Acts 3-4 B

It’s fun to read this after Isaiah. The list of places the Jews at Pentecost were from, in Acts 2:9-11, is similar to the one in Isaiah 66:19.

The Day has arrived and the international-ness of it all cannot be ignored. However, we need to remember that, so far, the audience is entirely Jewish.

I want to focus on 3:17-26. It is a beautiful invitation to the people of Israel to recognize Jesus as their long awaited Messiah, and also, a tender plea to not stay in the anger and shame of having just sentenced Him to death. It was prophesied long ago, and is able to be forgiven.

“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” (3:17-21)

I think every confrontation of sin can be taken as either A) a decent into anger and shame, or B) an invitation to recognize, repent and discover grace and forgiveness.

How do you respond when your sinfulness is revealed? It is human nature to retreat, then blame-shift, as demonstrated by Adam and Eve in the garden. It is God’s nature to come after us and offer a covering.

What was happening with the disciples was undeniably powerful, but also condemning to the Jewish leaders. Don’t we all need to confess our sins, whether committed out of fear or loathing, and admit we sentenced Jesus to death?

Know that admittance of sin is no longer for condemnation.

“It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘ AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” (3:25-26‬)

We are set free in order to be better conduits or blessing. What needs to be removed from our lives today, in order to make room for healing and blessing?

-Bethany

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