For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to Him in everything He tells you.
I. THAT HE WAS LIKE UNTO THE GREATEST OF ALL WHO PRECEDED HIM, BUT WAS GREATER THAN HE. (Ver. 22.) A greater Legislator than Moses, for his laws should last as long as time itself; a better Man, for he was absolutely without sin; a worthier Leader, conducting out of a harder bondage into a truer freedom, unto a land of greater promise.
II. THAT HIS RELATION TO MANKIND IS SUCH THAT THE REFLECTION OF HIM IS THE RUIN OF OURSELVES. (Ver. 23.) To be ignorant of some human teachers is to lose a valuable heritage, a precious treasure, excellent and elevating enjoyment; but to refuse his friendship, to reject his service, is to cut ourselves off from the source of eternal truth, is to abandon ourselves to the course which ends in spiritual death.
III. THAT HE IS THE ONE GREAT HERO OF SACRED SCRIPTURE. (For. 24.) "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rightly read, "all the prophets" testified of him, and pointed on to those days in which he lived, suffered, died, and rose again.
IV. THAT HE BLESSES WHOM HE SERVES WITH THE SUPREME BLESSING. (Ver. 26.) What would we give to those whom we would fain serve? Health, fortune, power, fame, human love? Jesus Christ blesses by "turning away every one from his iniquities." What a transcendent blessing is this! Consider:
1. How much it involves; viz. the removal of the penalty and the power of sin from each individual soul.
2. How much it implies; viz. the restoration of each soul to God (for to fear him, to love him, and to strive to please him, is the only way to escape from a state of sin), and entrance upon eternal life (for the sphere of sin is the region of death, and to be delivered from the former is to enter the kingdom of life, the life which is spiritual and eternal).
3. By what means it is effected; viz.
(1) by the sacrifice of himself (Hebrews 9:26), and
V. THAT, COMING TO REDEEM THE RACE, HE OFFERS HIS SALVATION FIRST TO THOSE WHO HAD REJECTED HIM. (Vers. 25, 26.) They to whom Peter spoke were "the children of the prophets;" but they had "denied the Holy One and the Just," and "killed the Prince of life." Yet to those who had so shamefully abused their privileges the apostle said, "To you first," etc. Jesus came to "call sinners to repentance," to restore those who had fallen the furthest, to cleanse the most leprous, to raise the spiritually dead, to win those most utterly estranged and most bitterly opposed to himself. So great a Conqueror is he. - C.
For Moses truly said unto your fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you... like unto me.
I. THE APPROPRIATENESS OF GOD REVEALING HIMSELF THROUGH A HUMAN BEING. For man is the Divine image, and hence God reveals Himself to man through a man, otherwise we could have no knowledge of God. The office of prophet is the most appropriate way of revealing God's will. When we carry on this line of thought we are landed in the idea that an incarnation of God alone could adequately convey to man the mind and nature of God.
II. A SINGLE PROPHET AFTER THE SIMILITUDE OF MOSES IS TO BE THE MEDIATOR FOR THE AGES. Now, only one Person answers this description, and that is Christ. He is incarnate God. God's Spirit He alone could take, and through its gift to men in the different ages make them the channel of Divine revelation (ver. 24). As a matter of fact "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," and the prophets were His instruments in the history of the Church. God has spoken in these last days by His Son; and the prophets between Moses and Christ were really the inspired messengers of the one great Prophet. This is the idea of Peter (1 Peter 1:11).
III. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JESUS, THEREFORE, BECOME THE CLIMAX OF DIVINE REVELATION. The previous revelations were but shadows of this. A human history became the embodiment of Divine thoughts, mercies, and self-sacrifice. The blaze of Divinity that was intolerable at Sinai becomes not only bearable but entrancing in the face of Jesus Christ. "We beheld His glory," but it did not scare men as on the holy mount.
IV. DISREGARD OF THE WORDS OF JESUS IS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH (ver. 23). "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema." If disobedience to Moses was visited in many cases by death, how much more disloyalty to Christ (Hebrews 10:28-31). The gospel has penalties of the severest kind for its rejection, as well as bliss beyond compare for its reception. The alternative is thus clearly set before us.
(R. M. Edgar, M. A.)
I. AS FOUNDERS OF DISPENSATIONS. It was the greatness of Moses that he was employed by God in inaugurating a new era in the history of His kingdom. In this respect he stood at the head of the Old Testament line of prophets, and in a sense apart from them (John 1:17). He had the ordering and settling of the "house" of God in the form in which it was to last till Christ came, who "as Son over His own house" would revise its arrangements and reconstitute it on a better basis (Hebrews 3:2-7). Prophets subsequent to Moses stood within the lines of economy already established. They could enforce and maintain, but while predicting the advent of a new age in which great changes would be wrought, they had no authority to introduce such changes. It was reserved to Christ to so remodel Mosaic institutions, or abolish and supersede them, as to place the Church upon a permanent basis, and adapt it for the reception of the Gentiles.
II. IN THE FREEDOM AND INTERCOURSE THEY ENJOYED WITH GOD. Moses enjoyed, as was necessary, the freest intercourse with heaven. God spake with him, not in a vision, or dream, or in dark speeches, but "mouth to mouth" (Numbers 12:6-9), "face to face" (Deuteronomy 34:10). This is made a feature of distinction between Moses and the later prophets. In Christ this peculiarity appears in a higher form. Intercourse with the Father reaches the highest degree of closeness and intimacy (John 14:10). Christ's insight into the Father's will was perfect (John 5:20, 21), His communion habitual and uninterrupted.
III. AS MEDIATING BETWEEN THE PEOPLE AND GOD. These points involve others. There was resemblance —
1. In the degree of authority with which they were clothed, and in the mighty signs which authenticated their mission.
2. In the fulness and grandeur of their revelations.
(J. Orr, B. D.)
(W. Denton, M. A.)
I. THEY BELIEVED THE PROPHETS. Those prophets had told of the Messiah and His claims, and in those prophets they professed to believe. But they had rejected Christ, and hence the necessity according to their own beliefs of repentance. This appeal is a pertinent one to-day.
II. THEY ALREADY CLAIMED RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES (ver. 25). Hence their guilt in rejecting Christ. Abraham, the patriarchs and prophets had all been believers, and the blessings of the covenant could be attained only by faith. But faith implied repentance. How many value their privileges under the Christian dispensation, and yet live in sin! But these privileges call them to repentance.
III. GOD HAD CROWNED ALL THEIR FORMER PRIVILEGES BY SENDING JESUS. Yet they had rejected Him. So now —
IV. WITHOUT REPENTANCE THEY MUST REMAIN IN A STATE OF DEPRAVITY. They would not be "turned from their iniquities." Those who do not repent and receive Christ remain among the enemies of God and in the bond of iniquity.
V. WITHOUT REPENTANCE THEY MUST BE EXCLUDED FROM THE PEOPLE OF GOD (ver. 23).
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