Chapter 8: Peter preaches again
1 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. 12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
17 ‘Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.”24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.’
A ready-made audience
Curious and excited, the people swarm to the Temple porch. Peter takes the opportunity to speak about the healed man. Still more important, he explains about the Lord Jesus Christ. He draws no attention to himself, the channel of God’s blessing, but to his Saviour who is the source of it. He stresses that neither John nor he possesses their own ‘power or godliness’ to heal the lame beggar. God alone can bless!
His second spontaneous sermon now covers basically the same ground as his first. The gospel is unchangeable! It should include the main points which Peter focuses on now. Verses 13 to 26, give a summary of his sermon, not the details of it.
Peter’s sermon in a nutshell
We will now look at the main points covered by Peter’s sermon.
- God whom we talk about is the same God trusted by Israel’s fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Acts 3:13)
- Jesus, God’s Son, is also His Servant. He is now glorified after His resurrection and ascension. (Acts 3:13–15)
- You, the listening crowd, are responsible for Christ’s death, through cowardly Pilate. You preferred a convicted murderer to Jesus, the ‘Prince of life’. (Acts 3:13–15)
- We witnessed personally that Jesus, the One you caused to die, really did rise from the dead. (Acts 3:15)
- Through the lame man’s faith in Jesus’ name he is healed. You all are witnessing that right now. (Acts 3:16)
- Just like your rulers, your sin caused you to act ignorantly. (Acts 3:17)
- The Old Testament foretold why Jesus must suffer, die, and rise again. (Acts 3:18 & 3:21–26)
- God did this for you: you must repent and be turned from your sins to the risen Christ in order to know God’s blessings now and eternally. (Acts 3:19–20 & 3:26)
Consider those last two points in more detail.
Acts 3:18 & 3:21–26
Isaiah and David, moved by the Holy Spirit, speak about Jesus as the suffering Servant
Isaiah 52:13–53:12 is a ‘must read’ Old Testament passage of God’s word. Peter quotes from it in 1 Peter 2:24–25 when he says that Jesus Christ ‘Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls’. In Acts 8:26 an Ethiopian treasurer, a convert to Judaism, returns home from worshipping in Jerusalem. In his chariot he reads from Isaiah chapter 53. Philip, sent by God to speak to the Ethiopian, tells him about Jesus from that chapter.1
The New Testament shows that this passage deals with Jesus and his death and resurrection.2 In Psalm 22, another ‘must read’ Old Testament chapter, David describes Christ’s crucifixion in detail many years before death by crucifixion was even practised!3
As Peter now speaks he has these passages in mind. They are ‘those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer’. These are things ‘He has thus fulfilled’. Verses 15 and 26 clearly show that Peter has Jesus’s resurrection and ascension in mind. Peter knows that Isaiah prophesied that Jesus ‘shall be exalted and extolled and be very high’.4
These and other Bible passages teach that Jesus has borne our sins and been punished there in our place for them.
Isaiah 53:3–6 says:
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
The crowd had probably never considered that the Lord Jesus Christ had carried their sins and their deserved punishment for them. Have you ever realised that Christ’s death was for you?
Acts 3:19–20 & 3:26
The challenge which brings double blessing!
Verses 20 and 21 deal with the glorious second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and why we must listen to Him as God’s supreme and final ‘Prophet’.5 Jesus also fulfils other amazing roles!6 We face judgement if we neglect or reject what He says. But the verses also teach how we can be part of God’s forgiven worldwide family by faith. Put verses 19–20 and 26 together to apply Peter’s challenging message, and claim the promise of double blessing!
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before.
26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.
Originally, English education was based on reading, writing and arithmetic. That combination was humorously called ‘the three “R”s’, namely reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic! God has ‘three Rs’ of blessing for you through Christ: Repent from sin, Return to God through faith in the crucified and risen Christ, and receive God’s Refreshing double blessing of forgiveness in your life. Why is this a double blessing for all who repent and trust Jesus? First, it turns you from your sins which otherwise will spoil your life and others’ lives. Second, by turning you to Christ, you receive forgiveness and eternal life now. They continue, after death, forever in Heaven!
We all need Christ and His double blessing. There are no exceptions.7 We all have sinned. We must all face judgement unless we trust Christ. Christ died to pay a ‘ransom for all’.8 He offers to save all who come to Him.9 That is why verse 26 says God wants to turn ‘every one of you from your iniquities’. Have you repented and come to Him? Has He turned you from your wicked ways? Has He ransomed you? Are you restored to God through faith in Christ? Are you being refreshed by the amazing blessing of knowing Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?
Questions on Chapter 8
Peter Preaches Again—Acts 3:11–26
A. What can you learn from Peter about how wisely to take an opportunity to speak for Christ?
Acts 3:11–12, Acts 4:2, 2 Timothy 4:2
B. What place has the Old Testament here in the thinking of the apostles about the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Acts 3:13–26, Isaiah 52:13–53:12, Psalm 22
C. Consider the word ‘refreshing’. Who and what bring refreshing to sinners and how?
Acts 3:19, 26, Matthew 11:28–30, Isaiah 40:31
- Acts 8 26–35 ↩
- See, for example, quotes in Matthew 8:17, Mark 15:28, Luke 22:37, John 12:38, Romans 10:16, 1 Peter 2:21–25, and also see Mark 9:12, Romans 4:25, 1 Corinthians 15:3, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 1:19, and 1 John 3:5. These are all quoted in the MacArthur Study Bible page 1037. ↩
- Psalm 22 is estimated as written 700 years before crucifixion was practised by the Romans, and Isaiah 53 as 1,000 years, bearing in mind that David’s last words are estimated as given in 971BC. ↩
- Isaiah 52:13, second half of the verse. ↩
- Hebrews 1:1–2 ↩
- Outside the scope of this chapter, Jesus is God incarnate, our ‘Emmanuel’, and also God’s ultimate and final Prophet, Priest, and King. See The Bible Panorama, published by DayOne, Part Two, Chapter 7, page 630. ↩
- See Romans 3:23, Hebrews 9:27, 2 Corinthians 5:14–15, John 5:24 ↩
- 1 Timothy 2:5–6 ↩
- 2 Peter 3:9, Matthew 11:28 ↩