GOD ESTABLISHES HIS CHURCH IN THE WORLD
By Faith in Jesusí Name
Jerry A Collins
How is Jesus described in this passage?
What is the significance of this message by Peter?
What does it mean to repent in this message?
When it comes to the Christian faith there is no name front and center than that of Jesus Christ. If we were to advertise Christianity on a marquee out front it would say Jesus Christ. If a front page article written about the Christian faith it would read Jesus Christ. If radio dj or tv announcer were to introduce the Christian faith, they would begin with the name of Jesus Christ.† If history books written about the Christian faith the pages would speak of Jesus Christ. Christianity is Christ. Peter was the first to preach in the name of Jesus Christ. The healing of the lame man drew a large crowd and so Peter seeing this takes advantage of the moment to proclaim Jesus Christ. Before doing so, he asks two questions to clear up any confusion the crowd may have had about the source of this healing. First, why do you marvel at this?† Since they had a covenant with this miracle working God, miracles had played an important role in their history. They had even recently seen Jesus, claiming to be God doing these same kind of miracles. That God should work another one through His apostles should be no surprise. Second, Why do you gaze at us as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? They should have known that 2 Galilean fisherman were incapable of this. Since they had rejected Godís testimony in the prophets, in Christ and now the apostles, they were left with no explanation for what they had seen. So attention is directed away from Peter and John to Jesus Christ. 1. A LOT CAN BE SAID ABOUT WHO JESUS IS & WHAT HE DID FOR US 13-18† There are at least 5 descriptions of Christ that stress the implications of His being Savior.
(1) Servant in vs. 13† Here is stressed Godís covenant faithfulness to Israel as the God of Abe, Isaac, Jacob, of our fathers. This same description had been used previously in the OT (Ex 3:6, 15-16; 1 Kings 18:36; 1 Chr 29:18; 2 Chr 30:6; Mt 22:32; Acts 7:32) on significant occasions as continuity with the OT prophets describing the same God they preached and Messiah they promised. Servant Jesus reminds us of the suffering servant described in Isa 42:1-4 and even Jesus described Himself† as one who came to serve not be served (Mt 20:28). Notice† that when his suffering was over he was glorified vs. 13. Donít be concerned with glory just be a servant. Those who humble themselves will be exalted. To ever be an effective servant you must remove the profit motive from others from your service.
(2) Jesus† This description emphasizes the salvation and deliverance He has provided for us. You shall call His name Jesus for it is He who will save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). There have been a lot of false views of Jesus in the world. The Jews in Jesus day had one too. And it motivated them to have Jesus crucified vs. 13b. Even Pilate had recognized Jesusí innocence not less than six times (Lk 23:4, 16, 22; Jn 18:38; 19:4, 6) and repeatedly sought to release him (Lk 23:13-22). Confronted with their guilt and sin, biblical teaching doe this because it is the foundation of the gospel message. The good news of the gospel must be preceded by the bad news of sin. Only ones seeing self as sinner also see need for a Savior.
(3) Holy and Righteous One vs. 14† To be holy means to be separated to God (Psa 16:10). Righteous means innocent here of any crime. Contrast this with the unholy and unrighteous murderer they chose in His place. Even Pilateís wife (Mt 27:19) & Roman guard (Lk 23:47) recognized Jesus innocence and righteousness but His own people did not. What an indictment.
(4) Prince of life 15-17† Note the series of paradoxes so far: Altho Jesus a servant, God exalted Him; He was their deliverer, yet they delivered him to death; they rejected holy and righteous one in favor of unjust murderer; Now they put to death Prince of life while asking for release of one who took life.† This† designation† means†† one† Who is the orginator or beginner of something. In this sense He is the author of salvation (Heb 2:10) but also the soyrce of all life (Jn 1:4; 5:26). However, His death was not the end since God raised Him from the dead vs. 15. That was a fact to which Peter and the apostles were witnesses (1 Cor 15). Just like Jesus said, they would be witnesses of Christ first in Jerusalem (1:8). So their guilt is enormous and the mrder unsuccessful. Because Jesus is truly the Prince of Life, and He was alive, on the basis of faith in His name vs. 16 this man was healed. Peter and Johnís faith in Jesus Christ was the basis for this healing. It is the faith of the healer, the apostles, not the faith of those healed, that the gift of healing operated. So, this lame man now healed was living proof to everyone that their evelaution of Jesus had been wrong! The apostleís testimony was undeniable. In spite of the nations rejection of Christ there is still hope for them vs. 17. They had acted in ignorance and even Jesus had said on the cross, Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Lk 23:34). Their ignorance was inexcusable because the evidence that Jesus is deliverer was clear. Yet they were not beyond the reach of Godís grace. God can still be merciful.
(5) Christ vs. 18† Their rejection and execution of Jesus was part of the plan of God for them. As unthinkable as it was, God had announced all of this generations before it happened thru His prophets and was now fulfilled (Isa 53; Psa 22; Zech 12:10). God uses even evil intentions to fulfill His own purposes (Gen 50:20). Jesus crucifixion was in the plan of God. Since we cannot know or see it may seem all is lost when in reality God is working out His plan in your life.
2. REPENTANCE OF SIN GUARANTEES GODíS SALVATION AND FAVOR 19-26
All throughout the Bible Gods spokesmen have called for repentance. It is a change of mind resulting in a change of action. After the abundant evidence that Israel had reached wrong conclusion about Jesus Christ they are asked to reverse their verdict and place their faith in Him. This would result in: (1) Sins being wiped away vs. 19 The only way to forgiveness is thru faith in Jesus Christ like ink wiped off a document. (2) The kingdom will come vs. 19† Not only an individual result but a collective one too. Times of refreshing is millennial kingdom (Eze 34:26; Joel 2:26) and (Rm 11:26) says it is fixed by Godís own timetable. (Use prophecy material to describe this kingdom) not as a man-made thing but from the presence of the Lord. Lack of repenting has delayed this. (3) Messiah will return vs. 20-21† So this kingdom follows Israelís repentance (Rom 11:26; Zech 12:10-14:9). Until then Jesus remains in heaven. This information was not new but had been spoken by Godís prophets (2 Pt 1:21). (4) Judgment would be avoided vs. 22-24 As an example of a prophet we have Moses who warned of consequences of rejecting Messiah (Dt 18:19). Rejection results in lose of Covenant guarantees. They would forfeit Godís promises and not only Moses but all the prophets God sent warned the people of this. God had made all this clear and never stuttered. (5) Blessing will be realized vs. 25-26 That blessing was still available for them and everyone since Jesus raised. Itís obtained by repenting.