Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to His servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release Him. You rejected this holy, righteous One and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact! “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.
“Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that He must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything He tells you.’ Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.’ “Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up His servant, Jesus, He sent Him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”Acts 3:12-26
- Why is the speech so unconnected to the Miracle?
- It is like the speech could have been on any occasion. Did Peter really make this speech at the scene of this miracle?
- Are the critics right when they claim it is a canned “Jesus speech” squeezed in anywhere there was an opportunity?
- After the first line it seems no longer miracle connected?
- The second part of Peter’s speech seems to have a different focus.
- Do the two parts belong together?
From a Westerner’s point of view, verses 19 – 25 appear to focus on unrelated things.
“You killed the author of life” seems to be an important statement. Holy Spirit, help me to understand the depths of it.
Many people over the years have told me they skip those “boring genealogies” which prompted me to put a section into God’s Awesome Book to show the genealogies are not boring. The same is true of the speeches in Scripture. Many have told me they skip those too. I have never addressed this matter before in anything I have written but I made it clear in Gems 1399 that the speeches are important. Luke uses the speeches as the glue between the action. He has carefully crafted the stories of miracles and the associated speeches to clarify the thrust and point of what he wrote. In short, the speeches are masterpieces of oration to challenge those who had witnessed what happened to repent and fall in line with God’s plan for mankind. For the Jew first and then for you Gentiles (as Paul would say). I can’t wait to look at Stephen’s speech with you.
Did you realise that what Luke wrote is for you is similar to his purpose in his Gospel. Remember he is still writing this second work for Theophilus – the God-lover. That is you dear reader. You are part of this as well. Luke has included the speeches for you so that you would not be in the dark as to the higher purpose of what is recorded here. Once more I remind you that when it comes to understanding the Bible you need to keep the details in mind, while at the same time looking at the bigger picture. The same is true of Gems and what I do in Deeper Bible. Many of my Deeper Bible students are realising that no detail is irrelevant. That Ian hides little pieces in the books which become the key to understanding at later stages. I do that because the Bible does that. Have you noticed a minute little change I made to the verses offered for today? Oh, they are nothing new. It is still Acts 3:12-26 but with a subtle little change. I put in a line break between verses 16 and 17. Did you notice it? I think not. Did you wonder why that was there or think I hit <enter> too many times. No, it was deliberate. In your reading, did you notice this speech divides into two parts? Verses 12-16 have a different tone from verses 17-26. The opening verses of Peter’s speech are bold and brassy, full of condemnation and rebuke and marked by some sharp contrasts, concluding with the challenge of killing the author of life. But beginning with verse 17 there is a more conciliatory tone by which Peter appeals to his audience in a personable kind of way in order to win them over to see what God is really doing behind the scenes. Convincing them to understand God’s picture. In short, to understand the ways of God and not just to see His acts. He is dealing with the crowd of onlookers who witnessed the healing of the lame beggar and who swarmed around Peter, John and the man, after the healing. As the text tells us, Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “Don’t be surprised at what is happening!”
What is interesting here is the word addressed the crowd is a specific word. Rather than standing to make a speech of address, the word indicates that Peter is standing to give answers. Answers to what? Their amazement and incredulity as he’s already told us in the verses before the speech begins. These people don’t understand what God is doing, nor the fact that He is behind it all. So the word apokrinomaiis used which means to “answer” or to “reply”. Some Bible critics see this speech as unrelated to what went before. One of those moments when someone jumps up and gives a speech that is out of sync or out of context with the events that are happening. It is this feature which causes some people to think Luke has simply taken some narrative (stories) and sandwiched them together with speeches or writing of exhortation rather than explanation. NO, these speeches are very much explanation and set the scene for the Book as a whole. So having said that, we need to understand them carefully. Peter is giving them answers to their surprise and awe. Effectively, “don’t be mystified as to what is happening but understand that this is all part of God’s plan”.
Take time now to look at the first segment of the speech (Acts 3:12-16) to see how Peter has crafted his explanation. But you know from my introductory comments in this Gems that the tone of what he said is an “in-your-face challenge”. Look in detail for a moment at how Peter crafts the challenge. How he has carefully constructed what he had to say to give maximum effect. We will analyse Acts 3:12-16 in the next Gems. In the meantime study it for yourself, or alternatively as some of you do, set it aside to study when you can, only don’t read the next Gems until you have done your work. I love the way some of you do that. You are true Bible students and lovers of God and His Word. You don’t have to go to Bible College to be a student of the Bible. Many I know in my time at Bible College went with the purpose of gaining the certificate. I on the other hand wasn’t after the certificate but I was focused on the “how to”. Some I have met since have the certificate but no longer have the “how to” to go deeper in the Word of God. You, on the other hand, may not have the opportunity to get the certificate but you have the opportunity to practise the means of going deeper in studying the Bible through the Gems and Deeper Bible. And many of you are doing just that and realising that in doing so you are enabling yourself – whether you have been to Bible College or seminary or not. I am interested in teaching you to fish and feed yourself.
Give a person a fish and feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish and feed them for a lifetime.The Deeper Bible Operating Principle
Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and get rid of him for the day!Ian Vail
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won’t bother you for weeks.Ian Vail
You can learn from ANYONE if you ask wise questions. “Good advice lies deep within a person’s heart & the wise draw it out.”Proverbs 20:5
All of us ought to be learners until the day we die. The moment you stop learning, you stop growing. You can learn from anyone at any time.Ian Vail
When asked why he was doing a NT Greek course at 92, Oliver Wendell Holmes replied, “It’s now or never.”Oliver Wendell Holmes