The Refreshing Season
A strong southern wind pounded our home all night Tuesday and all day yesterday. Just listening to the sound wore me out, but Mary and I have little to gripe about. It’s 75 degrees in Texas and our friends in MT have snow on the ground and it’s 8 degrees. No wonder northerners rush to book Caribbean cruises or buy condos in Sarasota.
When winter threatens, we yearn for seasons of peace and refreshment, but no Caribbean Island or beach in Florida can match the refreshing new season the Apostle Peter promised a Jerusalem Jewish crowd in AD 33. Listen to what he said to those guilty of handing Jesus over to Pilate to be crucified.
“But what God announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer, he has now fulfilled. Change your minds and your hearts about Jesus. Turn to him so that your sins may be blotted out, and from the presence of God the times of relief will come. He will send back Jesus, the Messiah, the One appointed for you. It is necessary for him to remain in heaven until the times of the restoration of all things, the times God spoke about through his prophets from the earliest times.” Acts 3:18-21
Peter claims that all the prophets spoke about the sufferings of Jesus, the Messiah, and then the resurrection, and if we trace the Story from Genesis to the end of the Jewish canon we will discover Peter was right. From the statement that Satan would strike God’s promised male deliverer in the heel in Genesis 3, to the murder of Abel in Genesis 4, to the command to sacrifice Isaac on Mt. Moriah in Genesis 22, to the Passover lambs being sacrificed in Exodus 12, to King David speaking about the horrible death of one of his sons in Psalm 22, to Daniel predicting that the Messiah would be cut off by the Romans in Daniel 9, there is strong proof that the Jewish prophets did tell a story that revealed that the Messiah would suffer and die for our sins.
The climax of this prediction that the Messiah would suffer and die for our sins comes in Isaiah 53. In Acts 2 Peter used Psalm 16 to confront his audience with the fact that King David himself talked about one of his sons who would die but not decay in the grave. The Jewish prophets didn’t end their Story with the death and resurrection of the Messiah, but also said He would set up his Kingdom in Jerusalem.
This is the Kingdom the disciples asked Jesus about before he ascended (Acts 1:6). In Acts 3 Peter makes it clear that this restoration time for the Jewish people is still on the table. All that’s needed is for the Jewish people and their leadership to change their mind about Jesus, accept that his death can wipe away their sins, including handing Jesus over to Pilate, and believe in Jesus’ resurrection. Then, at the appointed time, Jesus, himself, will return. The Kingdom will come.
Our passion to flee to some paradise in the winter to escape the wind and the cold reveals that God’s promise of a future time of restoration and refreshment is not only present in the Jewish prophets but it is written into our souls.
LORD, tear down the lies that continue to cause the majority of Jews not to accept Jesus as one of their own. Tear down the lie that He was a false Messiah or a Messiah only for Gentiles. Cause Jewish hearts and all of our hearts to repent.
As I begin 2018 and the threatening winds blow—intense divisions and hatred in the U.S., the continuing threat of terrorism, destruction, crises, and death, help me to continue to believe that the times of refreshing will come. Jesus will return.
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