Having gathered a crowd by healing a lame man, Peter has just confronted them with the fact that they had a hand in killing the messiah. “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled”(Acts 3:17-18). He gives them the benefit of the doubt (“I know that you acted in ignorance”) but asserts that they have now become the means by which God has fulfilled his prophecies about the messiah’s suffering.
Yet there is hope. “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out”(Acts 3:19). Peter does not specify what repentance entails, but it certainly will mean a different disposition toward Jesus and a resulting change in life. This is done in hope that sins can be forgiven or “blotted out” so that God no longer holds them guilty. Repentance is also important so that “times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago”(Acts 3:20-21). Peter speaks of a time when Jesus will return to refresh and restore all things. Jesus’ ascension is not the end of Christian hope; we now live in anticipation of the finalizing of God’s plan to redeem the world.
Passages like this show how breathtaking God’s grace is. The very people who acted to kill Jesus are now offered the opportunity to be forgiven by the blood they have shed. As redeemed people, we rejoice in the hope of God “restoring all things” upon the return of Jesus. Our past is sad but our future is glorious!
------------- One Thing to Think About: How will God “restore all things”?
One Thing to Pray For: The return of Jesus to usher in times of refreshing
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