There are so many Gospel Presentations these days. Most of them are tailored to suit the hearers without offending them. We call this “easy believism” because you surrender in part because the Gospel you hear is part of the Gospel. The thing you must do, according to such presenters, is not to offend people. Make the Gospel requirements so easy that people will follow what you offer! The problem is that in such cases what you offer them is not the Gospel and whatever they accept might give them peace … but it’s false peace without forgiveness and salvation.
When we became believers, there was this saying that we must avoid hell and brimstone preachers. Actually, they are the ones you want to hear because they are the ones who warn you of the consequences of refusing the true Jesus which will land you in eternal hell when you die. Apart from reading their sermons, I would have loved to hear people like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Calvin, John Knox … and further back. Peter, John, James and especially Paul! Listen to how Peter continues his sermon … and remember this sermon was because of him and John healing a crippled beggar who was such since birth.
Ac 3:13 “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 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 complete healing to him, as you can all see.”
He had already shown them that it was in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that the crippled beggar was healed and he pointed out what their God had done with Jesus … glorified Him through that miracle … that is God authenticated the Gospel to them through this miracle.
1) Peter’s sermon was pointed, confrontational and accurate.
Ac 3:13 You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
Like it or not, present or absent at Jesus trial before Pilot, the Jews as a nation were guilty of Jesus’ death. Look at how confrontational Peter is as he uses truths from Jesus trials …
(a) You handed Jesus over to be killed.
Mt 27:1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. 2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
The concepts of substitutional and representative are important. The chief priests and the elders acted as both the people’s representative and substitute as they handed Jesus over to the Pilate on behalf of the people. Their aim was to have Jesus crucified.
(b) You disowned Him before Pilate.
Mt 27:12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
Jesus was misrepresented in the trial denying He was the Messiah.
(c) You disowned the Holy and Righteous One. God had promised the Messiah in many places through the Old Testament. He would be God’s Holy One and Righteous One … yet they denied Jesus was this One.
(d) You asked for a murderer to be set free.
Mt 27:20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered.
Barabbas was an insurrectionist! It is believed he was guilty of causing riots and murder. The innocent is put to death whilst the guilty is set free.
(e) You killed the author of Life.
Mt 27:22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
Jesus is God and as God He created the human being. In this context He is the author of life, yet in Acts it refers to salvation … the author of Eternal Life!
Heb 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Heb 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
These two verses from Hebrews shows clearly that Jesus is the author of Eternal Life. They came running to see what had happened to this man who was crippled from birth … and they are told that they killed Jesus, the Father raised Him to life … and through faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ, this man was healed! See:
Ac 3:15 but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
2) Peter and John were witness to Jesus resurrection. You will recall how Jesus showed Himself to the apostles after His resurrection in the Gospels … Luke writes in Acts too:
Ac 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
They were undisputed witnesses.
3) How did the healing come? This is vital, removing all human power, effort and ability
Ac 3:16 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 complete healing to him, as you can all see.
The cripple exercised faith in the risen Jesus. Through His faith in Jesus he received complete healing. Although we are not done with the passage yet … friend, this passage intends that we see the spiritual side … faith for salvation. Faith in Jesus brings the miracle … the healing of the soul by God. Has your soul experienced the miracle of the New Birth?
Our Father, thank You that salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus’ finished work at Calvary for all who believe. Amen.