Dispatch One Hundred Thirty-Three

Posted: April 19, 2015 in Thirty-Third Bundle
Tags: , , , ,

ACTS 3:12-19

12 When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

17 “And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.

The whole temple area was a flurry over what Peter had done on behalf of a lame man who had been begging for alms by the entrance fate. Peter told the man to look into his face, and when he did the apostle declared, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I will give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And the moment Peter took him by the hand, the story says, the man’s ankles and feet were made strong and he began to walk and jump and sing praises to God. This is when Peter took advantage of his ad hoc assembly of astonished bystanders for the occasion of another sermon.

Early preaching did not hesitate in fingering the blame for Jesus’ death on “you Israelites,” that is, on the Jews. But beyond the Jewish rejection of Jesus, lying deeper and standing farther behind the individual choices and group actions, was the providence of God in the fulfillment of prophecy. In a way and to an extent that no one could possibly comprehend, the will of God had been at work throughout the events leading up to and centered around the Messiah and his suffering. However the early Christians understood it, the accusation against the Jews (which would become the basis for later antisemitism throughout Christendom) was not absolute. Turning from sin and receiving God’s forgiveness was a “live option” equally for them, as it is for all people today.

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