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A LAME MAN HEALED

Acts 3:1-16

   The book of Acts is crammed with action and spiritual power. Stirring events crowd upon one another without letup. The dynamic workings and direction of God are evident on each page.

 

   Following the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit continued to use the apostles and other believers in the city of Jerusalem. The promise of the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:8) continued to be fulfilled. The believers were being Christ's witnesses.

 

   Each miracle was performed by God as evidence of the truth of the believer's witness. God confirmed His word with signs (Mark 16:20). The people of Jerusalem were awed by these unique events.

 

   No one confronted with the power of God could remain neutral. The amazement of the multitudes soon gave way to belief on the part of many, opposition on the part of others. The rulers particularly were concerned and troubled about these events, for they recognized that their prestige and influence were being threatened. Surely, they felt, something must be done.

 

   No one could deny that miracles were taking place. The only thing the leaders could do to stop the testimony was to try to suppress it by force; they could not successfully refute it. However, they knew that had to respond.

 

 PETER AND JOHN -- Acts 3:1

 

AC 3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon.

 

   Acts gives us a glimpse into the character of the early church leaders. In spite of all that was happening -- the coming of the Spirit, the conversion of thousands, the growth of the church -- Peter and John kept it their priority to be in prayer. At the hour of prayer, they made their way to the temple. The temple, for all of Jewish background held special significance.

 

   Luke was careful to record that they went to the temple "together" (Acts 3:1). There was no spirit of conflict, contention, or jealousy. They were "together" in the work Christ had given. They were not trying to build their own following; rather, they were working together for the betterment of Christ's church. Their ministry was a united effort for the express purpose of sharing the gospel of Christ.

 

 A  LAME MAN --Acts 3:2-8

 

2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

 

    AC 3:6 Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

 

   The man's condition (Acts 3:2). As Peter and John entered the temple, they passed a lame man. This individual had not been able to walk since birth. Each day friends would place him at the Beautiful Gate of the temple so that he could secure donations from those who entered. This was his only means of financial support; his own way literally to survive.

 

   The gate called Beautiful was probably located on the east side of the temple. Some scholars think that this gate may have also been called the Nicanor Gate, which was the only gate not adorned with gold. If that is the case, its beauty may serve as an impressive object lesson for what Peter was about to say and do. What better place for such a manifestation of God's love and power.

 

   The man's request (Acts 3:3). When the lame man saw Peter and John he asked for a donation from them. He had made this request from hundreds during his life, but this day the request would produce different results. This day this lame man would be changed forever.

 

   Peter's reply (Acts 3:4-6). Peter noted the lame man and said, "Look on us." The lame man complied with Peter's request, thinking that he would receive some monetary amount from them. He was probably disappointed at Peter's words. In his mind all that any person could provide would be money.

 

   Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none" (Acts 3:6). The lame man was certainly confused at this point. He had requested money; Peter told him he had no money. If that was true, how could Peter possibly be of any assistance to this lame man? The lame man must have though this would truly be a waste of his time.

 

   Peter continued, "Such as I have give I to thee: In the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk." Peter was asking the lame man to do something that he had never done before -- walk. How could such a thing possibly happen? No one had ever expected this man to walk, much less commanded him to rise and walk.

 

       God's miracle (Acts 3:7-8). Peter took the lame man by the right hand and lifted him to his feet. "Immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength." The man leaped up, stood, and walked. He accompanied Peter and John into the temple. He joined with others who normally walked by while he sat at the gate.

 

   As the once-lame man entered the temple, he was "walking, and leaping, and praising God" (Acts 3:8). His life up to that day had been sitting at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; now he could walk into the temple praising God for a miracle. Truly this man's life would never be the same.

 

THE PEOPLE

Acts 3:9-10

 

9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

 

   The people saw (Acts 3:9). The temple congregation had a unique experience. Many had given money to the lame man at the Beautiful Gate; now they saw him walking and heard him praising God. The lame man was no longer lame. How could this be explained? How was it possible that the lame could walk?

 

   The people were amazed (Acts 3:10). There was no doubt that this was the man, lame from birth, who had asked for money at the Beautiful Gate. The people had walked by him for years and had given. Now they saw him walking. "They were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him." This was beyond human explanation.

 

PETER'S SERMON -- Acts 3:11-16

 

  AC 3:11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

 

   Peter's question (Acts 3:11). As the healed lame man stood with Peter and John a crowd began to gather. They came to Peter "greatly wondering." How could this be explained?

 

   Peter asked the people, "Why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" (Acts 3:12).

 

  Peter posed the question as a tool of guidance. He desired to guide the people not only in considering the question but also in finding the correct answer. He was concerned that some might credit him or John with the miracle. Peter did not want this to happen. He was determined that the truth of this miracle be understood by all. It was the power of God that had been evidenced.

 

   Peter's declaration (Acts 3:13). Peter declared that "the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers" had glorified Jesus. Jesus, said Peter, was the Son of God. This Jesus had been delivered to Pilate by the people of Israel. Pilate's determination was to free Jesus. He found no fault in Him. Pilate desired to let Him go.

 

   The people, however, determined that Jesus would not be set free. They denied "the Holy One and the Just" (Acts 3:14). They desired that a murdered be released unto them rather than Jesus. They rejected the Christ.

 

   The ultimate result was that Jesus, the Prince of life, was put to death (Acts 3:15). His death, however, was not a permanent condition. God raised Him from the dead. Peter and John were witnesses of Jesus' resurrection.

 

   Peter then declared that it was through faith in Jesus that the lame man had been made whole (Acts 3:16). The lame man was now strong and had "perfect soundness." He could now walk. A miracle truly had happened. This was beyond any human power or ability. No medical cure of the day had been performed.

 

   Peter emphasized this as a miracle of God desiring to turn attention from him and John and to place attention on Jesus. It was the power of Christ that had made the change in this lame man.

              

-Ray L. Parker.

rlparker@trinitysem.edu