There All Along

Is there a person in your house that always finds the lost item? Everyone else may have looked for the ketchup in the refrigerator and can’t find it—but this person opens the door and snags it from behind the soy sauce. Perhaps you hear, “Honey, I can’t find my black belt!” So you smile, nudge aside your beloved, shove over the dress socks, and point to the black belt. I’m notorious for losing things. I have been guilty of: “Roy, I can’t find my talk notes for the retreat!” My precious husband peeks around the corner, waving my Bible in one hand and my talk notes in the other.Is there a person in your house that always finds the lost item? Everyone else may have looked for the ketchup in the refrigerator and can’t find it—but this person opens the door and snags it from behind the soy sauce. Perhaps you hear, “Honey, I can’t find my black belt!” So you smile, nudge aside your beloved, shove over the dress socks, and point to the black belt. I’m notorious for losing things. I have been guilty of: “Roy, I can’t find my talk notes for the retreat!” My precious husband peeks around the corner, waving my Bible in one hand and my talk notes in the other. Some people are created for detail, while others are more conceptual. Some notice detail in a certain sphere of life, while others live a detailed lifestyle. I was born for the details of a refrigerator. I can spot a ketchup bottle no matter where it hides. My husband lives a detailed lifestyle but couldn’t find a ketchup bottle if it reached out and grabbed him. This used to annoy me. Now, I try to set aside the frustration and consider with awe that my otherwise detail-oriented husband overlooked something that was there all along. When I can’t find my shoes—and Roy shows me they’re lying in the middle of the floor in the next room—I try to pause my self-loathing and consider the wonder that my eyes see but don’t perceive. Then I remember the Jews during the first century, and I praise God that they could see but didn’t perceive the Messiah. Think about what you overlook…though it’s been there all along.

Acts 3:11-12 – “While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: ‘Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?’” (emphasis added)

Peter waits to speak until he sees that his audience wants to hear his message. This is a crucial concept: People don’t care about our answers until they ask a question. God’s display of power created at least curiosity and at most yearning. Peter gave answers Jesus had given for three years to a crowd that had just now become willing to listen.

Acts 3:13-15 – “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. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” (emphasis added)

Peter establishes commonality with the Jews in the Temple by speaking of the God of “our fathers,” but he immediately and without caution lists the Jews’ sins against Jesus, God’s “glorified servant.” He then makes the distinction between “we,” the disciples, who witnessed the sins “you,” the Jews, committed.

Acts 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.”

Before the crowd could become defensive and angry, Peter re-focused their attention on the reason for their gathering. Pointing at the healed beggar standing beside him, he said, “Faith in the power of Jesus’ name healed this guy…the Jesus YOU killed.” Truth of the past collided with power in the present and silenced the crowd. Can you feel the power of this moment? Sense the walls come down and hearts open? Study it. Feel it. Know it. And then learn to recognize and use it for God’s glory in your life.

Acts 3:17-20 – “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” (emphasis added)

Consider Peter’s audience: Jews at the Temple for daily, 3 o’clock prayers. Faithful. No doubt well-versed in the writings of the Law and prophets. Yet here stood Peter, an uneducated Galilean fisherman, telling them to repent because they acted in ignorance of prophecy. Yikes! Notice, however, that Peter points out the ketchup they’ve overlooked again and again! How often do the prophets say the Christ will suffer? And yet the Jews saw only the conquering king! They, like us, saw only parts of God’s Word—the parts that tickled their ears, rather than changed their hearts. What details of God’s Word have we shoved aside? The challenge remains the same: Repent so that times of refreshing may come.

Acts 3:21-26 – “[Jesus] must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” (emphasis added)

In his final explanation, Peter stretched the crowd’s tolerance by mentioning four pillars of the Jewish faith in significantly altered roles. He unequivocally claimed Jesus as the heavenly Messiah waiting to return and restore. But His return would happen after already having come and being rejected; and the restoration wasn’t as politically cut-n-dry as the Jews once imagined. Moses, normally touted as the Lawgiver, was quoted as a prophet, who forecasted a Messiah similar to Moses himself. Samuel, the anointer of kings, was included in the prophets who foretold Jesus’ suffering. And finally, Abraham, the holy and revered father of the Jewish nation, was quoted as foretelling a Christ who would bless all nations. Jewish mothers began teaching their children about the Messiah, Moses, Samuel, and Abraham from the moment they can understand words. The men listening to Peter had read and heard the Scriptures read dozens, possibly hundreds, of times. But they missed Jesus in those Scriptures—though He was there all along… Now, Peter was showing them new nuggets of Truth in God’s Word.

  • Lord, I want that! I want to see a nugget of hidden treasure each time I open Your Word! I want to feel that awe and wonder when Your Holy Spirit reveals a new message in the words I’ve read dozens of times. And most of all, I pray for the wisdom and boldness to share it and declare it as I should.

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