Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Acts 3:12-19, Easter 3B

Acts 3:12-19 Easter 3B

Prior to these verses in Acts, Peter and John have healed a person who was a beggar and crippled. All the people were astonished and came running to find out what is going on for this person. Verse 12 begins with; 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? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. He thus uses the occasion to witness to Jesus, death and resurrection. In verse 16 we read; 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. In verse 19 he then calls them to repentance so that so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. I wonder why the lectionary stops at verse 19 when there is a comma and it continues into verse 20 which says; 20and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. But don’t you just like that, repent so that your sins may be wiped out and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Peterson in the Message say; so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you. Wow we certainly are in some times that could use some showers of refreshment from God. And yet how has our unwillingness to repent, to turn, to change, has gotten in the way of our receiving the refreshment God has for us? The locale where Peter preached this sermon had special meaning. Solomon’s Portico was a gathering place for all who came to the temple. It was not the vestibule of the temple, but the eastern range of a columned and roofed part of the temple precincts extending around the outer court. While attributed to Solomon, it was almost certainly built when Herod the Great renovated the temple during the two decades just prior to the birth of Jesus. Everyone who came to the temple, Jews and Gentiles, Jerusalemites and pilgrims alike, would have assembled there. The Beautiful Gate through the east side of the portico gave access to the temple courts from the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives. The poor and disabled would come there begging for alms from the multitude. This was the occasion for Peter’s sermon to the amazed crowd after healing the man lame from birth (vss. 2-8).You could focus on the by faith in the name of Jesus this man has been healed.You could focus on repentance and what comes from it.You could focus on the various names of Jesus that Peter refers to; the Holy and Righteous One, the author of life and servant Jesus.But what makes this passage hard is the tone of anti-Semitism by Peter. So which way is a Preacher suppose to go with this Acts passage for Sunday?


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