What does Acts 3:26 mean?
ESV: God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness."
NIV: When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."
NASB: God raised up His Servant for you first, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.'
CSB: God raised up his servant and sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways."
NLT: When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.'
KJV: Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
NKJV: To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
Verse Commentary:
The idea of Jesus being "raised up" can have several meanings. One is that He was raised as a child and as a teacher and prophet. Another is that He was raised or lifted up on the cross. A third is that He was raised from the dead. The wording however, comes close on the heels of Acts 3:22: "Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.'" So it would appear the phrasing matches the first possibility: God "raised up" Jesus to be the prophet promised in the Old Testament.

God sent Jesus to the Jews first. Jesus did minister to Gentiles, but His primary mission was to reach the Jews (Mark 7:27). Paul, the missionary specifically chosen by God to reach the Gentiles (Acts 9:15), knows this (Romans 1:16). Even though he was the apostle to the Gentiles, when he came to a new city, he first looked for the Jews (Acts 13:5; 14:1; 17:1–2).

The second half of the verse may explain why the Jewish nation rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The triumphal entry was a celebration that the Messiah had come to bring the kingdom of David again, to free the Jews from the dominion of the Romans (Mark 11:1–10). The people forgot that John the Baptist never said the Christ would free Israel. He said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Mark says, "John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Mark 1:4).

For many Jews, what Peter has said in Solomon's Portico is convincing. The number of men, not counting women, who respond to Peter's sermon numbers in the thousands (Acts 4:4). After his sermon at Pentecost, three thousand put their faith in Jesus (Acts 2:41). And more came daily (Acts 2:47; 5:14).

It's possible that if Jesus had promised independence for Israel, the nation as a whole might have followed. Today, we see that the promise of an easy, prosperous life on earth often draws a bigger crowd than the chance to be reconciled with God. That is the option that those on the wide path choose (Matthew 7:13–14). Jesus said, "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25). We must all decide if we want to try to find fulfillment on earth or peace with God in eternity.
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.
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