Reading For Wednesday Acts 3:1-26
Jerusalem was changing as the early church grew and people became more acquainted with the truth about Jesus. Peter and John were making their way to the temple when they encountered a man begging of those that were entering the temple. The rabbis taught that there were three pillars of the Jewish faith: the Torah, worship, and charity. Almsgiving was a way to show kindness and to demonstrate devotion to God. With their minds set on worship, people entering the temple for the evening sacrifice and prayer would be particularly disposed to practice their religious duty by giving to a lame beggar. He asked Peter and John to give him alms as they were going into the temple. They told this poor beggar to give them his attention which he did with the expectation of receiving gifts. Although the man asked for money, they gave him something unexpected and far better. This lame beggar was healed in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He joined them as they entered but he accompanied them leaping and praising God. The people looked on in amazement as they observed this wonderful event. This man would not leave Peter and John. He clung to them and celebrated his newfound mobility.
The people rushed together, and Peter seized the opportunity to preach. He gave the crowd a proper address but quickly shifted the attention away and dismissed any thought that they had done the miraculous. He recounted the people's denial of Jesus and pointed to their irrational decision to accept a murderer instead of Jesus. He squarely blamed them for killing the author of life but explained that he had risen, and the apostles themselves were witnesses. He explained that the power for the healing of this man had come from faith in Jesus. Peter tells them that he understands that they had acted in ignorance and that all of this had taken place according to the foreknowledge and plan of God himself. He calls them to repentance so that their sin would be blotted out and that times of refreshing might come. He gives a brief historical overview of the way that the scriptures had pointed to this all along going all the way to their patriarch, Abraham. He points to the fact that God had sent him to them first for blessing and to turn them away from their wickedness.
Things To Consider:
- What does Peter and John's response teach us about serving those on the margins of society?
- What does this passage teach us about values?
- What do you have besides financial resources to give to those in need?
- How do we rob God of his glory?
- Peter did not give the people a pass on their sin. He recounted it and called them to repentance. How should we address sin in the lives of others?
- Why does Peter keep referring to the scripture?
- How does the promise of restoration in light of God's plan offer us comfort?