Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 3:17-22
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 3:17
v17: Peter bluntly confronted the crowd with their collective guilt (vs13-14). But he also assured them that they were not hopelessly beyond the reach of God’s salvation by saying, “And now, brothers, I know your past actions against Jesus were done in ignorance, and your leaders were also ignorant” (paraphrased). What they had done was terribly wrong, but they had been deceived rather than deliberately defiant, and because of that fact it was likely that their hearts were still capable of repenting when shown the truth (1Ti 1:12-14). Peter very generously included their “rulers” in this statement, which in particular meant the high priest and Sanhedrin (Ac 4:5, 6). While some in the Sanhedrin must have been deceived, others including Annas and Caiaphas (Jn 18:12-14) were not. They did know Jesus was the Messiah but rejected Him because they didn’t want to surrender to Him their positions of authority. This is exactly what Jesus told them using a parable about a vineyard (Mt 21:33-41), and they fully understood that this parable was targeted at them (Mt 21: 45, 46). So the idea that all the rulers were ignorant would have been more than Peter meant to say.

Monday: Acts 3:18
v18: Peter then confronts them with the fact that the nation did just what the prophets said they would do (Act 7:53). He tells them that over the course of Israel’s history all of its prophets, in one way or another, had described what would be done to Jesus, and they had done it, down to the last detail. Peter’s statement that all the prophets had declared that God’s Messiah would suffer went directly against the popular belief that the Messiah would only come in power and glory. This is a truth Peter himself had not understood earlier (Mt 16:21-23). It’s the central issue being debated here, because once a person acknowledges that the Scriptures do speak of a suffering Messiah, as well as a glorious Messiah, then it becomes quite obvious that the prophets were pointing to Jesus.

Tuesday: Acts 3:18
v18 (continued): The prophetic description of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection is stunningly accurate, down to the smallest detail. But it requires a major shift in thinking to see it. If all a person had been taught is that Messiah will someday come and overthrow Israel’s enemies and set up a glorious kingdom, the passages which describe a suffering and rising “servant” simply make no sense, and therefore are overlooked. So Peter is challenging the crowd to re-think their assumptions, to reflect on the recent events surrounding the crucifixion and to see how literally they fulfilled such passages as Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (v13 “his servant Jesus”). And even if they were not ready to acknowledge these events, there was still an undeniable miracle standing right in front of them.

Wednesday: Acts 3:19, 20
vs19-20: Now Peter calls for decision. He tells the crowd to stop thinking the way they had been thinking and to turn instead toward “the wiping away (blotting out with oil) of your sins” (Ps 51:6). He’s asking them to admit that they were personally responsible for murdering the Messiah, but also to trust that His death atoned for their sins (Isa 53:4-6). He says if they will do this “seasons of refreshing (lit: to make cool, bring relief) may come from the presence (lit: face) of the Lord….” In other words, if Israel would undergo a general, nation-wide repentance, and turn to Jesus, there would be a wide-spread pouring out of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. By the term “seasons of refreshing” Peter is describing the strong sense of God’s presence which had accompanied the disciples since Pentecost. Then he adds, “…and He may send the Messiah whom He chose (lit: hand-picked) beforehand for you, namely, Jesus.”

Thursday: Acts 3:21
v21: At some point in the future, the Father will also send Jesus back from heaven to bring Israel’s promised “restoration.” This same word is used in Acts 1:6 when the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Throughout the prophets there is a recurring theme about the glories of the last-days Messianic kingdom (Isa 60, 61). Repeatedly we are told that when Messiah comes He will “restore” a number of things to Israel which had been lost, including a regathering of Jews who had been scattered into other lands, a reestablishing of the security and position of Israel among the nations of the world, and great agricultural abundance. But by far the most important aspect of this restoration will be the return of God’s Spirit. In a vision, Ezekiel watched the Holy Spirit depart from the holy of holies, leave the city, and “stand” over the Mount of Olives (Ezk 9:3; 10:4, 18, 19; 11:22-24). He later saw a vision of God’s Spirit (“the glory of the God of Israel”) returning to a new temple (Ezk 43:1-5) which will exist during the Messianic age (Ezk 40-48).

Friday: Acts 3:22
v22: The fact that the Messiah had to suffer first, to atone for sin, does not in any way alter the many prophetic promises that He will restore the kingdom to Israel (Ac 1:6). That “times of restoring” will come is unquestionable. “All the prophets” spoke of it (v24). Peter is telling the crowd that the Messiah Jesus will come again, and when He does it will be as the promised “second-Moses.” Before he died, Moses gave a remarkable promise to Israel. He said, “The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet from among your brothers, like me. Him you shall hear according to all things whatsoever he may speak to you” (literal) (Dt 18:15). He was not simply affirming a general truth that God would raise up more prophets in future generations. The words “like me” are very significant. In effect, he was saying, “Another Moses will come. Someone will rise up to lead you as powerfully as I have.” It takes only a moment’s reflection to realize what sort of person this will be. Moses led the people out of bondage, he was the mediator of a covenant at Sinai, he interceded for the people in their sin, he performed amazing miracles, including bread from heaven and water from a rock, he spoke to God directly and brought God’s word to the people, and he led them to the promised land (R.K. Harrison, “Deuteronomy,” The New Bible Commentary, Revised, Eerdmann, 1971, p221). No prophet in history even came close to doing all that, which is why the nation was still waiting for that person to arrive (1:21, 24, 25; 6:14; 7:40, 41).

Saturday: Acts 3:22
v22 (continued): Moses exercised supreme human authority in Israel’s spiritual governmental and military matters. The patriarchs also held such authority over their households, but after Moses, no one in Israel’s history, not even their kings were permitted to do this. Kings could lead in government and military matters, but never were they allowed to conduct priestly duties. That privilege was reserved for the tribe of Levi. Saul was severely disciplined by God for crossing over this barrier by performing a burnt offering (1Sa 13:8-14). So when Moses speaks of a prophet “like me,” something very special must happen for this to take place. This is why the author of Hebrews carefully explains that Jesus is a priest “according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 5:5-10). He shows us why Jesus, who was born into the tribe of Judah (the tribe of kings) also has the right to be our high priest since God had only given those privileges to the tribe of Levi. He explained that Jesus belongs to an order of priesthood which is superior to the priesthood of Israel. So, like Moses, spiritual and governmental authority can be combined, and the barrier can be crossed. Jesus is also the greatest of all prophets (Heb 1:1, 2) and will be a fierce military commander who will lead the armies of heaven against the antichrist’s forces (Rev 19:11-16).

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