Our scripture this morning is Acts 3:17-22.
Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. ‘
In this passage Peter speaks to a group assembled outside the temple, recounting what had happened just a few months before, as the leaders and many of the people called for the crucifixion of Jesus. Peter says that despite their actions, Jesus was and is there for them, ready to forgive them when they come to Him in repentance. He teaches them that even this awful occurrence is being used by God to save His people.
Jesus foretold His death many times in scripture and in one instance rebuked Peter for saying it wouldn’t happen (Matthew 16:21-28). Peter certainly remembered that incident as he taught here, and that Jesus also said “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Jesus never promised it would be easy, but He did promise it would be worth it.
We must remember these facts in our world today, as we face distrust and violence across our world. Jesus calls each of us to repent and be refreshed by His love and His sacrifice for us. As Peter told those gathered then, so it is now – only through our acceptance of God’s Messiah can we be saved.
Loving Lord, thank You for the gift of Your son, who was obedient even unto death and taught us all how much You love us. May we go in Your name to share that love with all the world. Amen.