Acts 3:12-26 - Peter’s Second Sermon: Points for Preaching About Jesus
*At this point Peter began to preach his second sermon. When we compare Peter’s first sermon with this one, we find some differences. Yet there are similarities too, because regardless of the circumstances, Peter was trying to do the same thing here as on the earlier occasion: He was trying to point his listeners to Jesus as the Savior of the world. He also confronted them with their sin, appealed for their repentance, and gave reasons to repent and believe.
When you think about Christianity, do you think primarily about Jesus Christ? And do you understand who Jesus is by the words and doctrines of the Bible? Without Jesus you do not have Christianity, and the Jesus of Christianity is the Bible’s Jesus. To be a Christian is to have a personal relationship with him. Therefore Peter was preaching about him in this sermon.
The points that should be preached and taught throughout the world are clearly seen in this passage.
· A crowd gathered—Peter grasped the opportunity (v.12).
· Point 1: the source of power and holiness (v.12-13).
· Point 2: the death of Jesus (v.13-15).
· Point 3: the resurrection of Jesus (v.15).
· Point 4: Jesus’ name made a man perfectly sound (v.16).
· Point 5: there is no excuse—God foretold the Messiah’s death (v.17-18).
· Point 6: repentance and conversion (v.19).
· Point 7: Jesus’ return and the restoration of all things (v.20-21).
· Point 8: judgment (v.22-24).
· Point 9: a warning—you are especially privileged and blessed (v.25-26).
A. A crowd gathered (v.12a).
1. “So when Peter saw it…” (v.12a).
a) Peter grasped the opportunity.
(1) Note: lessons about grasping the opportunity.
(a) Opportunities come and go: This can be summed up in two simple words: missed opportunity. Opportunities come and go, and once they are gone, they are gone for good!
(b) Caring about what others think: what other people think about us should never keep us from showing our love and faith in the Lord Jesus. Our witness should always be strong for Christ.
(2) Causes for missing an opportunity are caused by:
(a) Putting Yourself First (Luke 9:57-10:1-2)
(b) Making Excuses (Luke 14:16-24)
(c) Not Willing (Matt.23:37)
(d) Being To Busy (Luke 2:1-7)—”there was no room for them in the inn”
(e) Being Unprepared (Luke 12:35-40)
(f) Luke 10:29-37—“he passed on the other side”
b) We must grasp the opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16):
(1) The Bible Warns Those Who Think They Will Always Have Time To Do What They Should.
(a) When Noah and his family entered the ark and shut the door, the opportunity for any other person to be saved from the flood was gone.
(b) The five foolish virgins who let their oil run out before the bridegroom came were shut out from the wedding feast (Matt.25:8–10).
(c) To the unbelieving Pharisees He said, “I go away, and you shall seek Me, and shall die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come” (John 8:21).
(d) After centuries of God’s offering His grace to Israel, Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37).
(e) Judas, the most tragic example of wasted opportunity, spent three years in the very presence of the Son of God yet he betrayed His Lord and forfeited his soul.
Peter said, “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth” (1 Pet. 1:17).
In his farewell remarks to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, Paul said, “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24).
(f) Paul’s course was prescribed by God, and within that course he would minister to the utmost until his last breath. He was determined to run with endurance the race that was set before him (Heb.12:1).
At the end of his life he therefore could say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2Tim. 4:7).
The Psalmist requests "Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor." (Psalm 39:4-5, NKJV)
He goes on to say in Psalm 90 "So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NKJV)
James warned, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:13–14).
c) There is no Assurance of tomorrow (Luke 12:16-21).
B. Point 1: The source of power and holiness (v.12b-13a).
1. “Why look so intently at us as by our own power or godliness this man walks …” (v.12b).
a) This power is not of man (v.12b).
(1) Peter made the fact clear. Power and holiness are not of men. God does not work miracles for men to be glorified. Look at exactly what Peter said:
(a) “Why do you marvel at this” – Miracles should not surprise or puzzle men, for God is all powerful, able to work miracles, therefore, miracles should be expected.
(b) “Why look so intently at us” – Peter is saying that we are not the source of this miracle. Man has no merit no power to work such a miracle. God had worked the miracle.
(c) “The power and holiness is of God’s Son” – In working miracles, God is glorifying His Son, His Servant Jesus. Declaring this is the power of Jesus Christ.
When a paralytic was brought to Jesus, before he healed him, Jesus said "So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home." (Matthew 9:6, NASB95)
Jesus said to His disciples in Matt.28 "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18, NASB95)
When Jesus calmed the sea the disciples "were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?" (Luke 8:25, NASB95)
Speaking about Jesus, in chapter 1 of Romans, Paul said Jesus "Was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord," (Romans 1:4, NASB95)
(2) Acts 14:11-18 – Here we see another example of people wanting to glorify man.
