Acts 3: 10-26
v. 12 “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?”
Andy highlighted this question in his sermon on Acts 3 and proposed the same question to us today: Why are we surprised by God? Why are we surprised that God would do amazing things for his glory?
I had a short, interesting conversation with my sisters in a taxi after church about how even though we ought to expect God to do great things, we never cease to be surprised when he does them. Is it wrong to be surprised by God’s works? We are often amazed at his goodness and surprised by his methods. In his sermon, Andy juxtaposed the surprised reactions of the believers at Pentecost with the non-believers at the Beautiful gate and showed us that the difference between the two was a difference of faith versus skepticism.
Peter seems to rebuke the men of Israel on account of their skepticism. Instead of trusting in the Lord’s wondrous works, they were choosing to attribute the miracle to men like Peter and John. Peter says, “Why do you stare at us as by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” Then he reminds them that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is always glorifying himself and glorified himself through Jesus. God was reconciling the world to himself through his work in the crippled man.
While God’s methods sometimes surprise us, we shouldn’t be surprised to see evidence that God is good.
Just as God’s goodness shouldn’t surprise us, our sinfulness shouldn’t come as a shock either. We shouldn’t be surprised to find that we, just like the killers of Christ, tend to choose life over death. Peter said, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.”
I realized this week how I often make choices that favor death over life. I complain at work instead of thanking God for my job and breathing words of encouragement to those around me. I choose to spend hours on trite entertainment when I haven’t yet spoken to my Creator for the day.
Later, I realize that these actions favor cheap pleasure or true riches that we can have by obeying Jesus. In v. 19, Peter says to repent and turn to God–to wipe out sin, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Though we chose the murderer instead, the author of life could not be killed. God raised him back up! Isn’t that sweet?