Refresh | Acts 3:19
Repentance has become a somewhat scary word in our Christian culture today. But in the days when Jesus walked our earth, it was everything they never knew they were craving. In Acts 3, Peter witnesses to an awestruck crowd who was hungry for change, and boldly proclaims, “Repent, therefore, and turn back, so that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (3:19)
When we zoom in and take a deeper look into the “times of refreshing” Peter references, we learn the literal translation from the Greek to be “recovery of breath; revival” (Strong’s Concordance G403). A beautiful concept, to be sure. But when we dive even deeper, and couple it with Paul’s promises in 2 Corinthians and Ephesians that we are gifted with the Holy Spirit – the same ruach elohim of the Old Covenant, just in a new tongue – once we surrender our lives to Christ, we realize that the very breath our Father animated Adam’s flesh with thousands of years ago in the Garden, and the very same vibrant intimacy and relationship he and Eve knew pre-fall, miraculously become our own.
How’s that for an inhale?!
But even 2,000 years later, we are not so far removed from an abundance of the same cold and heartless religion that blinded God’s people, confused His followers, and robbed repentance of its beauty. Of its rest. And of the simple, yet remarkable understanding of what living reconciled to our Abba truly means. Religion has twisted Scripture and paired repentance with shame, fear, and a ticket out of hell, rather than a life-giving invitation to breathe again and to return to what we were created for. And religion has taught us that Jesus died to make bad people good, when in truth, Jesus died to bring dead people to life.
Water refreshes the thirsty. Bread refreshes the hungry. Peace refreshes the anxious. Rest refreshes the weary. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus refers to Himself as all of these, and more! How refreshing it is to know that because of Him, living – not merely existing – can be our reality, even in the chaos of everyday life. Only then do we understand why of the two sisters, Jesus promised that Mary held the better portion.
Breathe in life. Breathe out love. Every day.
It’s what we were made for.