2. “The God of our fathers glorified His Servant Jesus…” (v.13b).
a) This power is of God’s Son (v.13a).
(1) Peter was declaring that “the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers” has done this miracle. He has glorified His Son, not us.
(2) God’s Son, His Servant, is Jesus. God worked the miracle to glorify His Servant; therefore, it is Jesus’ power, holiness, Person that is to be glorified.
Listen to this powerful verse, Jesus says "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”" (John 3:35-36)
C. Point 2: The death of Jesus (v.13b-15a).
1. “Whom you delivered up…” (v.13b).
a) Men “delivered up” God’s Servant (v.13b).
(1) It was not only the men of Jesus’ day who put Jesus on the cross. It is every man who has ever lived. No man would have done differently. This is the very point of His death.
(a) Jesus died for every man’s sin.
(b) It was every man’s sin that necessitated His death.
(2) No man is exempt from God’s love; no man is exempt from the death of Jesus. Every man’s sins are covered by God’s love and Jesus’ death.
(a) Therefore, every man—in all the arrogance and rebellion and denial of his sins—delivered Jesus up to the cross and killed Him.
(b) It was for my sins He died. It was my sins that put Him on the cross.
Paul makes this clear when he says that "The love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NASB95)
(3) Peter proclaims that the God of the covenant, the God of the patriarchs and the prophets, has glorified His servant.
(a) Pais (servant) is an unusual title for our Lord, appearing only here, (v. 26; 4:27, 30; Matt.12:18). It describes Jesus as God’s personal representative or ambassador.
(b) Servant, however, was a familiar Old Testament designation of Messiah (Isa.42:1, 19; 49:5–7). It receives its fullest exposition in the familiar passage in (Is.52:13–53:12):
(c) Matthew identifies Jesus as the Servant of Isaiah’s prophecy as in (Matt.12:18–21) and he quotes (Is.42:1–4)and applies it to Him:
We read in Isaiah 42 Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. And in His name the Gentiles will hope.
Jesus said of Himself, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28).
In John 8:28 He added, “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”
(4) When His suffering was over, God glorified Jesus, exalting Him to the position of honor at His right hand (Acts 2:33; 5:31; Phil. 2:9–11; Heb. 7:26).
!!! 2. “You denied in the presence of Pilate when he was determined to let Him go…” (v.13c).
a) Men denied Him, even when He was innocent (v.13c).
(1) Even the Roman governor, Pilate, recognized this (Matt.27:2, 11-26).
(2) Jesus was innocent of the crimes with which He was charged.
(3) There was no charge against Him that was justified. He was being rejected and condemned because men did not like His claims.
(a) He claimed to be the Son of God.
(b) He claimed that men had to deny self completely, to give God everything, all they were and had. If they wished to follow God and live eternally, they had to surrender.
(4) As a Roman, Pilate came from a people with a strong tradition of justice.
(a) To condemn a man he believed innocent went against that tradition. Yet Pilate had no choice. The Jewish leaders had him backed into a corner.
(b) They had already complained to Rome and put his position in jeopardy. Another complaint would probably have cost him his place as governor.
3. “But you denied the Holy One and the Just…” (v.14a).
a) Men denied Him, the Holy One and the Just (v.14a).
(1) Holy means to be separated to God:
(2) Jesus is not only holy by nature but separated to God to do His will.
In John 6:38 He said, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
(3) Holy One is also a messianic title.
Psalm 16:10, a messianic passage quoted by Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, reads, “For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.”
Speaking for the rest of the disciples, Peter said, “We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God” (John 6:69).
Even the demons knew the truth that Jesus was the Holy One (Luke 4:34).
(4) Israel’s guilt in rejecting Him was both monumental and inexcusable and placed them in open rebellion against God.
4. “You asked for a murderer to be granted to you…” (v.14c).
a) Men desired a murderer before God’s Servant (v.14b).
(1) Righteous carries the idea of being innocent of any crime.
Remember when Jesus said "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?" (John 8:46, NASB95)
(a) Faced with the choice between Jesus, their innocent Messiah, and the guilty murderer Barabbas, they chose the Barabbas.
(b) “Barabbas” means “son of father,” an interesting earthly contrast to Jesus, who was the “Son of the Father” in heaven.
(c) Even pagans, such as Pilate’s wife (Matt. 27:19) and a Roman centurion (Luke 23:47), recognized what Israel could not—that Jesus was innocent and righteous.
!!! 5. “You killed the Prince of Life…” (v.15a).
a) Men killed the Prince of Life (v.15a).
(1) Peter has been presenting a series of paradoxes.
(a) Although Jesus was a servant, God exalted Him.
(b) He was their deliverer, yet the nation delivered him to Pilate.
(c) They rejected the Holy and Righteous One in favor of an unholy, unjust murderer.
(d) Now he comes to the greatest paradox of all. They put to death the Prince of life, while asking for the release of one who took life, Barabbas.
