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Acts 3

Paragraph Divisions Of Modern Translations


The Lame Man Healed at the Gate of the Temple
A Lame Man Healed
Healing at the Beautiful Gate
A Lame Beggar is Healed
The Cure of a Lame Man


Peter’s Speech in Solomon’s Portico
Preaching in Solomon’s Portico
Peter’s Preaching
Peter’s Message in the Temple
Peter’s Address to the People




Reading Cycle Three (From “A Guide To Good Bible Reading” P. VI)
Following The Original Author’s Intent At The Paragraph Level
This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.
Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five modern translations. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author’s intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one main subject.

    1. First paragraph
    2. Second paragraph
    3. Third paragraph
    4. Etc.

Contextual Insights
In chapters 3-5 there is tension in Jerusalem over Jesus’ teaching and the Apostle’s miracles. The time frame for the first five chapters is about one year.

    A. Peter and John heal the lame man, 3:1-4:31 ( an example of Acts 2:43)
      1. the healing itself
      2. Peter’s second sermon explaining the healing
      3. the reaction and trial (Peter’s third sermon, given to the Sanhedrin)
      4. the persecution begins

    B. An attempt at communal life, Acts 4:32-5:11

      1. the early unity of believers (an example of Acts 2:43-47)
      2. the problems with Ananias and Sapphira

    C. The early church’s relations with rabbinical Judaism, 5:12-42

      1. the life of the church
      2. the jealousy of the Sanhedrin
      3. the intercession of an angel
      4. Peter’s fourth sermon
      5. the reaction and punishment

Titles For Jesus In Chapters 3-4

    A. Jesus Christ the Nazarene, 3:6; 4:10
    B. His Servant Jesus, 3:13,26; 4:27
    C. The Holy and Righteous One, 3:14 (cf. 2:27)
    D. The Prince of Life, 3:15
    E. The Christ, 3:18,20; 4:10 (cf. “Lord and Christ,” 2:36)
    F. Prophet, 3:22
    G. Possibly an allusion to the title “Seed of Abraham,” 3:25-26
    H. The Cornerstone, 4:11

Word And Phrase Study
Text: Acts 3:1-10
1Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. 2And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. 3When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” 5And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene — walk!”7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
3:1 “Peter and John were going up to the temple” This is an imperfect active indicative. It was the habit of all of the early disciples to go to the Temple daily (cf. Luke 24:53; Acts 2:46). The original followers of Jesus in Palestine worshiped

    1. in the Temple (at least on special days if not daily)
    2. in the local synagogue (every Sabbath)
    3. with believers on Sunday

This was the pattern for a long period of time. These believers saw no division between their faith in Jesus as the Promised Messiah and Judaism. They saw themselves as the “people or congregation of Israel.” This is why they chose the name ekklesia for their group. In the Septuagint this is how the Hebrew covenantal phrase, “the congregation (qahal) of Israel” was translated.
The Jews took official action after the fall of Jerusalem and instituted an oath formula (rejecting Jesus as the Messiah) to restrict membership in the local synagogues. This is when the church solidified its day of worship as Sunday (the day to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection; the day Jesus appeared three times to the disciples in the Upper Room).
John is often identified with Peter in Acts (cf. 1:13; 3:1,3,4,11; 4:13,19; 8:14). It is surely possible that the early church in Jerusalem had groups of leaders which represented different perspectives and emphases of the gospel. Possibly Peter and John were more open to Gentile evangelism (cf. vv. 8,10), while James (the half-brother of Jesus) was more identified with a conservative Jewish element. All this changed to some extent after the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.
· “at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer” This would denote nine hours after sunrise. The Jews (i.e., Pharisees) had traditionally prayed each day at 9 a.m., 12 noon, and 3 p.m. (possibly based on Ps. 55:17). This text refers to the time of the evening sacrifice, which was 3 p.m. (the morning sacrifice was at 9 a.m.). Many people would have been in the temple at this time (cf. 10:30).
3:2 “a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb” All of the regular attenders of the Temple knew of this man’s condition (“was being carried repeatedly” is an imperfect passive); therefore, there was no chance of a trick being involved in the healing (cf 3:10; 4:22). This was a fulfillment of OT Messianic prophecy (cf. Isa. 35:6). The Jews wanted a sign; Jesus gave them many, now they have another if they only had eyes to see.
Here is the shocking paradox of the sick sitting daily at the house of God. As a matter of fact, there was even a prohibition against these kinds of people actively participating in worship (i.e., serving as priests, cf. Lev. 21:16-24). The gospel offers a new day. Even an Ethiopian (no race barriers) eunuch (no physical barriers) is welcome in the new kingdom (cf. 8:26-40).
· “the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful” The exact location of this gate is uncertain. It was possibly the Nicanor Gate which was made of Corinthian brass (Flavius Josephus, Antiq. 15.11.3; Wars 5.5.3). It led from the Court of the Gentiles to the Court of the Women. It was on the eastern side of the temple, facing the Mount of Olives, close to Solomon’s Portico.
· “to beg alms of those who were entering” Almsgiving, or giving to the poor, was a required part of the Jewish faith (cf. Matt. 6:1-4; Luke 11:41; 12:33; Acts 10:2,4,31; 24:17). Usually money was collected weekly in the local synagogues and then food distributed, but apparently some begged daily in the Temple area itself.

Special Topic: Almsgiving

    I. The term itself
      A. This term developed within Judaism (i.e., the Septuagint period).
      B. It refers to giving to the poor and/or needy
      C. The English word, almsgiving, comes from a contraction of the Greek term ele_mosun_.

    II. Old Testament concept

      A. The concept of helping the poor was expressed early in the Torah
        1. typical context, Deut. 15:7-11
        2. “gleaning,” leaving part of the harvest for the poor, Lev. 19:9; 23:22; Deut. 24:20
        3. “sabbath year,” allowing the poor to eat the produce of the seventh, fallow year, Exod. 23:10-11; Lev. 25:2-7.

      B. The concept was developed in Wisdom Literature (selected examples)

        1. Job 5:8-16; 29:12-17 (the wicked described in 24:1-12)
        2. the Psalms, 11:7
        3. Proverbs 11:4; 14:21,31; 16:6; 21:3,13

    III. Development in Judaism

      A. The first division of the Mishnah deals with how to treat the poor, needy, and local Levites.
      B. Selected quotes
        1. Ecclesiasticus (also known as the Wisdom of Ben Sirach) 3:30, “as water extinguishes a blazing fire, so almsgiving atones for sin” (NRSV)
        2. Ecclesiasticus 29:12, “store up almsgiving in your treasury and it will rescue you from every disaster” (NRSV)
        3. Tobit 4:6-11, “for those who act in accordance with truth will prosper in all their activities. To all those who practice righteousnessb 7give alms from your possessions, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it. Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor, and the face of God will not be turned away from you. 8If you have many possessions, make your gift from them in proportion; if few, do not be afraid to give according to the little you have. 9So you will be laying up a good treasure for yourself against the day of necessity. 10For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness. 11Indeed, almsgiving, for all who practice it, is an excellent offering in the presence of the Most High.” (NRSV)
        4. Tobit 12:8-9, “8Prayer and fastingd is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoinge. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. 9For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life.” (NRSV)

      C. The last quote from Tobit 12:8-9 shows the problem developing. Human actions/human merits were seen as the mechanism for both forgiveness and abundance.
      This concept developed further in the Septuagint where the Greek term for “almsgiving” (eleomo„sune„) became a synonym for “righteousness” (dikaiosune„). They could be substituted for each other in translating the Hebrew “righteousness” (BDB 842, God’s covenant love and loyalty, cf. Deut. 6:25; 24:13; Isa. 1:27; 28:17; 59:16; Dan. 4:27).
      D. Human acts of compassion became a goal in themselves to achieve one’s personal abundance here and salvation at death. The act itself, instead of the motive behind the act, became theologically preeminent. God looks at the heart, then judges the work of the hand. This was the teaching of the rabbis, but it somehow got lost in individual self-righteousness (cf. Micah 6:8).

    IV. New Testament reaction

      A. The term is found in
        1. Matt. 6:1-4
        2. Luke 11:41; 12:33
        3. Acts 3:2-3,10; 10:2,4,31; 24:17

      B. Jesus addresses the traditional understanding of righteousness as (cf. II Clement 16:4)

        1. almsgiving
        2. fasting
        3. prayer

      C. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (cf. Matthew 5-7). Some Jews were trusting in their actions. These actions are meant to flow out of a love for God, His word and covenant brothers and sisters, not self-interest or self-righteousness! Humility and secrecy become guidelines for proper actions. The heart is crucial. The heart is desperately wicked. God must change the heart. The new heart emulates God!

3:3 The man’s motive was originally only monetary (cf. v. 5).
3:4 “fixed his gaze on” See note at 1:10.
· “look at us” They wanted his undivided attention (blepo„ is in an aorist active imperative form).
3:5 The Apostles were not monetarily wealthy men, but they had access to the spiritual resources of God (cf. v. 6).
3:6 “In the name of Jesus Christ” “Name” is a Hebrew idiom which speaks of one’s character (cf. Luke 9:48,49; 10:17; 21:12,17; 24:47, see Special Topic at 2:21). This must have been shocking to this man. Jesus was a recently condemned and crucified criminal, whom this stranger (i.e,. Peter) was calling “the Messiah” (i.e., “The Christ,” which is the Greek translation, see Special Topic at 2:31).
· “The Nazarene” See Special Topic at 2:22.
· “walk” This is a present active imperative. Peter and John, like Jesus, used a chance encounter to demonstrate God’s love and power and also to confirm the gospel message (cf. v. 9). This healing drew the attention of the Jewish worshipers (cf. v. 12ff).
3:7 This is an eyewitness account of several related events. Someone who was there told Luke about this in vivid, detailed terms.
· “immediately” This is the Greek term parachre„ma. Luke uses it ten times in his Gospel and six times in Acts (cf. 3:7; 5:10; 12:23; 13:11; 16:26,33). It is used only twice in Matthew and nowhere else in the NT. It is used several times in the Septuagint. Luke uses idioms and terms from this Greek translation of the Hebrew OT often. He must have known the OT well, possibly from his contact with the Apostle Paul or involvement in Christian catechism with new believers.
3:8 “With a leap he stood upright” This is a present middle participle (cf. v. 9). This man began walking all around this section of the Temple. What an opportunity to share the Good News!
3:10 They knew this man (imperfect active indicative, they began to recognize him). He was no stranger or visitor. They had seen him at the gate day after day, and passed by! However, Jesus’ representatives did not just pass by, they acted in Pentecostal power!
· “they were filled” Luke uses this term often (see full note at 5:17). Humans can be “filled” with many things (i.e., characterized by).

    1. the Holy Spirit, Luke 1:15,41,67; Acts 2:4; 4:8,31; 9:17; 13:9
    2. rage, Luke 4:28; 6:11
    3. fear, Luke 5:26
    4. wonder and amazement, Acts 3:10
    5. jealousy, Acts 5:17; 13:45
    6. confusion, Acts 19:29

Peter and John wanted these who were amazed (he got their attention) to be filled with the gospel!
· “wonder and amazement” These things are also common in Luke’s writings.

    1. wonder, thambos, Luke 3:6; 5:9; Acts 3:10 and ekthambos in 3:11
    2. amazement
      a. ekstasis, Luke 5:26; Acts 3:10; 10:10; 11:5; 22:17
      b. existo„mi, Luke 2:47; 8:56; 24:22; Acts 2:7,12; 8:9,11; 9:21; 10:45; 12:16

God’s love and acts always cause amazement (these Greek words were used in the Septuagint for fear and awe of God, cf. Gen. 15:12; Exod. 23:27; Deut. 28:28).
Text: Acts 3:11-16
11While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. 16And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.”
3:11 “while he was clinging to Peter” This is a present active participle. I would imagine he was holding on to Peter as Mary held on to Jesus in the garden (cf. John 20:16-17).
· “the portico of Solomon” This was a long covered area along the eastern side of the court of the Gentiles (cf. Josephus’ Antiq. 20.9.7). The roof was supported by many columns. It got its name from the fact that the old foundations of Solomon’s temple were located in the same general area. Jesus taught there often (cf. John 10:23).
3:12 “when Peter saw this” They saw the amazement and curiosity of the crowd and took advantage (cf. Col. 4:3; II Tim. 4:2) of the opportunity to share the gospel (i.e., the second sermon of the new church).
· “Men of Israel” Peter called them this in 2:22. Peter is still addressing Jews.
· “why. . .why” Peter asked why they were surprised by a miraculous healing. Had not Jesus performed these kinds of miracles during the last week of His life?
Also, why did they look at Peter and John so admiringly, as if they did it? This was a sign of the trustworthiness of the gospel and the power of the name of the resurrected Messiah.
The Spirit performed this miracle for several reasons.

    1. to confirm the leadership of Peter and John
    2. to help a needy man
    3. to witness to the Jews at the Temple

3:13 “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” This shows that Jesus’ ministry and the gospel were vitally connected to the Covenant God and Covenant people of the Old Testament (cf. Exod. 3:6,15; Luke 20:37).
Christianity must be characterized as the true fulfillment of Judaism (cf. Matt. 5:17-19). Many Jews would see it as a perversion, but NT writers saw it as a fulfillment. The followers of Jesus are the promised fruition of the “new covenant” of Jer. 31:31-34 (cf. Gal. 6:16). Israel did not complete her missionary task of being a kingdom of priests for the world (cf. Exod. 19:5-6; I Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6). The church has been given the mandate (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). God’s goal is the restoration of His image in mankind, so that His initial purpose of fellowship can be accomplished. If there is only one God (i.e., monotheism, see Special Topic at 2:39), then there cannot be a special people, only servants to serve God’s universal purposes with all humanity (see Special Topic at 1:8).
· “has glorified” This term can be understood in several ways.

    1. the immediate context to the healing of the lame man in His name
    2. the larger context of Peter’s sermon to Jesus being resurrected and thereby glorified
    3. the OT context to Jesus as the coming Messiah
    4. in John’s Gospel this term is always used by Jesus Himself for His crucifixion (cf. 7:39; 12:10,23; 13:31-32; 16:14; 17:1).

Special Topic: Glory (Doxa)
The biblical concept of “glory” is difficult to define. Believers’ glory is that they understand the gospel and glory in God, not in themselves (cf. 1:29-31; Jer. 9:23-24).
In the OT the most common Hebrew word for “glory” (kbd, BDB 217) was originally a commercial term relating to a pair of scales (“to be heavy”). That which was heavy was valuable or had intrinsic worth. Often the concept of brightness was added to the word to express God’s majesty (cf. Exod. 19:16-18; 24:17; Isa. 60:1-2). He alone is worthy and honorable. He is too brilliant for fallen mankind to behold (cf. Exod 33:17-23; Isa. 6:5). YHWH can only be truly known through Christ (cf. John 12:45; 14:8-11; Col.1:15; Heb. 1:3).The term “glory” is somewhat ambiguous.

    1. it may be parallel to “the righteousness of God”
    2. it may refer to the “holiness” or “perfection” of God
    3. it could refer to the image of God in which mankind was created (cf. Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6), but which was later marred through rebellion (cf. Gen. 3:1-21). It is first used of YHWH’s presence with His people during the wilderness wandering period in Exod. 16:7,10; Lev. 9:23; and Num. 14:10.

· “His servant” The term “servant” (pais used regularly in the LXX)

    1. an honorific title in the OT used for Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and David (cf. Psalm 105; Luke 1:69)
    2. in the Servant Songs of Isaiah (i.e., 42:1-5; 49:1-7; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12)
    3. the nation of Israel (cf. 41:8-9; 42:19; 43:10; 44:1,21; also LXX seen in Luke 1:54)
    4. God’s Messiah (cf. 42:1; 52:13; 53:11)
    5. Pais is used of Jesus as the Servant/Messiah in Acts 3:13,26; 4:27,30

There is not a clear distinction between the corporate and individual aspect, especially in the last Song (i.e., Isa. 52:13-53:12). In context it cannot refer to Israel.

    1. the nation cannot be the innocent one who brings redemption because the nation deserves the judgment (cf. Isa. 41:18-22; 53:8d)
    2. the Septuagint changes “you” in Isa. 52:14 to “Him” (also in v. 15). The Jewish translators before Jesus’ birth (possibly 250-150 b.c.) saw this text as Messianic and individual.

· “Jesus” When the name Jesus is used by itself, it usually emphasizes His humanness (cf. v. 6).
· “whom you delivered and disowned” The “you” is emphatic! It was not only the Jewish leaders who were responsible for Jesus’ death (cf. v. 17; 2:23). Peter makes a specific reference to the crowd’s responses before Pilate (cf. Luke 23:18-25). It is possible some of these may have been there, but Peter addresses this crowd as if they were responsible as a group (cf. v. 15). God’s chosen people (Jews) “delivered” and “disowned” God’s Messiah (cf. John 1:11).
· “Pilate” See Special Topic below.

Special Topic: Pontius Pilate

    I. The Man
      A. Place and time of birth unknown
      B. Of the Equestrian order (upper middle class of Roman society)
      C. Married, but no known children
      D. Earlier administrative appointments (of which there must have been several) unknown

    II. His Personality

      A. Two different views
        1. Philo (Legatio and Gaium, 299-305) and Josephus (Antiq. 18.3.1 and Jewish Wars 2.9.2-4) depict him as a cruel and uncompassionate dictator.
        2. The NT (Gospels, Acts) presents a weak, easily manipulated Roman procurator

      B. Paul Barnett, Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity, pp. 143-148, gives a plausible explanation of these two views.

        1. Pilate was not appointed procurator in a.d. 26 under Tiberius, who was pro-Jewish (cf. Philo, Legatio and Gaium, 160-161) by the advice of Sejanus, Tiberius’ anti-Jewish, chief advisor.
        2. Tiberius suffered a loss of political power to L. Aelius Sejanus, his praetorian prefect who became the real power behind the throne and who hated Jews (Philo, Legatio land Gaium, 159-160).
        3. Pilate was a protege of Sejanus and tried to impress him by
          a. bringing Roman standards into Jerusalem (a.d. 26), which other procurators had not done. These symbols of Roman gods inflamed the Jews (cf. Josephus’ Antiq. 18.3.1; Jewish Wars 2.9.2-3).
          b. minting coins (a.d. 29-31) which had images of Roman worship engraved on them. Josephus says he was purposefully trying to overturn Jewish laws and customs (cf. Josephus, Antiq. 18.4.1-2).
          c. taking money from the Temple treasury to build an aqueduct in Jerusalem (cf. Josephus, Antiq. 18.3.2; Jewish Wars 2.9.3).
          d. having several Galileans killed while offering a sacrifice at Passover in Jerusalem (cf. Luke 13:12).
          e. bringing Roman shields into Jerusalem in a.d. 31. Herod the Great’s son appealed to him to remove them, but he would not, so they wrote Tiberius, who demanded they be removed back to Caesarea by the sea (cf. Philo, Legatio and Gaium, 299-305).
          f. having many Samaritans slaughtered on Mt. Gerizim (a.d. 36/37) as they searched for sacred objects of their religion, which had been lost. This caused Pilate’s local superior (Vitellius, Prefect of Syria) to remove him from office and send him to Rome (cf. Josephus, Antiq. 18.4.1-2).

        4. Sejanus was executed in a.d. 31 and Tiberius was restored to full political power; therefore, #a, b, c and d were possibly done by Pilate to earn Sejanus’ trust; #e and f could have been attempts to earn Tiberius’ trust, but may have backfired.
        5. It is obvious with a pro-Jewish emperor restored, plus an official letter to procurators from Tiberius to be kind to Jews (cf. Philo, Legatio and Gaium, 160-161), that the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem took advantage of Pilate’s political vulnerability with Tiberius and manipulated him to have Jesus crucified. This theory of Barnett brings the two views of Pilate together in a plausible way.

    III. His Fate

      A. He was recalled and arrived in Rome just after Tiberius’ death (a.d. 37).
      B. He was not reappointed.
      C. His life is unknown after this. There are many later theories, but no secure facts.

· “when he had decided to release Him” This refers to Luke 23:4,14,22, where Pilate says three times, “I find no guilt in Him,” as well as the three times he tried to release Him (cf. Luke 23:16,20,22). Many scholars believe Acts was written to show that Roman officials did not find Jesus treasonous. Pilate was forced by the Jewish leadership to do that which he was reluctant to do himself.
3:14 “the Holy and Righteous One” This states clearly the innocence and sinlessness of Jesus. The trial was a farce. This is another OT Messianic title (cf. Isa. 53:11; Acts 7:52; 22:14; John 6:69). The demons called Jesus the Holy One of God in Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34. See Special Topics following.

Special Topic: The Holy One
“The Holy One” can refer to

    1. God the Father (cf. numerous OT passages on “the Holy One of Israel”)
    2. God the Son (cf. Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34; John 6:69; Acts 3:14)
    3. God the Spirit (His title, “Holy Spirit” cf. John 1:33; 14:26; 20:22).

Acts 10:38 is a verse where all three persons of the Godhead are involved in anointing. Jesus was anointed (cf. Luke 4:18; Acts 4:17; 10:38). Here the concept is widened to include all believers (cf. I John 2:27). The Anointed One has become the anointed ones! This may be parallel to Antichrist and antichrists (cf. I John 2:18). The OT symbolic act of physical anointing with oil (cf. Exod. 29:7; 30:25; 37:29) relates to those who were called and equipped by God for a special task (i.e., ; prophets, priests, and kings). The word “Christ” is a translation of the Hebrew term “the anointed one” or Messiah.

Special Topic: Righteousness
“Righteousness” is such a crucial topic that a Bible student must make a personal extensive study of the concept.
In the OT God’s character is described as “just” or “righteous” (BDB 841). The Mesopotamian term itself comes from a river reed which was used as a construction tool to judge the horizontal straightness of walls and fences. God chose the term to be used metaphorically of His own nature. He is the straight edge (ruler) by which all things are evaluated. This concept asserts God’s righteousness as well as His right to judge.
Man was created in the image of God (cf. Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1,3; 9:6). Mankind was created for fellowship with God. All of creation is a stage or backdrop for God and mankind’s interaction. God wanted His highest creation, mankind, to know Him, love Him, serve Him, and be like Him! Mankind’s loyalty was tested (cf. Genesis 3) and the original couple failed the test. This resulted in a disruption of the relationship between God and humanity (cf. Genesis 3; Rom. 5:12-21).
God promised to repair and restore the fellowship (cf. Gen. 3:15). He does this through His own will and His own Son. Humans were incapable of restoring the breach (cf. Rom. 1:18-3:20).
After the Fall, God’s first step toward restoration was the concept of covenant based on His invitation and mankind’s repentant, faithful, obedient response. Because of the Fall, humans were incapable of appropriate action (cf. Rom. 3:21-31; Galatians 3). God Himself had to take the initiative to restore covenant-breaking humans. He did this by

    1. declaring mankind righteous through the work of Christ (i.e., forensic righteousness).
    2. freely giving mankind righteousness through the work of Christ (i.e., imputed righteousness).
    3. providing the indwelling Spirit who produces righteousness (i.e., Christlikeness, the restoration of the image of God) in mankind.
    4. restoring the fellowship of the Garden of Eden

However, God requires a covenantal response. God decrees (i.e., freely gives) and provides, but humans must respond and continue to respond in

    1. repentance
    2. faith
    3. lifestyle obedience
    4. perseverance

Righteousness, therefore, is a covenantal, reciprocal action between God and His highest creation. Based on the character of God, the work of Christ, and the enabling of the Spirit, to which each individual must personally and continually respond appropriately. The concept is called “justification by faith.” The concept is revealed in the Gospels, but not in these terms. It is primarily defined by Paul, who uses the Greek term “righteousness” in its various forms over 100 times.
Paul, being a trained rabbi, uses the term dikaiosune„ in its Hebrew sense of the term SDQ used in the Septuagint, not from Greek literature. In Greek writings the term is connected to someone who conformed to the expectations of Deity and society. In the Hebrew sense it is always structured in covenantal terms. YHWH is a just, ethical, moral God. He wants His people to reflect His character. Redeemed mankind becomes a new creature. This newness results in a new lifestyle of godliness (Roman Catholic focus of justification). Since Israel was a theocracy there was no clear delineation between the secular (society’s norms) and the sacred (God’s will). This distinction is expressed in the Hebrew and Greek terms being translated into English as “justice” (relating to society) and “righteousness” (relating to religion).
The gospel (good news) of Jesus is that fallen mankind has been restored to fellowship with God. This has been accomplished through the Father’s love, mercy, and grace; the Son’s life, death, and resurrection; and the Spirit’s wooing and drawing to the gospel. Justification is a free act of God, but it must issue in godliness (Augustine’s position, which reflects both the Reformation emphasis on the freeness of the gospel and Roman Catholic emphasis on a changed life of love and faithfulness). For Reformers the term “the righteousness of God” is an objective genitive (i.e., the act of making sinful mankind acceptable to God [positional sanctification], while for the Catholics it is a subjective genitive, which is the process of becoming more like God [experiential progressive sanctification]. In reality it is surely both!!)
In my view all of the Bible from Genesis 4 - Revelation 20 is a record of God’s restoring the fellowship of Eden. The Bible starts with God and mankind in fellowship in an earthly setting (cf. Genesis 1-2) and the Bible ends with the same setting (cf. Revelation 21-22). God’s image and purpose will be restored!
To document the above discussions note the following selected NT passages illustrating the Greek word group.

    1. God is righteous (often connected to God as Judge)
      a. Romans 3:26
      b. II Thessalonians 1:5-6
      c. II Timothy 4:8
      d. Revelation 16:5

    2. Jesus is righteous

      Acts 3:14; 7:52; 22:14 (title of Messiah)
      b. Matthew 27:19
      c. I John 2:1,29; 3:7

    3. God’s will for His creation is righteousness

      a. Leviticus 19:2
      b. Matthew 5:48 (cf. 5:17-20)

    4. God’s means of providing and producing righteousness

      a. Romans 3:21-31
      b. Romans 4
      c. Romans 5:6-11
      d. Galatians 3:6-14
      e. Given by God
        1) Romans 3:24; 6:23
        2) I Corinthians 1:30
        3) Ephesians 2:8-9

      f. Received by faith

        1) Romans 1:17; 3:22,26; 4:3,5,13; 9:30; 10:4,6,10
        2) II Corinthians 5:21

      g. Through acts of the Son

        1) Romans 5:21
        2) II Corinthians 5:21
        3) Philippians 2:6-11

    5. God’s will is that His followers be righteous

      a. Matthew 5:3-48; 7:24-27
      b. Romans 2:13; 5:1-5; 6:1-23
      c. Ephesians 1:4; 2:10
      d. I Timothy 6:11
      e. II Timothy 2:22; 3:16
      f. John 3:7
      g. I Peter 2:24

    6. God will judge the world by righteousness

      a. Acts 17:31
      b. II Timothy 4:8

Righteousness is a characteristic of God, freely given to sinful mankind through Christ. It is

    1. a decree of God
    2. a gift of God
    3. an act of Christ
    4. a life to be lived

But it is also a process of becoming righteous that must be vigorously and steadfastly pursued, which will one day be consummated at the Second Coming. Fellowship with God is restored at salvation but progresses throughout life to become a face-to-face encounter at death or the Parousia!
Here is a good quote to conclude this discussion. It is taken from Dictionary of Paul and His Letters from IVP
“Calvin, more so than Luther, emphasizes the relational aspect of the righteousness of God. Luther’s view of the righteousness of God seems to contain the aspect of acquittal. Calvin emphasizes the marvelous nature of the communication or imparting of God’s righteousness to us” (p. 834).
For me the believer’s relationship to God has three aspects.

    1. the gospel is a person (emphasis of the Eastern Church and Calvin)
    2. the gospel is truth (emphasis of Augustine and Luther)
    3. the gospel is a changed life (Catholic emphasis)

They are all true and must be held together for a healthy, sound, biblical Christianity. If any one is over emphasized or depreciated, problems occur.
We must welcome Jesus!
We must believe the gospel!
We must pursue Christlikeness!

· “and asked for a murderer” It is so ironic that Barabbas was guilty of the exact crime they accused Jesus of—sedition (cf. Luke 23:18-19,23-25).
3:15 “but put to death” It is surprising that in the many texts which mention Jesus’ death (cf. 2:23,36; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:28) in Acts very little is developed along the lines of Gen. 3:15 or Isaiah 53.
There is also variety in how His death is phrased.

    1. nailed to a cross — 2:23
    2. crucified — 2:36; 4:10
    3. put to death — 3:15; 13:28
    4. put to death by hanging Him on a cross — 5:30; 10:39
    5. killed — 7:52

The resurrection is emphasized but not substitutionary atonement.

    1. the author or originator (cf. NRSV, Heb. 2:10; 12:2)
    2. the agent of creation (cf. John 1:3; I Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2)
    3. the one who goes first, a trail blazer (cf. TEV, NEB, Moffatt, Acts. 5:31)

The term is an obvious contrast to “murderer” (v. 14). See Special Topic below.

Special Topic: Author/Leader (Arche„gos)
The term “author” or “leader” is the Greek term arche„gos. It comes from the Greek root “beginning” (arche„) and “to go” or “to lead” (ago„). This compound came to be used of a ruler, prince, or leader (human or angelic). The term is only used three other times in the NT:

    1. Prince or author in Acts 3:15
    2. prince or leader (cf. Acts 5:21)
    3. the author (or pioneer) and perfecter of the faith in Heb. 12:2.

Jesus is the starter, the provider, and the finisher of salvation.
· “God raised from the dead” Usually in the NT it is the Father who raises the Son from the dead as a sign of His approval of Jesus’ life, teachings, and substitutionary death. The NT also affirms that all three persons of the Trinity were active in Jesus’ resurrection:

    1. the Spirit (cf. Rom. 8:11)
    2. the Son (cf. John 2:19-22; 10:17-18)
    3. the Father (cf. Acts 2:24,32; 3:15,26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30,33,34,37; 17:31; Rom. 6:4,9)

This is a major theological aspect of the Kerygma (see Special Topic at 2:14). If this is not true, all else is not true (cf. I Cor. 15:12-19).
· “a fact to which we are witnesses” This is either

    1. an emphasis on primary source material; these hearers were eyewitnesses (cf. 2:22)
    2. a reference to the Apostles and disciples in the Upper Room (cf. 1:22; 2:32)

In context number 2 seems best.
3:16 “on the basis of faith” This same phrase occurs in Phil. 3:9. The Greek term “faith” (pistis) can be translated into English as “faith,” “trust,” or “believe.” It is humanity’s conditional response to God’s unconditional grace (cf. Eph. 2:8-9). It is basically the believer’s trusting in the trustworthiness of God (i.e., His character, His promises, His Messiah) or faithing God’s faithfulness! It is difficult in the healing accounts of the Gospels and Acts to document the spiritual (i.e., covenantal) side of the event. Those healed are not always “saved” (cf. John 5). See Special Topic below.
The Greek preposition used in this phrase, eis (cf. Phil. 3:9), is rare when used on one’s faith in Christ (similar expression in Acts 2:38). Usually one of several prepositions is used.

    1. dia — Rom. 3:22,25,30; Gal. 2:16; 3:14,26; Eph. 2:8; 3:12,17; Col. 2:12; II Tim. 3:15; I Pet. 1:5
    2. ek — Rom. 9:30; 14:23; Gal. 3:8,9,22; 5:5; James 2:24
    3. en —I Cor. 16:13; II Cor. 13:5; Gal. 2:20; I Tim. 3:13
    4. both eis and ek are used in Rom. 1:17

There was not standardized phrase to express “saving faith.”

Special Topic: Faith, Believe, or Trust (Pistis [noun], Pisteuo„, [verb], Pistos [adjective])

    · This is such an important term in the Bible (cf. Heb. 11:1,6). It is the subject of Jesus’ early preaching (cf. Mark 1:15). There are at least two new covenant requirements: repentance and faith (cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:16,19; 20:21).
    · Its etymology
      1. The term “faith” in the OT meant loyalty, fidelity, or trustworthiness and was a description of God’s nature, not ours.
      2. It came from a Hebrew term (emun, emunah, BDB 53), which meant “to be sure or stable.” Saving faith is mental assent (set of truths), moral living (a lifestyle), and primarily a relational (welcoming of a person) and volitional commitment (a decision) to that person.

    C. Its OT usage
    It must be emphasized that Abraham’s faith was not in a future Messiah, but in God’s promise that he would have a child and descendants (cf. Genesis 12:2; 15:2-5; 17:4-8; 18:14). Abraham responded to this promise by trusting in God. He still had doubts and problems about this promise, which took thirteen years to be fulfilled. His imperfect faith, however, was accepted by God. God is willing to work with flawed human beings who respond to Him and His promises in faith, even if it is the size of a mustard seed (cf. Matt. 17:20).
    D. Its NT usage
    The term “believed” is from the Greek term (pisteu_) which can also be translated “believe,” “faith,” or “trust.” For example, the noun does not occur in the Gospel of John, but the verb is used often. In John 2:23-25 there is uncertainty as to the genuineness of the crowd’s commitment to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. Other examples of this superficial use of the term “believe” are in John 8:31-59 and Acts 8:13, 18-24. True biblical faith is more than an initial response. It must be followed by a process of discipleship (cf. Matt. 13:20-22,31-32).
    E. Its use with prepositions

      1. eis means “into.” This unique construction emphasizes believers putting their trust/faith in Jesus
        a. into His name (John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18; I John 5:13)
        b. into Him (John 2:11; 3:15,18; 4:39; 6:40; 7:5,31,39,48; 8:30; 9:36; 10:42; 11:45,48; 12:37,42; Matt. 18:6; Acts 10:43; Phil. 1:29; I Pet. 1:8)
        c. into Me (John 6:35; 7:38; 11:25,26; 12:44,46; 14:1,12; 16:9; 17:20)
        d. into the Son (John 3:36; 9:35; I John 5:10)
        e. into Jesus (John 12:11; Acts 19:4; Gal. 2:16)
        f. into Light (John 12:36)
        g. into God (John 14:1)

    2. en means “in” as in John 3:15; Mark 1:15; Acts 5:14
    3.epi means “in” or upon, as in Matt. 27:42; Acts 9:42; 11:17; 16:31; 22:19; Rom. 4:5,24; 9:33; 10:11; I Tim. 1:16; I Pet. 2:6
    4. the dative case with no preposition as in John 4:50;Gal. 3:6; Acts 18:8; 27:25; I John 3:23; 5:10
    5. hoti, which means “believe that,” gives content as to what to believe

      a. Jesus is the Holy One of God (John 6:69)
      b. Jesus is the I Am (John 8:24)
      c. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him (John 10:38)
      d. Jesus is the Messiah (John 11:27; 20:31)
      e. Jesus is the Son of God (John 11:27; 20:31)
      f. Jesus was sent by the Father (John 11:42; 17:8,21)
      g. Jesus is one with the Father (John 14:10-11)
      h. Jesus came from the Father (John 16:27,30)
      i. Jesus identified Himself in the covenant name of the Father, “I Am” (John 8:24; 13:19)
      j. We will live with Him (Rom. 6:8)
      k. Jesus died and rose again (I Thess. 4:14)

· The second part of v. 16 is stated in synonymous parallelism, so typical of Hebrew wisdom literature.

    1. “the name of Jesus”
      a. “has strengthened this man”
      b. “whom you see and know”
      2. “faith that comes through Him”
      a. “has given him this perfect health”
      b. “in the presence of you all”

Text: Acts 3:17-26
17”And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. 22Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. 23And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. 25 ‘It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”
3:17 “I know that you acted in ignorance” This reflects Jesus’ words from the cross (cf. Luke 23:34). However, even in their ignorance, the people were still spiritually responsible! In some ways this excuse was a way to help people accept their own responsibility (cf. 13:27; 17:30; 26:9; I Cor. 2:8). For a good discussion of the concept see Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed., pp. 583-585.
· “just as you rulers did also” Luke often makes a distinction between the people and their rulers (cf. Luke 7:29-30; 23:35; Acts 13:27; 14:5). The real issue in trying to do this may be the mutual responsibility of both groups. Often it is asserted that Jesus does not condemn Jews as a whole, but their illegal (i.e., not of Aaronic descent) leaders. It is surely difficult to know if the cursing of the fig tree (cf. Mark 11:12-14,20-24) and the parable of the unjust vineyard tenants (cf. Luke 20:9-18) are condemnations of Judaism of the first century or only its leaders. Luke asserts it is both!
3:18 “announced beforehand” The gospel was no afterthought with God, but His eternal, purposeful plan (cf. Gen. 3:15; Mark 10:45; Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; Rom. 1:2, see Special Topic at 1:8). The early sermons in Acts (the kerygma, see Special Topic at 2:14) present Jesus as the fulfillment of OT promises and prophecies.
There are several aspects of the Kerygma (i.e., the major theological aspects of the sermons in Acts) expressed in these verses.

    1. faith in Jesus is essential
    2. Jesus’ person and work were prophesied by OT prophets
    3. the Messiah must suffer
    4. they must repent
    5. Jesus is coming again.

· “God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets” Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy (cf. v. 34, Matt. 5:17-48). I think Jesus Himself showed the two on the road to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24:13-35) the OT prophecies that pertained to His suffering, death, and resurrection. They shared this with the Apostles, who made it part of their preaching (cf. Luke 24:45).
· “Christ” This is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah” (see Special Topic at 2:31), which means Anointed One. This refers to God’s special agent whose life and death would inaugurate the new age of righteousness, the new age of the Spirit.
The affirmation that Jesus was/is the Christ/Messiah promised by YHWH becomes a recurrent theme of the preaching of Acts.

    1. Peter — 2:31; 3:18; 5:42; 8:5
    2. Paul — 9:22; 17:3; 18:5,28

· “suffer” This was alluded to in several OT texts (cf. Gen. 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53; Zech. 12:10). This aspect of a suffering Messiah is what surprised the Jews (cf. I Cor. 1:23). They were expecting a conquering general (cf. Rev. 20:11-16). This was a recurrent theme of Apostolic sermons in Acts

    1. Paul (cf. Acts 17:3; 26:23)
    2. Peter (cf. Acts 3:18; I Pet. 1:10-12; 2:21; 3:18)

3:19 “repent and return” The Greek term “repent” means a change of mind. This is an aorist active imperative of metanoeo„. The Hebrew term for repentance means “change of action” (“return” [emistrepho„] may reflect the Hebrew “turn” shub, cf. Num. 30:36; Deut. 30:2,10) in the Septuagint. Repentance is a necessary covenant item in salvation along with faith (cf. Mark 1:15 and Acts 3:16,19; 20:21). Acts mentions it often (cf. Peter — 2:38; 3:19,26 and Paul — 14:15; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). Repentance is indispensable (cf. Luke 13:3 and II Peter 3:9). It is basically a willingness to change. It is a both a human volitional act and a gift of God (cf. Acts 5:31; 11:18; II Tim. 2:25). See Special Topic at 2:38.
· “sins may be wiped away” This term means “to erase”; “blot out”; or “wipe away” (cf. Col. 2:14; Rev. 3:5; 7:17; 21:4). What a promise! In the ancient world ink was acid and was, therefore, impossible to erase. This is a true miracle of God’s grace (cf. Ps. 51:1; 103:11-13; Isa. 1:18; 38:17; 43:25; 44:22; Jer. 31:34; Micah 7:19). When God forgives, God forgets (erases)!
· “times of refreshing” The Greek term (anapsucho„, anapsuxis) basically means “breathing space, relaxation, relief” (Baker, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon, p. 63), “refresh by air,” or “treat a wound with air” (Kittle, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 9, p. 663). The metaphorical extension is physical or spiritual refreshment or restoration.
In the Septuagint it is used of regaining physical strength after a battle (cf. Exod. 23:12; Jdgs. 15:19; II Sam. 16:14) or emotional refreshment as in I Sam. 16:23.
Peter’s reference seems to be to an OT promise, but this phrase is not used in the OT. For desert people expanse was identified with freedom and joy, while closed in spaces were a sign of distress and trouble. God was going to bring a widening, refreshing period of spiritual activity. This Messianic activity had come in the gospel. The “times of refreshing” had come in Jesus of Nazareth. However, the coming consummation would bring the new age of the Spirit. In this specific context Peter is referring to the Second Coming. This phrase seems to be parallel to “the period of restoration” (v. 21). See Special Topic: Kerygma at 2:14.
3:20 “He may send Jesus” This is an aorist active subjunctive, which denotes an element of contingency. The actions of Peter’s hearers, in some sense, determined the time of spiritual consummation (cf. F. F. Bruce, Answers to Questions, where he links Acts 3:19-21 with Rom. 11:25-27, p. 201).
The juxtaposition of “Jesus” next to “the Christ/the Messiah” seems to imply that Peter is specifically asserting the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth. Later in the NT, “Lord,” “Jesus,” and “Christ” occur often, more as a combined referent to Jesus (i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) than an emphasis on the title Messiah. This is especially true in predominately Gentile churches.
· “the Christ appointed for you” This verb is a perfect passive participle. This same term is used of God’s fore-choice in 10:41; 22:14; 26:16; Jesus’ coming and dying has always been God’s eternal redemptive plan (cf. 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; 13:29).
In the Septuagint this term reflects a choice, but without the foreknowledge (i.e., for Luke “pro” means before, cf. Exod. 4:13 and Josh. 3:12), which is obvious in this word’s usage in Acts. It does convey that sending Jesus was God’s choice of blessing and redemption!
3:21NASB, NKJV “whom heaven must receive”NRSV “who must remain in heaven”TEV, NIV “He must remain in heaven”NJB “whom heaven must keep”
The subject of this phrase is “heaven”; the object is “whom” (i.e., Jesus). There are two verbals in this phrase. The first is dei, from deo„, which means “it is necessary” or “it is proper.” See full note at 1:16.
The second is an AORIST MIDDLE (deponent) infinitive of dechomai. Harold K Moulton, The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised says in this context it means “to receive into and retain” (p. 88). You can see how the English translations pick up on the contextual aspect. Luke uses this term more than any other NT writer (13 times in Luke and 8 times in Acts). Words must be defined in light of contextual usage and implication, not etymology. Lexicons (dictionaries) only denote usage. They do not set definition!
NASB “until”NKJV, NRSV, TEV “until”NJB “til”
This word is in the Greek UBS4 text. I do not know why NASB, 1995 edition, put it in italics, which is the way to show it is not in the Greek text, but supplied for English readers to understand.
In the 1970 edition of NASB, the “the” is in italics and not “until,” which is correct.
· “period of restoration of all things” This refers to recreation (cf. Matt. 17:11; and especially Rom. 8:13-23). The evil of human rebellion in Genesis 3 is nullified and creation is restored; fellowship with God is reestablished. The initial purpose of creation is finally fulfilled.
· “about which God spoke by mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times” Mark’s Gospel begins with a quote from Mal. 3:1. Matthew 1:22-23 refers to the prophecy of Isa. 7:14. Luke used this same phrase in Luke 1:70. One aspect of the Kerygma (i.e., recurrent theological truths in the sermons in Acts, see Special Topic at 2:14) is that Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection fulfilled OT prophecy (cf. Matt. 5:17-19). Jesus’ ministry was not an afterthought or Plan B. It was the predetermined plan of God (cf. 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; 13:29, see Special Topic at 1:8). All things are working out to the fulfillment of the total restoration of God’s will for creation.
3:22 “Moses said” The title “The Prophet” was used of the coming Messiah (cf. Deut. 18:14-22; esp. 15,18; John 1:21,25). This documentation of Jesus from the Law of Moses (i.e., the most authoritative part of the OT canon for Jews, both Sadducees and Pharisees) would have been very important to these Jewish hearers. Jesus has always been God’s plan of redemption (i.e., Gen. 3:15). He came to die (cf. Mark 10:45; II Cor. 5:21).
3:23 This was a serious word of warning. It is an allusion to Deut. 18:19. Rejection of Jesus was, and still is, a serious, eternal matter.
This allusion to Deut. 18:14-22 also has some significant theological insights.

    1. Notice both the individual and corporate aspects. Each individual soul must personally respond to the Messiah. It is not enough to be a part of the corporate body of Israel.
    2. The phrase “utterly destroyed” is an allusion to “holy war.” God will prune His own vine (i.e., Israel, cf. John 15; Rom. 9-11). Those who reject “the Prophet” are rejected by God. The issue of salvation is one’s faith response to God’s Messiah. Family, race, ethics, and meticulous performance of rules are not the new covenant criteria of salvation, but faith in Christ (cf. I John 5:12).

3:24 “Samuel” In the Jewish canon he (i.e., I Samuel) is considered one of the “Former Prophets,” a part of the second division of the Hebrew canon. Samuel was called a prophet in I Sam. 3:20 and also a seer (i.e., another term for prophet) in I Sam. 9:9; I Chr. 29:29.
· “these days” The “time of refreshing” (v. 20) and “the period of restoration of all things” (v. 21) refer to the consummation of the Kingdom of God at the return of Christ, but this phrase refers to the inauguration of the Messianic Kingdom, which occurred at the incarnation of Jesus at Bethlehem or at least to the whole period of the latter days, which is the time between Christ’s two appearances on planet earth. The OT primarily understood only one coming of the Messiah. His first coming as the “Suffering Servant” (v. 18) was a surprise; His glorious return as military leader and judge was expected.
3:25 Peter addresses these Jews as the children of Abraham, the covenant people. However, these covenant people must respond in faith and repentance to Jesus and the gospel or they will be rejected (v. 23)!
The NT (new covenant) is focused in a person, not a racial group. In the very call of Abram there was a universal element (cf. Gen. 12:3). The universal offer has come in Christ and is available to all (i.e., Luke wrote primarily to Gentiles. His Gospel and Acts made this invitation repeatedly and specifically).
· “covenant” See Special Topic: Covenant at 2:47.
· “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” This is a reference to God’s promise to Abraham in Gen. 12:1-3. Notice the universal element also in Gen. 22:18. God chose Abraham to choose a people, to choose the world ( cf. Exod. 19:5-6; Eph. 2:11-3:13). See Special Topic at 1:8.
3:26 “For you first” The Jews, because of their Covenant heritage, have the first opportunity to hear and understand the message of the gospel (cf. Rom. 1:16; 9:5). However, they must respond in the same way as everyone else: repentance, faith, baptism, obedience, and perseverance.
· “raised up His Servant and sent Him” See note at 2:24 and 3:13.
· “to bless you” This is what God wants for all mankind (cf. Gen. 12:3). However, He sent Jesus to the lost sheep of the house of Israel first!
· “by turning every one of you from your wicked ways” Salvation involves a change of mind about sin with a resulting change of actions and priorities. This change is evidence of true conversion! Eternal life has observable characteristics!

Discussion Questions
This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.
These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

    1. What is “the continual”?
    2. Why was this healing so powerful”
    3. Why was a suffering Messiah so shocking to the Jews?
    4. Why does Luke quote Gen. 12:3?

    5. Are Jews saved differently from Gentiles?

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