Tuesday August 6, 2019
In Peter’s second sermon on the occasion of healing the lame man in the Temple, his argument addressed to the Jews was to the effect that there was nothing new or unexpected in what they saw and heard. It was simply the fulfillment of prophecy.
ACT 3:17 "And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.
ACT 3:18 "But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
ACT 3:19 "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
ACT 3:20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ [Messiah] appointed for you,
ACT 3:21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
Many in Israel, especially the leaders, had rejected John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, and yet, they have another chance through the apostle Peter with the clear evidence of the resurrection of Jesus. God is patient and long-suffering.
ACT 3:22 "Moses said, 'The Lord God shall raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed in everything He says to you.
ACT 3:23 'And it shall be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'
ACT 3:24 "And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days.
ACT 3:25 "It is you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'
ACT 3:26 "For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways."
John the Baptist, in preparing Israel for the mystery at hand, called for repentance, open confession of sins, and then water baptism.
None of these things are required for salvation. John is preparing them for the coming King. Everyone in Israel, from the leaders to the lowliest, must understand that they have sinned against the Law and are therefore inherently unclean. John is making them face the righteous requirement of the Law.
They confess openly that they have broken the Law and then they are washed in the Jordan River. These are symbolic in preparation. They didn’t promise to never sin again and then get washed by the water, nor did they do some work or penance, they simply confessed their sins.
Of course, this was not new.
"Circumcise yourselves to the Lord
And remove the foreskins of your heart,
Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
Lest My wrath go forth like fire
And burn with none to quench it,
Because of the evil of your deeds."
What was new with John was that repentance and confession was accompanied by water baptism.
The OT pointed beyond itself to the perfect King and kingdom that was to come, and when that was at hand historically, Israel’s greatest prophet was sent to her.
And then, when the Son of God finally arrives in John’s camp, and John, who does not know His face so as to recognize Him, but witnesses the Spirit descend upon Him like a dove, then says to the people:
JOH 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
JOH 1:30 "This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'
JOH 1:31 "And I did not recognize Him, but in order that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water."
JOH 1:32 And John bore witness saying, "I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
JOH 1:33 "And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'
JOH 1:34 "And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."
John is not to say to the people, “This is the King of Righteousness who is going to judge you for your sins.” Rather: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Without John’s preparation, the people might have said, “We are not so sinful to need sins taken away from us. Maybe others in the world, but not us.”
But John has convicted the people of their sins. The simple matters John refers to by Luke’s account, and there might have been more, are to give to your neighbor’s need, don’t defraud your neighbor, and be content with what you have.
They have obviously violated these laws, as all people have.
Among them [Gentiles] we too [Jews] all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
PSA 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.
PSA 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
PSA 51:3 For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
PSA 51:4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,
And done what is evil in Thy sight,
So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak,
And blameless when Thou dost judge.
The conjunction of the prayer for forgiveness is followed by that for regeneration (also Psa 19 and 119).
PSA 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
PSA 51:11 Do not cast me away from Thy presence,
And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
PSA 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation,
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
PSA 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways,
And sinners will be converted to Thee.
The reality of the sacrifice was not only the ritual, but the heart of the offeror who recognized his guilt and also that only God could cleanse him.
PSA 51:16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
PSA 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
John the Baptist’s ministry reveals to us that during his time there are not many in Israel who see themselves like David did, in light of Psa 51.
PSA 51:18 By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem.
PSA 51:19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.
Psa 51 combined the spiritual renewal of the heart and the forgiveness of sins, and we are told that in the days of the promised New Covenant this would be the gift of God to all His people. God says, “I will give them a new heart and I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.” God also said through another prophet, “I will wash them with water, and cleanse them from their filthiness, give them a new heart, put My Spirit within them, take away their stony heart, and make them walk in My statutes.”
That these would be fulfilled in the time of the Messiah, the Son of David, is expressly stated by the prophet in the next chapter.
EZE 37:24 "And My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances, and keep My statutes, and observe them.
EZE 37:25 "And they shall live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons, and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant shall be their prince forever.