(2) Prince of life – It refers to the originator, pioneer, or beginner of something.
(a) Hebrews 2:10 uses it in the phrase “author of salvation.”
(b) In Hebrews 12:2 it describes Jesus as the “author” of faith. Here Peter uses it to describe Jesus as the originator of life.
(c) That is a claim of deity for Jesus, since Ps.36:9 describes God as the “fountain of life.”
(3) The New Testament repeatedly describes Jesus as the source of life:
In the prologue to his gospel, John writes, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Jn 1:4).
In his first epistle, he adds, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11).
Speaking of Jesus later in that chapter John wrote “This is the true God and eternal life” (1Jn 5:20).
Jesus also claimed to be the source of life, in John 5:26 He said, “Just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.”
He declared to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies” (John 11:25),
While in John 14:6 He says simply, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
(4) When Peter begins to talk about the sin of the people he uses the word “you” (the second person plural pronoun) four times.
(a) In the previous sermon he only used it in that way once: “You, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:23).
(b) Now he says, “You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead” (vv. 13–15).
(c) Peter is saying this in the very city where the people had cried out against Jesus, saying, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
(d) He is speaking to these same people, perhaps with the very same leaders who had urged them to cry out looking on, and he is saying, You did it; you crucified him.
(e) The verbs are powerful, too: “You handed him over to be killed. You disowned [him]. You killed the author of life” (italics mine).
(5) Peter did not allow people’s feelings to stand in the way of preaching clearly.
(a) We need to realize that we are all to blame for the death of Christ in one way or another. Even though we were not there at the time Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified, it was our sins that took him there.
!! D. Point 3: The resurrection of Jesus (v.15b).
1. “Whom God raised from the dead…” (v.15b).
a) Who raised Jesus from the dead?
(1) Peter, speaking of the resurrection says, Jesus, the Prince of life, was the one whom God raised from the dead.
(a) That was a fact to which Peter and the apostles were witnesses (1 Cor. 15:3–7). If Jesus had not risen from the dead, that claim would have been easy to disprove.
(b) Had the Jewish leaders been able to produce Jesus’ dead body, the church would have been stillborn. But they could not and did not.
(2) The Scriptures talk about all persons of the Trinity having part in this.
(a) God the Father (Acts 3:15; 2:24; Eph.1:20)
(b) Jesus Christ (John 2:19; 10:18)
(c) The Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18)
E. Point 4: Jesus’ name made a man perfectly sound (v.16).
1. And in His name, through faith in His name…the faith which comes through Him…” (v.16).
a) It was Jesus’ name (v.16a).
(1) It is the name of Jesus alone that makes a man sound. Jesus alone has the power and holiness, merit and virtue to make a man sound.
(2) Perfect Soundness: to be whole: to be perfectly sound in all of one’s parts; to be perfectly complete and entire. It means the man was perfectly sound in both body and soul.
Jesus said in John 14 that "Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13, NKJV)
He goes on to say in chapter 15 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:16, NKJV)
Here is another promise "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you." (John 16:23, NKJV)
b) It was faith in Jesus’ name (v.16b).
(1) It is faith in Jesus’ name that makes a man sound. Both the messenger of God and the person who needs help must believe in the power of Jesus to make a person sound.
(2) God is not pleased with anyone who does not believe,
The writer of Hebrews makes this clear when he says "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV)
(3) Faith is always necessary:
Speaking to the centurion whose servant was sick, Jesus said “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour." (Matthew 8:13, NKJV)
Jesus said to the blind men "According to your faith let it be to you.” Matthew 9:29, NKJV)
!!!!! (4) What about unbelief (Matt.13:58)?
(a) All of the miracles were done to strengthen the faith of those who believed in Him.
(b) But although God can perform miracles where there is no belief, He chose not to perform them where there was hard and willful unbelief.
(c) Unbelief, then, became a barrier to divine blessing, and because of the unbelief of the people of Nazareth, Jesus did not do many miracles there.
Jesus warned, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matt. 7:6).
The hardened unbeliever despises the precious truths and blessings of God and will even use them against the Lord and His people if he can.
Jesus refused to bend to the request of the hypocritical scribes “He said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet’ ” (Matt.12:39).
(5) The man born blind (John 9:2-3):
(a) After the man’s sight was restored while he was washing in the pool of Siloam as Jesus had commanded, his neighbors could hardly believe he was the same person.
(b) He was brought before the Pharisees. Because Jesus dared to “work” on the Sabbath by performing a miracle, some of them were certain Jesus could not be from God.
(c) Others argued that a person who was not from God could never do such things.
(d) When the man was called back the second time, the leaders said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner,” referring to Jesus.
(e) After they dismissed the man, Jesus came to him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He said ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him.”
Then Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind.”
In reply to some of the Pharisees who asked Him, “we are not blind too, are we?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, “We see,” your sin remains”(see John 9:6–41).