All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! 11 They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.
12 Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? 13 For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. 14 You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
16 “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes. – Acts 3:9-16 [NLT]
Sergeant Friday was famous for saying, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” He wasn’t really interested in a person’s opinions. He didn’t want speculation. He wanted facts. I don’t think that kind of TV programing is popular these days. We want nuances. Facts are too pesky and pointed. They don’t take into account intentions, reasons for believing, and the fact that various people can have various viewpoints of those facts. Just the facts?!? No!
Peter says, however, that the people of his day were aware of the facts surrounding Jesus’ death. The implication is that they were aware also of Jesus’ resurrection, and their culpability in bringing about Jesus’ death. Ugh. Those are difficult facts. And if the people to whom Peter was speaking were not aware of those facts, he and John were aware, and testifying to the veracity of those facts.
The facts surrounding the betrayal, suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus may be ignored. But they don’t go away. Those facts point to our need for forgiveness of the sins which sent Jesus to the cross, or for the sins of putting him there willfully. We can ignore those facts as well. But they do not go away. The question is whether or not we will grapple with those facts and their implication in our lives.
This is a call to repentance and faith. Repenting of our sins of commission or omission, believing in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, are the two essential moves that make those facts sweet comfort and sources of life, hope and joy. For God stands ready to receive us for Jesus’ sake. Jesus has satisfied God’s demands for justice, taking the punishment we deserve on account of our sins.
God promises that we have eternal life through faith in Jesus. Ignoring the facts around the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus brings great sorrow and loss.