Peter Preaches in Response to the Crowd
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This morning we are continuing the story from last week in Acts 3, were we looked at the lame man from birth being healed as he was begging for money at the temple gate.
He asked Peter and John for money, but they told him they did not have silver or Gold but what they did have was even better, and they healed in through the power in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
After the lame man was healed he was excited and went into the temple with Peter and John rejoicing and leaping praising God for this miracle.
This all drew a large crowd as there was a lot of people in and coming to the temple for the evening prayer and sacrifice.
They went to Solomon’s Colonnade or portico which is a porch area, and the healed lame man remains with Peter and John.
Every body is amazed that this man that was lame from birth is now up and walking and leaping for joy, and he is now a testimony of the miracle that has taken place.
The drawling of the crowd presents the perfect opportunity for Peter and John to share the good news, to preach to the crowd, and that is what we will see this morning Peter preaching to the crowd.
If you are able will you stand with me in honor of the reading of the Word of God.
12 When Peter saw this, he addressed the people: “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us, as though we had made him walk by our own power or godliness? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied before Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14 You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer released to you. 15 You killed the source of life, whom God raised from the dead; we are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So the faith that comes through Jesus has given him this perfect health in front of all of you. 17 “And now, brothers and sisters, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your leaders also did. 18 In this way God fulfilled what he had predicted through all the prophets—that his Messiah would suffer.
Peter addresses the crowd almost in the sense as like he is charging them in court or something, but he is also doing it in a sermon. We will only get through the first half of Peter’s sermon this morning and will look at the second half next week.
This first half we see four things that Peter addresses the crowd, first he addresses the crowd, then he charges the crowd, then he gives a defense for Jesus, then he gives the outcome of what happened.
Let’s dig in.
I. The Address. Vs. 12-13
I. The Address. Vs. 12-13
12 When Peter saw this, he addressed the people: “Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us, as though we had made him walk by our own power or godliness? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied before Pilate, though he had decided to release him.
Peter sees that the crowd has grown large, and he addresses the crowd, fellow Israelites, this is emphasizing their identity as the covenant people.
That is they are not just anybody, this crowd is Israelites, the chosen people of God and with that Peter asks the crowd two questions.
First, why are you amazed at this?
This first question was not just a question but a mild rebuke, as the chosen people of God, they knew God to be a miracle-working God.
Miracles had played an important role in their history. More recently they had witnessed the miracles performed by Jesus to demonstrate that He was the Messiah.
The second question Peter asked was, why do you stare at us, as though we had made him walk by our own power or godliness?
The crowd should have know that these two Galilean fishermen had neither the power nor the holiness to perform such a feat on their own.
The crowd’s dilemma was that while they acknowledged God alone as having the power to do miracles, they had denied that Jesus was God, and that His followers had divine power granted by God.
Peter then immediately directs the attention to God and Jesus, stating to the crowd in V 13a.
Acts 3:13 (CSB)
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus,
Peter tells the crowd, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus.
Peter is connecting Jesus to the Israelites, as the Jewish people, studied the Old Testament, as at this point they did not have the New Testament as it had not been written, as it was still being lived out.
Therefore, the people could relate to the things of the Old Testament, therefore, Peter draws on the prophets, and how the prophets would describe God, as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
He tells the crowd, that God has glorified His servant Jesus, this title of servant for Jesus, is only used five times in the New Testament.
The title servant was a familiar Old Testament designation of the Messiah especially found in Isaiah.
Jesus said of Himself in Matthew 20:28
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
We see Jesus take the part of a servant in John 13:1-11 as He washes the disciples feet at the Last Supper, foot washing was the job of the lowliest of servants, and yet Jesus stopped, took a towel and water, bent down and washed the feet of his disciples, a job that they should have done for him. But he was teaching them humility and servanthood.
Peter continued his address in verse 13b
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied before Pilate, though he had decided to release him.
God glorified Jesus, the Jews handed Jesus over and denied him before Pilate, the Roman governor, but Pilate wanted to release him.
Pilate found no guilt in Jesus, Pilate declared Jesus innocent no less than six times - Luke 23:4, 16, 22; John 18:38; 19:4, 6. and Pilate repeatedly sought to release Jesus which is seen in Luke 23:13-22.
