God’s plan has been in motion throughout eternity and it is still moving forward even today.
Peter and John had gone to the temple, and as they were going on their way, Peter healed a man who had been lame and unable to walk since birth. Peter healed him in the name of Jesus and the man was full of excitement and joy and went leaping and running from where he had stayed at the gate into the temple courts, praising God for what had happened to him.
Of course, as the people began to figure out what had happened, they came to Peter and John to learn more. Peter asked them why they were surprised. Why would they be shocked that God would heal a man in Jesus’s name? He is the author of life and this man has now been given a new life.
Peter then turns his attention to the people themselves saying that he knew that they had acted in ignorance, but that they needed to know that they had killed the Messiah. Peter had explained this, of course, on the day of Pentecost as well, but he continues to take the opportunity here in the temple courts also. They abandoned Jesus before Pilate, even accusing him and calling for his crucifixion, so they should repent of what they have done. They should leave behind their evil ways and they too can receive a new life through the forgiveness of their sins.
Peter explains that their actions were actually a part of a plan that God had been carrying out over many years. They were part of his plan, even if it was a plan that used God’s own people to kill His son Jesus.
Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.Acts 3:17-20
Peter is saying here that God had fortold what had just happened through the prophets. But let’s make sure we know what that means. If God foretold it, that means that He knew that it was going to happen. In fact, even more than him knowing that it was going to happen, God made it happen. It was, in fact, God’s plan. God made the plan that His Messiah would be sent and would suffer both by and for his own people. It was, in fact, all God’s plan that Jesus would be killed. It wasn’t that Jesus’s crucifixion just sort of happened. It happened exactly as God had planned it and Jesus’s death was the fulfillment of God’s plan.
Who killed Jesus?
The Jews? Yes.
The Romans? Yes.
But most of all, God killed Jesus, just as He planned and foretold.
So Peter calls the people to repentance and to believe in the Messiah that God sent. Only in Jesus, only in God’s Messiah will the people find refreshing through the forgiveness of sins. Only in this way will we find communion with God and prepare the way within our lives and the lives of those with whom we tell for the Messiah to come again.