“Friends, I realise that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that He must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything He tells you.’ Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.’
“Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up His servant, Jesus, He sent Him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.” (Acts 3:17-26)
How can it be that the prophets of Israel told them beforehand that the Messiah was coming – this Prophet like Moses – and furthermore what would happen to Him? Here are some of the passages referring to the Messiah, His coming and His ministry. It ought to be no surprise to you Gems readers. I have made it clear as we worked our way through Luke’s Gospel. Luke has already laid the foundation for what would happen to the Messiah. How can this amount of detail (and more) be recorded in the Holy Book of the people who witnessed it all happening over the years and still missed the point. Gen 3:15, Gen 22:18, Gen 26:4, Gen 49:10, Num 21:6-9, Num 24:17, Duet 18:15, Ps 16:9-10, Ps 22:all, specifically: Ps 22:14-16-18, Ps 132;11, Isa 7:14, Isa 9:6-7, Isa 40:10-11, Isa 50:6, Isa 52:13-15, Isa 53:all, Isa 60:21, Jer 23:5, Jer 33:14-15, Ezek 34:23, Ezek 37:25, Dan 9:25, Mic 5:2, Mic 7:20, Zech 6:12, Zech 9:9, Zech 9:10, Zech 12:8-10, Zech 13:7, Mal 3:1-4, Mal 4:2-6.
It is clear to us having worked through Luke’s first account. Luke was a Gentile doctor. It is like those from the outside can see what is happening better than those on the inside who don’t see it so clearly. As I have told you many times, to fully understand, we have to stand back and take in the bigger picture. When we put the pieces together we see the patterns clearly. But when we are involved in the day to day unfolding of the details, the overall picture is harder to see. Peter excuses his hearers for not knowing, for being ignorant. In hindsight we can ask the question, how can they be ignorant when their book contains all the details? Peter himself gives us the answer.
This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when He told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and His great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. . .1 Peter 1:10-12
This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.2 Peter 3:1–2
Remember Peter was the apostle to the Jews and Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. Peter takes them back and reminds them of what their Scriptures should have told them. So where did Peter get his knowledge from? I suspect he gained the insights from Cleopas and his mate, and from Jesus who came later and took the disciples through all the Scriptures that testified of Him. (Gems 1303 to 1305 and 1309 to 1311) Why does it always have to be that we see these things in hindsight? Well, if the prophets themselves didn’t understand totally the things they were prophesying, then how can those who were non–Jewish hope to put it all together? The simple answer is that you can’t. It has to be with hindsight after the event and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As we have seen time and time again, the Jews were looking for the Coming Messiah to free them from bondage and the yoke of the oppressors. And He would do just that but in a far greater way than they ever imagined. The freedom would be far more than just political – the freedom from the yoke of the Romans. It would be the kind of freedom I talked about in the last Gems. The kind that comes with the restoration of ALL THINGS. Simply put, they missed it because their focus was too narrow. That is the focus many of us have. Our appreciation for what God wants to work out in our lives is far too narrow and restricted. If you could only catch a glimpse of what He has in mind for you, you would never be the same again.
What does Peter mean by starting with Samuel and all the prophets? Before that he has hinted at Moses and the ancestors. Which is it? Are we to look as far back as Moses, even Abraham and the Patriarchs or do we start with Samuel? And why start with Samuel? The indication was to look at all that was told to their ancestors (as far back as Gen 3:15). It is all relevant. God has been revealing His Story all through time. The focus on Moses is two-fold. Firstly, that Moses was the one who prophetically, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit put it all together in the Torah. But there is also a specific reference which Moses gave to the Jews and therefore to us. In Deut 18:14-19 Moses makes comment about the One who would come after him.
Moses continued, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.Deuteronomy 18:15
I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on My behalf.Deuteronomy 18:18-19
This becomes the benchmark for that coming prophet. Samuel was the first of the prophets after the time of the Judges, which ushered in the time in Israel’s history when they had kings (which they had asked for) and prophets who God gave them to address the spiritual issues in the times of the kings. God told them they didn’t need kings, they had Him. But they refused to listen, insisting on their own way. So they were guided or more strongly rebuked in order to lead them in the right direction. If they needed it, how much do we need it? However, after Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit you have the One who will guide you into all truth living inside you. Peter tells them “every prophet spoke about what is happening today”. Today is hardly the day of the healing of the lame man but the “today” of the outpouring of the Spirit. They were now living on the other side of Pentecost. All that the prophets of old had foretold about this time had now come to pass. This was the start of a new era.
Now Peter makes it very clear that all this is directed at these Jews standing before him. These are the ones who have all come pouring out of the temple after the service and flocked around the lame man who was healed. Now Peter tells them, “You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up His servant, Jesus, He sent Him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”
It’s clear isn’t it? With privilege comes great responsibility. The use of a series of the second person plural pronoun “you” is emphatic. Peter is making sure they get the message that this was a Jewish book by Jewish prophets telling Jewish people the inside story. You missed it in your ignorance. Don’t miss it again. This is all for the purpose of helping you see what God is doing and His requirement for you to turn from your sinful ways and take up your role in God’s scheme of things. You were blessed to be a blessing to all nations. So go be that blessing.
You dear reader, if you are not a Jew and most of you aren’t, you are still part of the blessing as a result of being ingrafted branches (see my comment related to Romans 11 in Gem 1405). We all have a part to play as a result of God’s grace and mercy.
So what are you waiting for? Messiah has come and He has now deposited His Spirit within you. What more do you need?
Jesus Christ didn’t come into this world to rub it in but rather to rub it out.Anon
When You Are Looking For Your Future, You Will Never Find It In Your Past.Robb Thompson
Got news for you; sometimes you do. (i.e. Find your future in your past.)Ian Vail
Being ‘On top of the world’ is not just a location or a feeling, it’s a position of heart that can be chosen!Robi Sonderegger