Results of The Resurrection
In Acts chapter 3 Peter and John were on their way to the temple for afternoon prayers. As they’re about to enter the temple, a lame man lying at the gate calls out to them and asks them to put something in his cup. Peter and John both stop and fix their eyes on this man. And Peter said, “look at us.” Now when Peter said those words, I can almost see the hope reflected in the face of the beggar; these men were going to give him something.
Peter spoke again; “silver and gold have I none.” The beggar’s face fell; the little flicker of expectation in his heart was quickly snuffed out. But Peter wasn’t finished. He said, “what I have, I give to you; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth… rise up and walk.” And he reached out his hand, clasped the hand of the beggar and lifted him to his feet.
“Immediately [the lame man’s] feet and ankle bones were made strong.” He began walking and jumping and praising God. Of course! He was expecting a few coins to provide for his meager existence, and now he’s completely restored from his crippling condition! As he was walking and jumping there in the temple courts, he attracted attention.
They see this man, they recognize who he is, and they see he’s holding on to Peter and John. We How is it that he can walk? This is amazing. Well, you can count on Peter, now filled with the Holy Spirit, not to miss an opportunity to preach!
Here, we pick up the narrative for today’s teaching. This account in Acts chapter 3 gives us a clear picture of some of the results of the resurrection of Jesus. Every time we gather on the first day of the week, we remember the event that altered the course of history; world history, and our personal history.
So, listen carefully as I read Acts 3:12-21. That’s Acts chapter 3 beginning at verse 12.
In our text, observe with me three RESULTS of the resurrection of Jesus, and how those results impact your life today.
The First Result of the Resurrection is:
Restoration is Possible
Many times, in Scripture, God arranges divine appointments to provide teachable moments. In this healing of the lame man, we’re given a divine object lesson. What happened to this man, including his physical healing, was a clear demonstration of the resurrection power Peter and John possessed.
To the crowd that observed the lame man laying at the temple gate his condition was hopeless. He was crippled, he was a beggar, and in their minds, it would never change. Restoration was just not possible. But now, they’re confronted with the undeniable evidence – this man has been healed. Their established ways of thinking have been exploded! And these people say, “what’s going on here?”
How did Peter respond? He said, don’t look at us as though we’re so special; it’s not our personal power or holiness that made this man well. No, it’s the power of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the same Jesus you conspired to put to death, even though he was innocent. You denied Him in Pilate’s court and requested a murderer to be released in His place. And then he says of Jesus; “God has raised Him from the dead, and we are witnesses of that fact.”
Notice verse sixteen. “And His name through faith in His name has made this man strong, whom you see and know yes, the faith which is by Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Peter tells them that this same power he and John witnessed in the resurrection of Jesus has raised this man to perfect soundness right in their presence. Through the power of His name and through faith in His name, restoration is possible! What an incredible reality.
The restoration this man experienced through the power of the resurrection was more than physical. There’s a spiritual dynamic too. It’s not as evident as the physical healing but it is the more important of the two. In order for this man to be healed physically there first needed to be a spiritual response, a faith response. When Peter said, “Rise up and walk” this man could have said, “Oh I can’t do that. If I try to stand, I’ll fall down and probably hurt myself more.”
People who have been hurt tend to be protective of their hurt. It doesn’t matter if the hurt is physical, emotional, or spiritual. There’s a defense mechanism in place. Think about your responses to hurt in your life. If you have an injury, you protect it; that’s natural. But God says, “let me touch that sore spot. Let me take that wound and clean it out and bring healing.”
That’s where faith comes in. Faith says, “OK God, I don’t know how you’re going to do it. But because I trust You, I’m giving you the opportunity to heal this hurt.” That’s the point this crippled man had to reach before he could be healed. Without faith he would have just stayed lying there on the ground.
But he acted in faith, and God rewarded him. Verse 16 says he was given “perfect soundness.” In the original text they’re the exact same words. God wanted to emphasize the reality of this healing. It’s like saying the man was healed, healed. He was completely restored.
Now, think of people you know who are spiritually crippled. Like this beggar, their condition is terminal. They’re going through life, just getting by; but there’s no hope, no joy, no peace, no contentment. Life is just one continual drag. Like the beggar, they’re looking for things outside themselves for satisfaction, but they’re looking in all the wrong places. Peter’s message revolutionized the beggar’s life, and that same power is available today to revolutionize the lives of all who exercise faith in Christ.
But too often we’re like the people who knew that beggar. They saw his condition as hopeless, incurable. We often look at others bound in sin, and we think; “they’re hopeless.” We may even be tempted to think that about circumstances in our own lives. There’s just no hope. That’s a slap in God’s face. He gave Heaven’s best to save earth’s worst and I assure you, there is no person or situation beyond the restoration power of the resurrection; not your situation nor anyone else’s.
In 1979 Rusty Woomer and an accomplice went on a crime spree in South Carolina. As a result, several people were murdered, and Rusty was sentenced to death for his crimes. But in 1985 a Christian businessman led Rusty to Christ and his life was transformed. Very early on the morning of April 27, 1991, Rusty was strapped to the electric chair. His final words were “I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I claim Jesus Christ as my Savior. My only wish is that everyone in the world could feel the love I have felt from Him.”
