moses said, ‘the Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. you shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. and it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ and all the prophets who have spoken, from samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. you are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to abraham, ‘and in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” [acts 3:22-26]
the promise of a Messiah. the israelites had waited for centuries for one who would be raised up to deliver them from trouble and to fulfill God’s promise of an eternal blessing. they had been told over and over by moses and the prophets that this Holy One was coming. they looked for blessing in the form of a king. perhaps a military leader. one who would overthrow all their enemies and restore israel’s power and authority in the world. but peter is saying the blessing is not earthly power, authority, comfort, riches, or kingdoms. the blessing is turning people to the Lord. to turn from wickedness to God’s righteousness. to turn from darkness to light. from death to life.
everything the jews had been promised from the beginning was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. he had come to reconcile man to God. to bring peace between creation and its Creator. to cover sin so that sinful man might stand in the presence of the Almighty. eternal blessing found in the Son of God, the Messiah.
i can imagine the Holy Spirit pricking the hearts of those who heard this call to repentance. i can imagine many “aha!” moments happening as peter unfolds the truth of scripture and how the law and prophets pointed to Jesus. i can imagine the dinner conversations that happened afterward of those who had experienced this life altering message, of those whose eyes had been opened as they express how obvious it seemed now and how they couldn’t believe they had missed it. missed the Messiah!
and then i think about how we can be just as blind. how we often miss the Messiah, longing for the same earthly blessings. we long for physical comfort, we long for power and riches. we long for people to make much of us and we look for self worth in our spouses and children, friends and families, our bosses and coworkers.
but our blessing is so much more than these fleeting pleasures!
- our blessing is the everlasting presence of the One who is all joy, peace, and pleasure!
- our blessing is freedom from the bondage of sin, freedom to love God, freedom to walk in the light!
- our blessing is to become a child of God, to be a part of his bride, to be refined together and presented to the Bridegroom, pure and without blemish, beautiful and radiant!
- our blessing is to be filled with the Spirit of God, with access to all knowledge and wisdom, and to know through experience the love of Christ!
for this reason i bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. [eph 3:14-19]
~ arwen eastman