"Moses said, 'THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you.Acts 3:22(NASB)
A great change took place in God's dealings with mankind after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. Before the Cross, people were living under the Law and looking forward expectantly to the coming of their Messiah - the hope of all nations, Who would save His people from their sin. But at His crucifixion and resurrection, Christ, the Passover Lamb, and final Sacrifice for sin, was offered for us, such that all who believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Since that pivotal point in the history of man, believers today look back to the Cross, in humble thanksgiving, at Christ's sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, for we are no longer living under the Law of Moses but in the dispensation of the grace of God.
Many of Christ's Jewish brethren, including his own siblings, did not recognise their Messiah. They were looking for a conquering hero and mighty king from the ancestry of Abraham and the line of King David, to save them from Roman bondage. They did not understand at the time, that they must first repent of their sin, and be declared righteous by faith. It was only as the Scriptures were opened to their understanding that large numbers of Jews repented of their unimaginable mistake in crucifying their Messiah, and believed on Christ as their Messiah-King.
It was at Pentecost when the baton was passed from Israel to the Church, for a season... and from that Day of Pentecost until the start of the Great Tribulation, God is forwarding his plans and purposes through Church-age believers, who have been entrusted, with the ministry of reconciliation. Today the Church, which is the Body of Christ, are His representatives on earth and the ones through Whom His Spirit is working in the world.
Just as Christ opened the Scriptures to His disciples following His resurrection, so Peter and the apostles did the same for the Men of Israel, who did not recognise Jesus. In Acts chapter 2, Peter gave a second sermon at Solomon's Portico, where he quoted from the prophecy of Joel, and the writings of David, to show that the spiritual gifts poured out at Pentecost, and the prophetic words of many Old Testament saints, had been fulfilled in Christ and were being fulfilled in their very midst. Indeed, thousands of his countrymen admitted their terrible mistake, on that great Day of Pentecost, repented of their sin, and were baptised.
Both Peter and John had been endowed with the gift of healing and in Chapter 3, following the miraculous healing of a lame man, the crowds who witnessed this supernatural event, gathered round in amazement. Once again Peter was able to deliver more scriptural evidence that Jesus, Whom they crucified, was their promised Messiah - the greatest Prophet of all time and the eternal King of Israel.
He explained that they had acted in ignorance when they crucified their Messiah and pointed to numerous prophetic Scriptures foretelling His suffering, death, and resurrection. He entreated his countrymen to repent of their sin and return to God, so their transgressions might be wiped out, which would open the way for the prophesied 'times of refreshing' when the Messiah would put down His enemies and set up His eternal kingdom of peace and prosperity.
In this second sermon, Peter made reference to a prophecy of Moses, who said, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to Him in everything He will say to you." Moses was the first writing prophet who was greatly revered by the Jews. The Messiah was to be a Jewish Prophet. He was to be the SEED of the woman and promised SEED of Abraham Who would come through the Jewish nation. He would validate His Messianic claims through many signs and wonders!
But when He came, Israel's eyes were blinded by pride, their heart was bloodied with sin and they would not give heed to what He said. When God raised up for Israel a Prophet like Moses, from the house of Judah as promised, they refused to listen to Him and ignored Moses' command to, "give heed to everything He says." Instead, He was despised, rejected, falsely accused, and crucified.
This quote from Moses was recognised by all-Israel as a Messianic passage, and when Peter opened their understanding to the truth of these words, many were horrified to discover that Jesus was the Prophet God raised up, about Whom Moses spoke. Jesus was the Prophet Whom Moses predicted when he said the Lord would raise up a Prophet who would act as he did - as Israel's deliverer, leader, and judge.
Many who heard Peter's preaching understood that Jesus was that Prophet Who is greater than Moses, just as He is the King, Who is greater than David and a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, Who is greater than Aaron. Many had heard Christ's words during His earthly ministry but failed to give heed to everything He said... until their eyes were opened in those early days of the Christian Church.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing book of Acts, and for insight into those early days of the Christian Church when many in Israel had their eyes opened to the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ, and recognised Him as the Prophet greater than Moses and the King greater than David. Thank You that because Israel rejected our Lord in those early days of Christendom, the gospel has been opened to every person in every nation who will trust in Him for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. Thank You for my salvation and I pray for Jews around the world who have not yet had their eyes open to the truth. Open the understanding of all who are seeking the truth, but have not yet believed on Christ for salvation. May Your name be glorified throughout all the earth and may many come to faith in Jesus, while there is still time. I ask this in Jesus' precious name, AMEN.
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