13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. Acts 3:13-16
Peter puts the blame of Jesus’ death on the Israelites, the very people he was talking to. He didn’t sugar coat the accusation but placed it squarely on the people. Peter’s listeners didn’t seem to be terribly upset at the accusations, though we’ll see later that the religious leaders were tipped off about the preaching.
Preaching boldly like this has its risks. Consider the street evangelists who preach in Dearborn Michigan, a city that has a huge Arab Muslim population. They go in knowing they could be insulted and persecuted for their witness. Some have even been thrown in jail for their preaching.
Peter and John knew exactly what they were doing when they preached like this. They knew the great risks, but they also knew that the One who raised Jesus from the dead was greater than any opposition they would come up against. And the rewards of such preaching, as 2 Corinthians 4:17 states, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” They may not have known the extent of the problems there were causing but they knew their preaching carried risk.
So the question I pose today is something I have to ask myself often, “What are we risking for Christ?” Sharing the Gospel message is risky business in a world that turns the name of Jesus into profanity. But out of all the risks we take in life, this risk has great rewards in store for those who act in faith.