2001-05-11 - Messiah: His Final Call to Israel
Messiah: His Final Call to Israel Series, Part 31
The Apostles Peter and John were going up to the Temple to Pray. At the door of the Temple called Beautiful, a lame man was laid daily, who asked alms of those entering. Naturally he asked Peter for assistance. In response Peter and John declared that they had no money -- but that they had something that was better than money for him: "What I have, that give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." By the authority of the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Peter commanded the lame man to walk -- telling him to do what he could not of himself do. But let us remember that God's commandings are His enabling. By faith, the man leaped and began to walk around, being totally restored to normal condition.
This miracle of healing was manifest to all. Immediately a great crowd assembled in Solomon's porch. Being amazed at the miracle, and not understanding the situation, the people seemed to think that Peter by his own power had restored the man. Peter disclaimed special godliness or power. Then he explained that God had honored His Servant Jesus, whose power had restored the lame man. Peter's use of the term "His Servant Jesus" is without a doubt an echo of the great servant passage of Isaiah 52:13-53:12. This truth becomes evident to the one who reads Isaiah 53:1-9 in the light of Acts 3:13-16. In order that we might see most clearly God's eight-point program for Israel, Peter's sermon on this occasion must be analyzed.
Acts 3:13-26 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Servant Jesus, whom ye delivered up, and denied before the face of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. But ye denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed the Prince of life -- whom God raised from the dead -- whereof we are witnesses. And by faith in his name hath his name made this man strong, whom ye behold and know: Yea, the faith which is through him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But the things which God foreshowed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. 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, and that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus -- 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. 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. And it shall be, that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people." Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days. 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." Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.
Have you ever watched a game of checkers? Often one man would make a move, but the other one would wait as he thought of the various possibilities of each move that might be made. Finally, his opponent would say, " It's your move." His suggestion did not make the other man move. In my childish fancy and ignorance I wanted to move for the man. Each one had to confine himself to the rules of the game, exercising his own will as to various moves without coercion from the other.
Knowing all future events, without predetermining the free actions of men but overruling all events for the good of all concerned, God is, figuratively speaking, engaged in the great game of life, with Israel His Chosen People. Each makes his move or moves in his turn. There are eight points or moves in this great game. God made the first move by sending the promised Messiah on scheduled time and according to the Scriptures. Israel made the second move by rejecting Him and demanding His execution. Then God made the third move by raising Him from the dead and inviting Him to ascend into Heaven and to sit at His right hand where He has been ever since and where He will remain until Israel, learning the real facts of the case, repudiates the national sin of rejecting Him and pleads for His return. The first three moves of this eight-point program have already been made.
In Acts 3:19-20 the Apostle Peter calls upon Israel as a nation to repent and to turn again.
Acts 3:19-20 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, and that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus.
Since the Jewish people as a group have never done either of these things, and since they were commanded to do them, they will yet do them, both in the letter and in the spirit of the command. There are two words in the Greek language that are translated "repent." One of them means "to be sorry, to regret, and to have remorse of conscience." The other means "with the mind or thinking." One abridged Greek lexicon gives the definition as follows: "To change the thoughts, purposes, and intentions of the heart or mind." This definition is concise and true to usage.
In fulfillment of the prophecies regarding the Messiah, Jesus came and literally fulfilled every prediction relating to His first coming. Not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God, most of the leaders of Israel rejected Him.
John 1:11-12 He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name.
But in rejecting Jesus, in their blindness, the leaders simply carried out what God had revealed they would do.
Acts 3:17-18 And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But the things which God foreshowed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled.
In the command that all Israel repent, God calls upon the nation to change their thoughts, plans, and purposes regarding Jesus of Nazareth. In issuing this command for the nation to repent regarding their actions and their attitude toward Jesus, God said what he meant and meant what He said.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent. Hath he said, and will he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and will he not make it good?
The Lord not only called upon Israel to repent but also to turn again. Next week we will discuss the meaning of this term "turn again" in the light of this context. Until then, please pray for the peace of Jerusalem and may God bless you.
In His Service,