“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus … By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this compete healing to him, as you can all see …
“Repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord …” (verses 13, 16, 19)
Talk about eyes on Jesus. That’s what this whole chapter is about. The lame man is abruptly beckoned by Peter, saying, “Look at us!”(verse 4). In so doing, the man encounters Jesus and his healing presence, being pulled to his feet by his right hand and feeling his limbs, long immobile, instantly grow strong and vigorous. All in Jesus’ name.
Peter, of course, wonderfully can’t help himself and addresses the quickly growing crowd with the assertion, “It’s not us – it’s Jesus!”
This powerful sign of Jesus’ person and presence leads to clear understanding for those who will embrace it. This same crowd (at least in part) had previously indicted Jesus as fraud and blasphemer, disowning him utterly and demanding his execution on a Roman cross. But that verdict could no longer stand. As Peter says, God himself (yes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!) has glorified Jesus, raising him from the dead, proving him to be the author of life.
The people cursed him, but God crowned him with honour.
What a shock to find oneself so completely off-side with God.
Yet here is the moment for turn around. Don’t stay stuck. Turn. Repent. Receive the gracious times of refreshing. This is the heart of God. Though one might well expect judgement for disowning the Holy and Righteous One, the Lord’s first inclination is, instead, grace. “When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways” (verse 26).
I stand amazed at this sighting. The Father sent Jesus in the first place as an act of unfettered grace. He knew our sinful hearts needed redemption and that no other Saviour would suffice. But we, a sinful humanity, conspired and joined in the rejection and execution of the One who was sent (just as those vineyard owners did in Jesus’ parable). What could we expect but an outpouring of deserved wrath and judgement.
Yet grace continues.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God …” (Ephesians 2:8).
So, receive the gift. Acknowledge Jesus. Embrace the Saviour. Focus eyes on him.
With abiding thankfulness.
Father, thank you for your enduring grace extended to me in the person of your Son. I am forever thankful. Praise your name.
Reflect: Pause several times this day and give thanks, again, for grace poured out. What we deserved, we did not receive. What we never earned, has been given. Give thanks.
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash