Sermon – April 11, 2021 – Easter 2
Printable PDF: 4-11-2021 Easter 2 Sermon
Pastor Wagenknecht ~ Acts 3:12-20 ~ April 11, 2021 ~ Easter 2 Sermon
THERE WILL BE TIMES OF REFRESHING…
12When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, 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? 13The 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. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16By 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 completely healed him, as you can all see. 17“Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
“There will be showers of blessing…” That gospel hymn comes to mind whenever I hear the phrase “times of refreshing.” When you grow up in a dry and dusty climate, you appreciate every shower. When the rain started to fall, as a child, I would go out to my father’s work shed and listen to the raindrops falling on the tin roof, feel the cooling breeze, and smell the dust being washed out of the air. Refreshing. Good Friday and Easter are times of refreshing. I pray today’s worship will be a time of refreshing and bring you showers of blessing.
- …when we repent.
The events of our text take place at the gate to the Temple. Peter and John had healed a man who had been lame from birth. Acts 3:6ff: Peter said to the lame man who expected alms, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” Instantly his feet became strong and he jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with Peter and John into the temple courts walking and jumping and praising God. When the people saw this familiar beggar walking and heard him praising God, they were amazed. Acts 3:11ff: While the beggar held on to Peter and John. All the people came running to them in Solomon’s Colonnade.
Peter uses this as a teaching moment. No longer the frightened, denying disciple from a few weeks earlier, he starts out “Why does this surprise you as if by our own power or godliness we made this man walk. Men of Israel – faithful Judean worshipers, scribes and Levites, maybe even some of the Sanhedrin; people very much aware of the events of the last few weeks – The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, the God you have come to this temple to worship; 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.
Peter seems to be boldly staring at people that he knew were in the Roman Praetorium and maybe even followed along to the crucifixion on Calvary. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and shouted for a murderer to be released. You killed the Author of Life! We can see here echoes of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost. The accusing finger of the law before the clear Gospel message of Jesus Christ, the Servant of the Lord, the Holy and Righteous One, the Author of Life. You saw him crucified, dead, and buried. But God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
Peter is right on! Pointed! Leaving no doubt! By faith in the Name of Jesus this man was made strong. It is Jesus’ Name and faith that comes through him that has given this man complete healing. As you can see! Look at him! You know him! He is leaping and praising God after a lifetime as an invalid.
Peter has their attention. They were cut to the heart…wondering what they should do. It is time for specific, pointed, damning law so Peter declares firmly, “You crucified the King of Glory. Acts 3:17ff: 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! Peter sounds like John the Baptist. He sounds like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Repent so that your sins may be wiped out.
On this first Sunday after Easter, it is important to notice that the events of Holy Week and Easter form the heart and core of Peter’s witness. Christ’s perfect life, his innocent sufferings and death, and glorious RESURRECTION must always be the centerpiece of our sermons, devotions, and Bible classes. Whenever we witness to our faith – law and gospel, sin and grace, Christ’s death and resurrection form our message.
- …when our sins are forgiven.
After the law’s call for repentance and turning to God will come the showers of blessing. Christ died and rose again that our sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Last Sunday’s Festival of the Resurrection of our Lord, with its organ, trumpets, instruments, and joyful singing was far better than the rain beating down on Dad’s workshop roof. I think we might all have felt like leaping and praising God along with the lame man in the Temple courts.
If it is true that every Sunday is Easter all over again, then this moment is a time of refreshing through the Gospel. We are being refreshed with showers of blessing. Nothing comes from our own power or godliness. Whenever we look within our hearts we see the helplessness of our human condition. We know we cannot save ourselves. We are condemned by our own sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. We cannot pay the least drop of blood for our own atonement. We must turn to the Glorified Servant of the Lord. We look to Jesus the Holy and Righteous One. We trust in the Author of Life whom God raised from the dead.
The people who came to the Temple Courts to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would have known what God had foretold through all the prophets that his Christ would suffer. While these people did not need healing from their handicaps, they did need complete healing. Peter recognized that this lame man’s jumping for joy and praising God came from faith in the Name of Jesus. He was healed in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He might have felt great to be walking, but his true refreshing came from turning from his sins and turning to God so that his sins would be wiped out. He went home refreshed that day.
For times of refreshing here in Arizona, a good thunderstorm will clear the air and irrigate the flowers. If you did not grow up here, I have another picture of refreshment. When I went to school in Watertown, Wisconsin, I found that a slow, soft, snowfall in a peaceful evening was refreshing. To walk over the unmarked snow; to make the first visible trail; to see the glistening white trees is still fresh in my memory. Now I have no desire to go back up north some winter to walk in the pure, white snow. I’m satisfied with our showers of blessing. In fact, I drove home last Sunday very refreshed by the Easter Gospel. Amen