Is worship our singing praise to God, contrasted with teaching, where a pastor or other leader expounds the Word? Public worship is a much more reciprocal affair, alternating between God speaking to his people, and the congregation responding in song and prayer. Acts 3:17-26 focuses on God speaking to us.
God speaks. God spoke through the prophets. God spoke to create. God’s Word continues to sustain his creation. God spoke to his people in Eden and then even after sin entered the world. “Thus saith the Lord” is used over 1,100 times. Look at the function of the prophet in Ex. 4:16, as Aaron is assigned to be the spokesman for Moses. Marvel that God has spoken—and that he has spoken to you. Although a wonderful miracle triggers Peter’s message, the focus of his words is not on the formerly lame man but on the Savior who continues to speak the good news.
God continues to speak in the Prophet like Moses. Moses was the unique prophet, mediator, and leader in the Old Testament. Yet for all that, he merely anticipates the coming of someone greater. Christ Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God. He is in heaven, Acts 3:21. Yet the risen, ascended Lord continues to speak. Peter is telling his listeners that Christ is speaking in the preaching of the Word. Christ is the ultimate preacher, Romans 10:14. Preaching focuses on Christ, Acts 3:24. Learn to listen for where Christ comes through in the sermon. Look for him as you listen with your eyes in your own reading of the Word.
Since God speaks: Listen! Pay attention! Your ascended Lord is speaking to you. Pay attention. What is the single imperative you heard most frequently when growing up? First, “Don’t!” Then it became, “Listen!” Give God your full attention when he is speaking to you in the preaching of the Word. Westminster Larger Catechism: Q. 155. How is the word made effectual to salvation? A. “The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; or building them up in grace, and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.”
As you listen, repent. Turn to God to receive his blessing. “Listen” in the Bible describes an active, not passive response, Proverbs 1; 2; 3:3. Absorb God’s Word. Meditate on it. To listen to the Prophet like Moses means to repent, v. 19. To turn away from your sins, hating and forsaking them. Your eternal life depends on this listening! Receive God’s blessing as you turn to him. The refreshing fellowship of Eden is not only restored, but you move on to the glory of the new heavens and earth. Your life today, as you listen to the Prophet greater than Moses, has a foretaste of future glory.
Peter underlined the blessing of his first century Jewish audience in Jerusalem, v. 26: God sent him first to you. They heard the news first. But that same good news has come from the King to you today. Listen to him!