“And now friends, I know that you acted
in ignorance, as did also your rulers.”
–Acts 3:17

Acts 3:12-4:4

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In yesterday's reading, a crippled man is healed when Peter commands him to stand and walk in the name of Jesus.

As we continue the story today, we see the utterly astonished crowd struggling to understand.

Peter wants them to know that the healing they have witnessed is not done through the power of their own. No, the power for healing comes from the name of Jesus.

He then retells the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. He tells the crowd Jesus was crucified because they rejected the “Author of life” (verse 15) when he walked in their midst.

Peter tells the crowd they rejected Jesus, but he does not shame or condemn them. Instead, he says, “I know you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders’" (verse 17).

The word translated "ignorance" is used one other time in Acts. When Paul is addressing the crowd in Athens he says, “While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Neither Peter nor Paul judge or blame those they are speaking to for their ignorance. Instead, they tell their audiences new information, how God has acted decisively in Jesus Christ, and how this new information demands they make a change in their life. Now that they know about Jesus, it’s time to repent.

One of the most important things I have learned is that repentance is not a one-time event.

Instead, repentance is called for over and over again as we “work out our salvation” ( Philippians 2:12 ) and discover areas of our lives we have not yet wholly given over to Christ.

Today, set aside some time in a quiet place and ask God to reveal an area of your life in which he wants Jesus to begin working in.

You may want to pray something like this:

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness  we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.