In last week’s post about Acts 3:13, I mentioned that I firststalled on the first seven words of the verse. The rest of the verse was no less powerful!
First we see the combination of those first seven words with the following five words.
At first glance, these two phrases seem redundant. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the patriarchs of the entire Jewish nation. So, referring to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and as “the God of our fathers” should technically mean the same thing.
But, Peter is trying to make a point here. The people are looking upon Peter and John in utter amazement. They have just done something incredible by healing the lame beggar. So, there must be something very unique about them, right?
Peter points out which God he’s talking about (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), and then he ties himself and John to the people by stating that he, too, is descended from these great men. He and John are the same as the crowd – common Jewish men.
With the next phrase, Peter pulls Jesus into the picture. He connects Jesus to the fulfillment promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Suddenly Jesus is no longer just a fascinating teacher and prophet who has been recently crucified. Now He is the living, breathing fulfillment of what the Jews have been awaiting for generations!
But, then comes the final sentence in the verse. Peter has tied himself and John to the crowd by heritage. He has tied Jesus to the fulfillment of the promise given through the patriarchs. But, now he is reintroducing the idea of a uniqueness between the two apostles and the crowd. It is a uniqueness that ties the two of them to Jesus and leaves out the crowd. You see, the crowd crucified Jesus. He and John followed Jesus.
And there is the difference. There is the reason why Peter and John have the power to heal. That is why the people are standing in amazement, wondering how in the world men could have such power.
What follows in the next verses is a simple oration by Peter, explaining to the people that if they repent and accept that Jesus is the promised Messiah, then they, too, will be able to anticipate involvement in the wondrous works of the Holy Spirit.
Wow. In two simple sentences this uneducated fisherman wove together a picture of the need for repentance.
We sit back sometimes and wonder at the lives of great men and women of faith. We wonder what they have that we do not. We wonder why their lives seem so much more fruitful.
It doesn’t take anything or anyone out of the ordinary or special to accomplish such things. It takes people who are willing to follow Jesus. Not just say a prayer and invite Him into our hearts, but truly follow Him. To those people He gives the power to do great things. To those people He gives the right words at the right time. Those people He uses.
So, the question comes to us. Who will we be? Will we stand around amazed at what we see? Or will we move through life expecting the great hand of God to work through us?