What does Acts 3:20 mean?
ESV: that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,
NIV: and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus.
NASB: and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,
CSB: that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Jesus, who has been appointed for you as the Messiah.
NLT: Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.
KJV: And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Verse Commentary:
When Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples thought His return would be soon (Acts 1:9). Even Paul (Romans 8:19–25; 1 Corinthians 1:7), James (James 5:8), and Jude (Jude 1:21) likely thought Jesus would return in their lifetimes.

Two thousand years later, we're still waiting. Prophecy in the Bible is almost never about the church age—it is for the nation of Israel. So, in biblical prophecy, there is a gap between Jesus' ascension and the events leading up to the tribulation, with a tiny bit about the destruction of the temple in AD 70. Peter thinks his audience will see Jesus return, even though Jesus told him and the other disciples, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority" (Acts 1:7).

Isaiah describes the "times of refreshing" in Isaiah 61. Israel will be restored; Jesus will free the captives and comfort the mourning. The world will honor the Jews. This will happen during the millennial kingdom when Jesus literally reigns over Israel (Isaiah 2:4; 42:1).

Peter's audience will not live to see that day. The reference here is corporate, meaning it applies to a wider group. Just as the Jews are corporately responsible for Jesus' death (Acts 3:13–15), the Jewish nation will corporately experience the times of refreshing and the reign of their Messiah. This does not mean that only the Jews are responsible for Jesus' death. Everyone who ever sinned is responsible: i.e. everyone. It just happens that Peter is in Jerusalem, speaking to Jews. Later, Paul will warn the Greeks in Athens that judgment is coming for the entire world (Acts 17:31).
Verse Context:
Acts 3:11–26 transcribes the sermon Peter gives at the temple. While Peter and John enter the temple to pray, Peter heals a lame beggar who has asked for alms. The man is healed and leaps up, praising God (Acts 3:1–10). When this catches the crowd's attention, Peter explains that the healing power did not come from them but from Jesus of Nazareth whom the Jews killed. The results are mixed; the Jesus-followers gain unwanted attention from the Jewish officials (Acts 4:1–3), but five thousand men plus women find faith in Jesus (Acts 4:4).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 3 is comprised of two sections: the healing of a lame man and the explanation of that healing. First, a man who has been lame his whole life approaches Peter and John to beg from them at the temple. When Peter heals him in Jesus' name, a crowd gathers around. Peter gives witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8) and tells the crowd that Jesus' authority and power healed this man. Looking back as modern readers, we see how, as the man's body symbolically ''repented,'' or turned away, from its broken form into freedom of movement, so the people can repent from their broken thoughts, actions, and beliefs, and find freedom from sin.
Chapter Context:
Acts 3 contains the second major speech of Jesus' followers. In Acts 1, Jesus ascended into heaven. In Acts 2, His followers received the Holy Spirit and gave such witness to Him that three thousand people believed in Him. Here, Peter explains that Jesus' power and authority have healed a lame man, and Jesus can heal sinful hearts, as well. This moment will bring the fledgling church to the attention of the Sanhedrin: the Jewish ruling court. There, Peter and John will set the example for all Jesus-followers. Jesus told them to be His witness (Acts 1:8); nothing a human authority can say will stop them.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 4/15/2024 11:56:08 PM
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