Lord, thank You for Your healing hand.
Read ACTS 3:11–26
Peter Speaks to the Onlookers
11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When 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? 13 The 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. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 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 completely healed him, as you can all see.
17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’[a]
24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’[b] 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds’ (James 1:2).
We don’t like to hear about suffering as part of the Christian life. Perhaps that is why the prosperity gospel has been popular: it is more appealing to think that God will reward us with wealth and possessions if we follow Him than it is to hear teaching like ‘everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’ (2 Tim 3:12)!
Similarly, most of Jesus’ contemporaries did not expect their Messiah to suffer. They must have thought His ministry had gone terribly wrong, to be rejected by His own people and executed as a common criminal. Yet Peter emphasizes that this is necessary, for Christ’s sufferings were all part of God’s plan that was foretold through the prophets (18).
Today, as Christians, we understand why Jesus had to die. We know His pain brought victory over death and the forgiveness of our sins. However, reconciling our faith with our own suffering is often not so straightforward. We hope that God will protect us from trouble, so, when we do suffer, our faith can be knocked. At such times, we may be tempted to worry that the Lord has forgotten us or is indifferent to our pain. However, the crucifixion speaks to our suffering too. Because we know Christ experienced physical, emotional, and mental anguish, it reminds us that, whatever we are facing, Jesus really does understand. We can, then, be honest and open with the Lord about how we are feeling – knowing that He truly comprehends our sorrow. The crucifixion also reminds us that, despite the suffering that results from living in our fallen world, God does bring good from evil. Our pains and problems do not have to consume us; if we turn to God in our troubles, He can use our sufferings to mature our faith and strengthen our character.
Spend time openly and honestly sharing with God your troubles and any doubts you are struggling with. Ask God to help you trust Him.
Lord, we believe that You fulfill the Scriptures. We believe that You are the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.