It's amazing how many rabbit trails you can find in Acts. What? You don't think there are rabbits in the Bible? *sigh* Maybe so, but boy – we sure can find their trails….
You see last night was our weekly men's Bible study in Sweet. We are currently going through the book of Acts – one chapter at a time (is another way to do it? Topical, I guess… but would that count as "going through"?).
Speaking of rabbit trails… so last night we tackled Acts chapters 3 thru 5. It was a great Bible study – even if our fearless leader was not around to keep us on track (note to leaders: don't pick your best blood hound to lead while you're gone. It doesn't work!).
Acts – that what we are talking about. *sigh* What did I learn? You mean besides how to tag an elk with a crossbow (I did mention we where in Sweet, right?).
Have you ever wondered why the Sanhedrin didn't kill Peter, John or any of the other twelve? I mean, they killed Jesus and Stephen… The only reason that I can come up with is God (trump card). He must have had His hand on the Apostles to keep them from being killed (this is where you roll your eyes at me).
Seriously, if I was the Sanhedrin I would look up my old buddy Barabbas as ask him to do us a favor…. (ok – I can see the eye rolls getting larger).
How many of you out there would say that the phrase "times of refreshing" in Acts 3:19 refers to the present or the future? We had quite the discussion about this phrase with different people thinking it referred to:
- The Holy Spirit – as promised by Jesus
- The breakthrough of the spiritual Kingdom of God in this world (ie. when we come to Christ we can have peace, rest, joy, ect now, at this time in history, even though we live in a fallen world)
- The Age-to-Come when God sits on His throne in the New Heaven and Earth, where we will have "joy unspeakable" because
- All of the above
17 "Now, brothers, 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 Christ 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 Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven 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 among his people.'
The end result – wow, look at the time!!! We should really move on to Acts 4!
Ok – it really didn't happen that way… well, it kinda did…but not with those exact words. I mean….hmmmm… rabbits anyone?
Actually, we all agreed that "times of refreshing" was referring to the salvation rest we receive when accept Jesus as our Lord. In addition, we also agreed that it has a double meaning referring to the Age to Come as shown in verse 21, "He (Jesus) must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything,". It's not an either-or statement, but a both-and.
And to think we ended on a good note? What? You want to know what we thought of Acts 5 and Ananias and Sapphira? Hmm… Let me just say the fear of God is a good thing…. and if we ever get beat up for Gospel, I pray that we leave:
rejoicing because they [we] had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name….never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.