Several really cool things happen out of the gate in Acts 3. This scene is just shortly after the disciples had witnessed the ascension of Christ and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. They were now supernaturally empowered. And Peter, the one who denied Christ three times the night He was arrested, is now incredibly bold in his preaching.
So when Peter and John arrive at the Portico of Solomon, they are met with a beggar who had been lame since birth. Instead of giving them money, “Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”” (Acts 3:6)
But it’s a bit later in the chapter that the real power of this healing came. The fact that this lame man whom all knew was now walking, drew attention to Peter and John. Instead of accepting credit for what they had done, they used this new attention from the large crown to preach.
Peter’s early messages like this one almost always included a jab at the Jews for having handed Jesus over to be killed. “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” (Acts 3:13-15)
Despite that rather harsh attack to these people, Peter then follows this direct accusation with an amazing thought, one we out to follow when we speak to or with unbelievers.
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:17-19)
Peter gives them an out. While he does start with a bit of a guilt trip, he quickly gives them an out. As if to say, ‘I know you had no idea what you were doing, but it’s not too late, you can still repent.’ What incredible grace. Well actually not that incredible actually. Because Jesus had extended him that kind of grace. Peter was ignorant himself when he denied Christ three time, yet Jesus (fully aware of the denial to come) told Peter and all the disciples that He would build His church upon Peter. That is grace, and it is the same grace that Peter extends to his fellow Jews.
He was like them, he denied Christ too, he was ignorant… but he repented. He confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in his heart that God raised Him from the dead (actually saw Him raised), and therefor he was saved.
This same forgiveness and grace is available to anyone, regardless of their past transgressions. If the very men that hung Jesus on the cross could still repent and be saved, then so can you. No sin is beyond His covering.