Even Pilates wife recognized that Jesus was innocent which we see in Matthew 27:19
19 While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of him.”
Peter wants the crowd to understand who he is talking about, he is talking about Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
II. The Charge. Vs. 14-15
II. The Charge. Vs. 14-15
14 You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer released to you. 15 You killed the source of life, whom God raised from the dead; we are witnesses of this.
Now peter brings the charge against the crowd, he has given them his opening remarks if you will, and now he is charging them with the crime.
He states you denied the Holy and Righteous One.
Holy One is a Messianic tittle, that Peter used on that day of Pentecost from Psalm 16:10
10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
Holy and Righteous One, Righteous caries the idea of being innocent of any crime.
The people, and surely some if not a lot of those in the crowd were there when Pilate asked Jesus or Barabbas whom should I release.
Peter reminds the crowd that they were asked about having a murderer released and they chose the murderer.
He then charges them with having killed the source of life, which we know is Jesus.
Jesus told us in John 14:6
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Right there he told us that He is the life, Jesus is the source of Life.
Peter continues with whom God raised from the dead, and we are witnesses of this.
Peter tells the crowd, yall falsely convicted Jesus, an innocent man, you had the chance to release him, but instead chose to release a murderer, then voted to have him crucified, but God raised him from the dead, and we witnessed this.
III. The Defense. V. 16
III. The Defense. V. 16
16 By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So the faith that comes through Jesus has given him this perfect health in front of all of you.
Now that Peter has charged the crowd with the crime if you will, now he turns to the defense, now he takes his side if you will.
Peter starts with, by faith in his name, whose name, that is the name of Jesus.
He is talking about the miracle here, the miracle happened because of the faith in the name of Jesus.
Because of the name of Jesus it made the lame man strong, it was not some special potion, it was not a drug, a drink, he was not faking it, it was a miracle that came through faith in the power of the name of Jesus.
Whom you see and know, Peter is referring here to the lame man, everyone in that crowd had seen that lame man a lot of times, laying at the entrance to the temple.
They probably had put money in his cup once or twice or more as they entered the temple, but they had at least pasted by him on their way in and out.
They know that he was truly lame, that this was not some kind of scam or trick, but this was truly a miracle.
Peter says this comes through faith through Jesus and He has given him this perfect health in front of all of you.
We must remember the healed - lame man is still there with Peter and John as a living testimony to the miracle.
As Peter is saying all this to the crowd they can see the healed - lame man in front of them standing, no laying on the ground any long unable to stand and walk, but standing maybe even walking around.
IV. The Outcome. Vs. 17-18
IV. The Outcome. Vs. 17-18
17 “And now, brothers and sisters, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your leaders also did. 18 In this way God fulfilled what he had predicted through all the prophets—that his Messiah would suffer.
Now that Peter has charged the crowd with the crime, and has defended the miracle, now he wraps up this section of his sermon with the outcome of the trial if you will.
Peter tells the crowd I know you acted in ignorance, because your leaders did also.
Peter is kind of like, you were just following the lead of your leaders, even though it was wrong.
But he continues with in this way God fulfilled with his plan, He had predicted all of this through the prophets.
We can go to Isaiah, and read a lot of it, and multiple others but due to the time this morning we do not have the time.
God had predicted through the prophets his plan for Jesus to come to earth as the Messiah and that Jesus would go through this denial and rejection of his own people, then be falsely accused and even though innocent be beat nearly to death, then made to carry his own cross, to Golgotha where he would be nailed to the cross and crucified, dying for our sins, place in a tomb, but three days latter raised from the dead, to defeat death and sin, in order that we can have forgiveness of our sins and have eternal life with him in heaven one day.
Jesus has ascended to heaven to prepare a place for us, if we will just accept the sacrifice that he has made for us on that cross.
As Peter said of Jesus that He is the Holy and Righteous One, well the only way we can be found Holy and Righteous is through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and that is through faith.
Remember that Righteous means innocent therefore, we need Jesus so that we can be found innocent of sin, and it is only through Jesus that we can do that.
If you have never accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, today is the day of Salvation, don’t think you have time, do not thing you are good enough, or that you can make another way, Jesus is the only way, and we do not know when we will leave this earth and step into eternity, make today your day to accept Jesus it is the greatest thing you will ever do.