In contrast to his denial of his Lord on the night of his arrest Peter is now possessed with total conviction and power. He and John heal a man who is more than 40 years old and lame from birth who was “laid daily at the gate of the Temple … to ask alms” (Acts 3:2). Everyone who frequented the temple knew him, he had never walked! His healing resulted in him entering “the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him … and they were filled with wonder and amazement …” (verses 8-10).
As a result, “all the people ran together to them … astounded” (verse 11). This gave Peter a wonderful opportunity to tell them it was through Jesus “whom God raised from the dead … by faith in his name – has made this man strong” (verses 15,16). This was the cause of this incredible healing, Peter’s total faith and God given power…
Peter then says, “and now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your rulers …” (verse 17). So many things are done out of ignorance, many are wilfully ignorant! There is no genuine awareness and resultant awe of God and His son. Today the refusal to believe in God is the result of wilful belief that we are the highest form of evolved life that needed no designer and creator.
Peter’s challenge is made to all people today. “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom the heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the mouth of the holy prophets long ago” (verses 19-21).
If you fail to “turn again” and be baptised you are telling God you prefer to remain “in ignorance”. But it is better to remain that way if we have no conviction about how these events turned the people and nations of nearly 2,000 years ago upside down in their thinking. The conviction of Peter and others led them to “speak the word of God with all boldness” (4:31). How can we claim today we have “acted in ignorance” in whatever decision we make?
The last verse of Ecclesiastes 6 puts the matter frankly, “For who knows what is good for a man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow?” Then we read in 9:5 “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward …” unless they respond to the message of God through such as Peter “that times of refreshing” will come at “the time for restoring all things” at the return of Christ. We are not making our decision one way or the other “in ignorance”.