This passage in Acts is a picture of a newly formed church, complete with new members who are filled with love for each other, gathering together, taking communion together, seeing miraculous events, supporting and compassionate towards others – it all sounds too good to be true! The glass-half-full among us would be excited to read this, the cynics would say it won’t last!
It is a great picture of what any church could look like. Unfortunately, it seems that while many of these new converts had taken the name “Christian” they did not understand the need to personally allow their heart to be changed and really look to have a relationship with this risen Christ. Nevertheless, the Lord blessed them and added to their number day by day those who were being saved. A reminder that God is in charge of who will be in his kingdom!
I remember with great clarity hearing the story at a Sunday School lesson many years ago of the lame man who went “walking and leaping and praising God.” The song is rattling around in my head now! What a perfect opportunity for Peter to address the jubilant crowd! I wonder whether any crowd would have stayed to listen to his incriminating diatribe if they hadn’t been so buoyed up from witnessing the miraculous healing. Peter didn’t hold back. He was not afraid to confront their sin, and he shows amazing boldness. One commentator says that “the miracle of the speech of Peter is a far more wonderful one than the miracle wrought in the healing of the man who lay at the Beautiful Gate.” (Morgan)
His strong words from verse 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, then the revelation, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
A strong message pointing all healing and power to Jesus. Peter knew that saving faith did not come by seeing or hearing about miracles. We read in Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. A simple message to new Christians – Jesus healed all sorts of people when He walked this earth, and he continues to heal from heaven?
The Job monologue is 2 chapters long and begins with so many metaphors to describe his grief. (I think with all that he has suffered he can take as long as he likes to grieve!) His request for God to let him die in verses 8 and 9 gives an indication how low he is feeling. “Oh that I might have my request, and that God would fulfil my hope, that it would please God to crush me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!
Job’s friends are encouraging him to plea bargain with God and put everything behind him, but the problem is, Job feels he is innocent! His friends want him to confess his sins, but what sins are they?
Aren’t we so blessed to be under the new covenant. We have a risen Lord who has already removed our sins so we can stand forgiven and redeemed before Job’s God. Our God. Let us rejoice and be glad in that!