Text: Acts 3:11-21

Sunday April 14, 2024 -Easter 3

Trinity Lutheran Church – Creston/Mount Ayr.


       Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!


       Our text for this Third Sunday of Easter is our First lesson from Acts 3 that was just proclaimed.


Let Us Pray:  Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to remind us that yes great miracles and miraculous healing are certainly blessings that get our attention. However, remind us that the greatest gift we receive from you is the forgiveness of sins that you won for each of us on the cross.  May we receive your Word, remember our baptism and receive your body and blood often.  Amen.


Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:


Did you hear about it?  Did you see it?  What an awesome miracle!!


Miracles sure attracted the crowds. Peter and John healed a lame man in the temple, and wow!—everybody came running. And who wouldn’t? I would too, and so would you.


An amazing thing had happened, really impressive, but in Peter’s sermon that followed—our text for today—another amazing thing took place, and actually even more amazing than the miracle. God offered the forgiveness of sins to those who had killed Jesus! Yes,


More Amazing than a Miracle,
God Offers Forgive­ness to All.


Let’s think about that for a moment. Who was Jesus? He was—or better, is—God himself, become true man in order to save us.


 And in his ministry, what did he do? He helped people—he healed their diseases, he cast out their demons, he raised their dead, and he forgave their sins, especially the sins of tax collectors and sinners who knew so well that they needed it.


Did Jesus do anything that deserved death? No. Not at all. Even Pontius Pilate knew he was innocent and planned to release him.


So what happened?


The leaders were jealous and resented Jesus’ rebukes to their pride and hypocrisy. He was a menace to their positions and power, so he had to go.


And the people? Well, on Palm Sunday they hailed Jesus as a hero, but just a few days later—just a few—they were screaming out, “Crucify him” (Mk 15:13)! And they were choosing Barabbas, a murderer, instead of Jesus. They wanted him dead. And that’s what they got. In short, as Peter told them, “You killed the Author of life” (v 15).


I can’t imagine a worse sin. Even Adam and Eve’s choosing a piece of fruit at the price of death does not seem so bad as crucifying the Son of God! So if anybody deserved hell, it was these very people to whom Peter was talking.


But instead of delivering God’s curse, what does Peter say? “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out” (v 19)—wiped out, erased, gone for good. That’s forgiveness—gone for good!


Forgiveness for their sin or any sin is possible for one reason only—the kind of God that God is. For when Adam and Eve sinned first and then all the rest of us followed right along to fill up the measure of man’s wickedness, God acted to save. His mercy and love were greater than the sin of Peter’s hearers—even this sin of killing God’s Son. And his mercy and love are greater than our sin.


Not only did he promise—starting with Adam and Eve—that he would save us sinners, but he also kept his promise and sent his Son, who did die, yes, but on the third day rose again. Jesus was the great sin-bearer (our sin), and the great death-dier (our death, our punishment, our hell!).


But when he arose from the grave—he had won. Not sin, not death, and not the devil had won, but Jesus had won. Sin had been blotted out. And that was what Peter was offering even to those who had killed Jesus—the very worst sin, conquered and wiped clean in Jesus’ resurrection.


Some sins seem too big to forgive. There are many of us here—maybe all of us—who have a sin too big to forget. Perhaps it’s something really embarrassing or something really scandalous that nobody knows about except us, and we can’t forget.


Or maybe it’s a recurring sin that we can’t get over. We do it again and again and again. These may be various addictions or habits that we can’t seem to break.  Sins like these can trouble us, haunt us, refuse to leave us alone . . . but do leave us wondering: Does God really forgive this sin?


When he was almost fifty years old, Pastor Henry Gerike joined the army to serve as a Lutheran chaplain during World War II. He served capably and competently during the war, but his most notable service occurred afterward.


He was chaplain to the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. This was an assignment that he dreaded to take because, after all, he would be ministering to men accused and then convicted of the most atrocious war crimes, involving the deaths of millions.


Some of the Allied officers at Nuremberg resented his ministry. They wanted to send the prisoners straight to hell.


But Gerike did it because Christ had died for all, even the Nazis. He conducted services and invited all to come. Some did. Gerike prayed with them, heard their confessions, communed four of them in order to assure them that Christ’s blood had washed away even their sins.


He walked to the gallows with some, and with Wilhelm Keitel, head of the German high command, just before his execution, he prayed aloud a prayer that both had learned from their mothers.


That’s how amazing God’s forgiveness is. Christ’s resurrection proclaims his victory over all sins, including those of Nazi war criminals (Acts 3:11–14, 19–20).


So does God really forgive even this particular sin? My Friends, Yes, he does!!


That’s the answer of this text. There is no sin too big to forgive even if we never forget it.


God forgave David, an adulterer and murderer. He forgave Paul, who persecuted Christians. He even forgave Peter, who denied him three times. And it was this same Peter who held out forgiveness and times of refreshing from God, who would send Jesus back and restore all things to these very people who had “killed the Author of life.”


Yes, they killed him, but he didn’t stay dead.


Easter is God’s answer to sin. Yours, mine, all of it. And there’s a lot of it. The whole world is full of sin, and history is its record. But there is something greater than sin, and it’s a part of history too.


For God—almighty and all gracious—has entered our world in the person of his Son to redeem us—to die and to rise again, and to blot out all our sins. And that, my friends, is really amazing!





Now may the peace of God in Christ Jesus guard and keep is in the one true faith until life everlasting…Amen.