Acts 3:17 -26
17 And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.18 But the things which God foreshowed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled.19 Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;20 and that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus:21 whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, whereof God spake by the mouth of His holy prophets that have been from of old.22 Moses indeed said, A prophet shall the Lord God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me. To him shall ye hearken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you.23 And it shall be, that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.24 Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days.25 Ye are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.
Unintended Consequences. Our country is governed by a system of elected representatives that make and pass laws constantly. The laws that are forged and passed do not always work out the way that the congress intends. An entire body of legal and cultural literature has emerged that showcases and highlights what are known as ‘unintended consequences’. The unintended consequences can range from the simple to the absurd. The facts remain that once a piece of legislation is enacted, both good and ill effects become very evident.
In the text we are studying today, The Apostle Peter completes his second sermon. Peter points out that the Jewish leaders crucified Jesus Christ. Here are some of the more biting remarks:
a. You Did This In Ignorance: Peter lets the political and social leaders of his day ‘off the hook’ a bit by soothing their broken souls with the reality that although they crucified Christ, their actions were done in pure ignorance.
The ignorance does not equate to innocence. Their actions still stood. Christ came. Christ preached and healed. Christ lived the only exemplary life ever lived. Christ was wrongly accused by the political and social leaders of his day. Christ was wrongly crucified. Christ died. Christ rose again.
b. God Foretold They Would Act This Way: isn’t it something that God knew and even foretold what would happen…and it still took place? I find it stunning that the very people who performed such heinous and audacious acts did so with full knowledge that there were other options presented to them.
c. Repent and Be Refreshed: Peter lets the social and religious leaders of his day know that the very Christ whom they put to death–wrongly so–is the very source of their own healing and restoration.
Lessons To Live By From This Acts Bible Study:
a. Unintended Consequences: all of us act and behave in ways that we are ignorant to the potential outcomes. Sometimes we act brashly or even brazenly. Other times, we move timidly into being ‘torn assunder’. What I do know is that our actions bring about results and many times the consequences of our actions trigger events that none of us can ever imagine possible.
b. Christ Redeems and Refreshes: all of us live in the grace age. This is no excuse for our sins. Neither is it a blotter that wipes out the unintended consequences. But Christ can and does redeem each and every situation. Peter here reminds us that ‘seasons of refreshing’ are possible.
On this day, look hard and fast at your own life, as I turn the tables and focus on my own. Where there is injury, beg for pardon. Where there is despair, ask God to send hope. Where there is doubt aplenty, source God for the faith thru the holy spirit to bring about a way of escape and sustainability.
The Acts Bible Study has taught us this far:
a. The Holy Spirit is present and active in our world and daily life
b. The Beloved Community is at work from the inception of the church
c. Healing and hope are the essence of the Christian message
d. Repentance and refreshing are c0-enjoined
Next time we will see that goodness either manifested or attempted often brings cruelty from those who neither seek its peeking face, or outright oppose its presence.