What does Acts 3:17-26 really mean?

Acts 3:17-26 is about Peter addressing the people of Israel, emphasizing their responsibility in rejecting Jesus, the fulfillment of the prophecies, and urging them to repent and turn to God to experience the promised blessings of forgiveness and restoration.

17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.”
18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.
19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,
21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.
23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’
24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.
25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’
26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”


Setting the Scene for Acts 3:17-26

In Acts chapter 3, we find Peter and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, heading to the temple in Jerusalem for the afternoon prayer. As they approach the temple gate called Beautiful, they encounter a man who has been lame from birth, being carried there every day to beg for alms. This man sees Peter and John and asks them for money, but Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, looks at him and says, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
The man is miraculously healed, and he jumps up, walking and leaping and praising God. The people at the temple are amazed and gather around Peter and John, who take the opportunity to preach about Jesus and the power of faith in His name. Peter explains to the crowd that it was not by their own power or godliness that the man was healed but by the name of Jesus, whom they had crucified but whom God raised from the dead. He urges the people to repent and turn to God so that their sins may be wiped out, and times of refreshing may come from the Lord. The scene is filled with awe and wonder as the power of God is displayed through the healing of the lame man and the preaching of the gospel by Peter and John.

What is Acts 3:17-26 about?

Repentance and turning to God remind us of the transformative power in this verse. Repentance involves recognizing and acknowledging our mistakes, sins, and shortcomings, and turning away from them. We open ourselves up to His grace and mercy by repenting and seeking forgiveness from God. This process allows us to experience a renewal and refreshment in our relationship with Him. It is a chance to start anew, leaving behind our past errors and stepping into a brighter future guided by God’s love and forgiveness.

Imagine the weight being lifted off your shoulders as you let go of past mistakes and embrace God’s forgiveness. Picture yourself standing in a refreshing stream of grace and mercy, feeling renewed and rejuvenated by God’s love. Repentance is not a punishment but a pathway to growth and renewal. It is an opportunity to realign ourselves with God’s will and experience the restoration that comes from His forgiveness. So, let us turn to God with sincere hearts, seeking forgiveness, and allowing Him to refresh our spirits.

Understanding what Acts 3:17-26 really means

  • Introduction
  • In Acts 3:17-26, we find Peter delivering a sermon at Solomon’s Portico, immediately after the miraculous healing of a lame man. His purpose is to address the people of Israel, shedding light on the significance of Jesus’ suffering and extending a call to repentance.

  • Key Phrases and Their Meanings

  • Peter begins by acknowledging the ignorance of the Israelites and their leaders in condemning Jesus, highlighting the theme of God’s grace and the opportunity for redemption despite past mistakes. This sets the stage for a message of forgiveness and renewal.
  • By connecting Jesus’ suffering to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, Peter emphasizes the divine plan of God. He references passages like Isaiah 53:3-5 and Psalm 22, underscoring the continuity between the Old Testament promises and Jesus’ redemptive work.
  • The call to repentance is a central theme in Peter’s message, echoing the teachings of John the Baptist and Jesus himself. It serves as a reminder of the importance of turning away from sin and seeking reconciliation with God for spiritual refreshment.
  • Peter’s assurance of Jesus’ return as the appointed Messiah reinforces the hope and fulfillment of God’s promises. This promise of Jesus’ second coming, as seen in Acts 1:11, instills confidence in believers and underscores the certainty of God’s plans.

  • Relevance to People Today

  • Today, many individuals act out of ignorance or misunderstanding, facing the consequences of their actions. Peter’s acknowledgment of ignorance and God’s grace resonates with modern struggles, offering a message of forgiveness and a fresh start.
  • The fulfillment of prophecies in Jesus’ life serves as a testament to God’s faithfulness and sovereignty, providing reassurance to believers in uncertain times. It encourages trust in God’s plan, even when circumstances seem challenging.
  • The timeless call to repentance remains relevant in a world seeking meaning and purpose. It urges individuals to turn away from sin and embrace a relationship with God, emphasizing the universal need for spiritual renewal.

  • Anecdote

  • Consider a person burdened by past mistakes and seeking redemption. Upon hearing a message of forgiveness and renewal, they find hope in the possibility of starting anew through repentance. This echoes Peter’s message, illustrating that regardless of one’s history, there is always a path back to God’s grace and restoration.

  • Conclusion

  • Acts 3:17-26 encapsulates a profound message of God’s grace, the fulfillment of His promises through Jesus’ suffering, and the timeless call to repentance. It serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that no matter our past, God offers forgiveness and spiritual refreshment. This message remains as pertinent today as it was in Peter’s time, offering a pathway to renewal and reconciliation with God.

What must we do to turn from our sins?

To turn from our sins, we must repent and turn to God. We must acknowledge our wrongdoing and seek forgiveness through a change of heart and mind. This involves confessing our sins to God and turning away from them, choosing to live in alignment with His will. We humbly recognize our need for God’s grace and mercy by repenting, surrendering our ways to follow His ways.

Turning from our sins requires us to not only stop engaging in sinful behavior but also to actively seek righteousness and seek to live a life that honors God. It is a continual process of transformation and growth, relying on God’s strength and guidance to overcome temptations and stay on the path of righteousness. God empowers us to lead a life that is pleasing to Him and brings about blessings and spiritual growth in our lives as we lean on Him and His Word.


Embrace God’s mercy and grace through Jesus Christ. Repent, seek forgiveness, and be transformed. Spread this message of hope to others, offering them the same joy in Christ. Will you heed the call, sharing God’s love with the world?