Restoration is possible for you too. If you haven’t experienced that power, you can. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. The power of the resurrection is great enough to restore your life and give you wholeness in Jesus Christ.
So, the first result of the resurrection is that restoration was made possible. Complete restoration encompassing, spirit, soul, and body.
The Second Result of the Resurrection is:
Repentance is Prescribed
Up to this point, Peter’s message was focusing on the power of the resurrection in the life of the lame man. But now, he wants his listeners to understand that the resurrection power affects them too. And he sets up the requirement, the prescription if you will, that will make that power a reality for them. He says, in verse 19, “repent, and be converted…”
Repentance means to turn around, to go the opposite way you were going. Peter knew about repentance. Remember how he wept bitter tears after denying His Lord. Before Pentecost he depended on his own strength and failed miserably. Even after the resurrection he followed some of our contemporary wisdom; “when the going gets tough, the tough go fishing.” But after Pentecost, he went the other direction. He was totally sold out to Jesus. The resurrection power made repentance real, made it possible.
The people Peter was addressing in our text were those who crucified Jesus. They had treated him as a common criminal. They had rejected both the message and the messenger. Peter preached repentance, a turning around. He said if they would repent, they would be converted and their sins would be blotted out, wiped away. That’s why Jesus died, to provide a lasting atonement for sin, theirs, and ours. The true repentance that God required was now possible because of Jesus’ resurrection.
Peter was inviting them to participate in a reality that would be every bit as liberating to them as it was to the lame man. But it would take a dramatic shift in their thinking, in their understanding of what it meant to be God’s people. This was no mere turning over a new leaf. This was a whole new way of life based, not on the many rules of behavior prescribed by the Pharisees so they could fulfill the Law of Moses, but on receiving the dynamic, life-giving power of the resurrected Messiah, Jesus Christ.
This result of the resurrection, the prescription of repentance, is still the only cure for the disease of sin. Peter’s Spirit inspired words have as much truth and meaning in them today as they did on that day there in the temple. We’re all guilty of crucifying the Lord Jesus by our sins, and like those in the crowd that day we need to repent. If you’ve never repented of your own personal sin, then you are just as guilty of the death of Jesus as those in the crowd that day when Peter was preaching.
And if you don’t repent you will one day face the judgment of Almighty God for contemptible way you have treated His Son. “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under tow or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:28, 29.
Praise God, the repentance God prescribed is made possible in Jesus Christ, but it requires a personal response from you and me. This is the second result of the resurrection. And for all those who repent of their sin and receive the Lord Jesus as Savior and Master there is an additional benefit of the resurrection that is yet to come.
The Final Result of the Resurrection is:
Restitution is Promised
Peter told the crowd that Jesus had risen from the grave and ascended to heaven. He would remain there until the “times of the restitution of all things.” Peter went on to remind them these things had been spoken of by all the prophets. Those listening to Peter’s words were looking for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. When Jesus showed no intention of doing that, they rejected Him because He didn’t fit their concept of a Messiah. They missed the fact that Jesus had come as the Messiah to restore them spiritually and to introduce them to a kingdom much greater than they could ever imagine.
But, as Peter said, there’s a time coming when God will restore all things to the pattern of His original creation. This is one of the results of the resurrection. The fact that God was able to raise His Son from the dead assures us that we too shall live again. Paul, in First Corinthians fifteen, refers to Christ as the “first-fruits” from the dead. His resurrection was the indication of a harvest that would come at the end of time. In fact, Paul says, “if Christ did not rise from the dead, we are hopeless.” So, our entire hope for the future and for eternity hinges on the resurrection of Christ. This was in the plan of God from before the foundation of the world, and Peter reminds them it was proclaimed by all the holy prophets.
The miraculous healing of this man was just a foretaste of something yet to come, a glimpse of the future. It was a demonstration of the resurrection power now available to any and all who would receive it. This man exercised faith in the name of Jesus and was rewarded by complete restoration. So, it is with all who reach out in faith and receive His power today.
I remind you that during the time Jesus walked this earth, not every cripple was healed, not every leper was cleansed because Jesus’ humanity limited His ministry. He could only be one place at a time. But every person who put their faith in Him for salvation was forgiven. The same was true of the early church and remains true today. But there is coming a time, Hallelujah, when God will make all things new; when all sickness, pain and sorrow, all sin will be put away. When righteousness will reign supreme, and Jesus Christ will be Lord of all.
The question I have for you today is – will you be a part of that restitution of all things? Where will you be when Jesus Christ reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords? When He puts down all authority and power and delivers the kingdom over to His Father? Where will you be when God makes a new heaven and a new earth filled with righteousness? If you plan on being a part of these things there is only one way to make sure you can participate. That is to experience the results of the resurrection of Jesus in a personal way. Yours may not be a dramatic healing like the lame man, but it can be just as real!
The power of the resurrection, which we commemorate every Sunday, is our hope for time and eternity. Let’s let the reality of the resurrection fill our hearts with joy and rejoicing. Because of the resurrection, restoration is possible, repentance is prescribed, and restitution is promised. I pray you’ve experienced these results in your life.