Acts 3:11–26 (NKJV)
11 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. 12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.Acts 3:11-16
Peter, in the wake of the great miracle God has just performed, realized the bewilderment and curiosity of the people made for a powerful opportunity for him to present the gospel. He seized that opportunity and began to speak, explaining that Jehovah, the God of their fathers, had glorified Jesus through this miracle. He reminded them that they had killed Jesus, whom God raised up. He then gives all the credit for this miracle to Jesus, and the faith that they had (Peter, John, and the lame man) to believe for this healing.
17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 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.”Acts 3:17-26
Just as he did on the day of Pentecost, Peter gave the people a bit of grace right away, by conceding that they killed Jesus in ignorance. This was a fulfillment of prophecy. But it was required that the people repent and be converted. Jesus would forgive their sins and refresh their spirits. He reminded them that Moses and Samuel and all the prophets had spoken of a prophet that would be raised up. Jesus is that man, the One that would turn them from their iniquities and save them.
This gospel message included several key elements: guilt (sin), responsibility, grace, hope, forgiveness, and salvation. Peter spoke under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He declared the wonderful name of Jesus. He did not necessarily speak to the politics, the culture, or the church so much as he spoke to the hope found in Jesus Christ. I think perhaps we could take a lesson from Jesus. In case you begin to list the things he did address, like the culture that killed Jesus, and the religious leaders who led them astray, note that those references were brief side notes. The work of Christ was the focus and the center of the message. Make Jesus the center of your message. Satan will send many topics along to distract you and take away from the gospel. Do not be distracted. Jesus is what the world needs. They know they are sinners. They know the world is upside down at times. Give them Jesus. Take you opportunities, like Peter did, to give a confused and hurting world the hope that is found in the gospel!