In chapter 3 we see Jesus, through his followers, DOING and TEACHING, as first a miracle is performed and a message is preached.
There is a pattern, often, of people seeing something, and then opening themselves to understand the message behind what they have just seen - a sign. Here it was a miracle. It might still be. This was a miracle where a man who had NEVER walked, was fully healed such that he was walking and leaping, and not surprisingly, praising God. It was absolutely amazing. We pray God would intervene in miraculous ways today too. Other pointers may be the love that Jesus' followers have for one another, or for those around them. It could be the way we serve or help others. It is often the impact of a changed life! But people SEE something and respond, wanting to know what this is all about.
This is surely part of what Jesus meant when he taught in Matthew 5, that his followers should let their good deeds shine before people so that they will praise the Heavenly Father. And these things are not to bring glory to us - they are to point to Jesus Christ. Hence Peter effectively says to the people 'why are you looking at me? I didn't do this!' It was the name of Jesus.
As people see the evidence of Jesus work in the man's life, Peter explains what is going on.
His key points?
- Who Jesus is: the one who lived, died and rose; the holy righteous one; the author of life! Big claims!
- How history points to him: and he trails through the way that Abraham (Genesis 12), Moses (Deuteronomy 18) and in fact, all the prophets from Samuel onwards, all spoke about what was happening.
- What they must do: Repent of sins and turn to God
- What will happen: Times of refreshing (in advance of the eventual restoration of all things) and the amazing fact that God will bless them by turning them back from their sinful ways.
What a great thing that God will do - bless us by turning us away from what would ruin our lives, and the lives of those around us. And turn us back to him, wiping our sins away.