“Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.” Acts 3:17-20 NLT–Acts 3:17-20 NLT
It sounds a little contradictory what Peter is saying here to what had happened before. Before, he had told them they were guilty of having killed Jesus, and now he is calling them “brothers” that had acted without knowing what they were doing. Interesting, isn’t it?
I think sometimes we have the temptation to stick with the first part. Some of us like to sit in the judgment seat and tell God what we think of what others have done, like that maybe he isn’t handing out justice or punishment in the way that he should. Sometimes we sit, wanting to have God let us handle it, because they do or don’t deserve grace. If we were in charge, “they” would learn!
Thankfully, that’s not how it goes. The grace of God is a gift that no one deserves that we learn to accept our whole lives. The Gospel is the Good News for those of us who consider ourselves unworthy of his love, forgiveness. He awards us not only forgiveness but also peace! For that reason, he wants us to do the same to those who have sinned against us or against our loved ones. This is the Gospel that includes reconciliation to live out what we were called to do.
Lord, we thank you for allowing us to come near you through the death of your Son on the cross. Help us to remember that we are yours and that you have given us your love and forgiveness. Amen.