filled with wonder and amazement” (3:10) and ran over to see this thing that had happened. Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and confronts them (once again) with the common sermon: you killed Jesus, God raised him, now repent.

    This time Peter adds a phrase that’s significant, he shows kindness in the midst of his convicting sermon, “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders” (3:17). This is quite the turning point. He shows compassion on his brothers and sisters, his “fellow Israelites.” His words cut deeply when he says “You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him” (3:13), but I picture Peter slowing down, lowering his voice and looking into the eyes of those gathered.

    Not only the people, but the leaders of the people acted in ignorance. To be misled is an awful thing. Stories of pastors making horrible mistakes quickly (and briefly) make headline news, but leave a wake of misery for those who followed. Peter appeals to them to “Repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus.” (3:19-20). And the followers of Jesus “grew to about five thousand” (4:4).

    Peter and John break through the layers of protocol and speak directly to the people. When they do, the people hear the Gospel, but the priests are not pleased and have the power to have the temple guard seize them and “put them in jail” (4:3). That alone gives us insight into the authority of the priests. Did they hear the words, “leaders acting in ignorance?” Peter and John have their day in front of these priests, “Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family” (4:6). These are the powerful men of Jerusalem, not just the average, everyday priests. Yet they had no clue how to deal with them. They “commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard'” (4:19-20).

    The more time we spend in God’s word, the more we feast on his teaching, the more we must conclude: we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. Lord fill us with this wisdom and help us to be compassionate, to understand how so many act in ignorance. Help us to weave through the layers of doubt and speak plainly to people and draw many to the love of Christ.

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