Acts Chapter 3: Peter Heals Lame Man, Peter’s Sermon

Jan 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Acts, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Acts Chapter 3: Peter Heals Lame Man,  Peter’s Sermon

Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

The ninth hour was 3 p.m., for time was reckoned from 6 a.m.

Acts 3:2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

The setting for the miracle that was about to take place was dramatic. A man lame from birth was carried daily and laid at the gate of the Temple called Beautiful to beg for alms of those going into the Temple. The man had to be very crippled to require carrying. The term “from his mother’s womb” means from birth, from the moment the fetus came forth from the womb.

The gate Beautiful was not only the east gate, but it was the most ornamented gate. Jesus gave his “I am the vine” sermon in that vicinity (John 15:1-6).

Acts 3:3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

Acts 3:4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

When the lame man asked alms of Peter and John, Peter said, “Look on us.” Why did Peter include John? Peter was the spokesman, but it is commendable that he humbly shared the honor of healing with John and considered them both equals as brethren. Since Paul had not joined them yet, Peter and John were the two leading apostles, and they just naturally gravitated together. They had strong but different personalities with a close kinship.

Acts 3:5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

The lame man looked on Peter and John, expecting that they would give him alms.

Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

But instead of giving alms, Peter spoke with power: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Why did Peter mention Nazareth? Nazareth was considered inferior, and Peter was saying in effect, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth—that one— to rise up and walk.” The common people appreciated that Jesus came from Nazareth. Also, Peter wanted to make clear that the credit for healing should go to Jesus, not to John and him. Peter did not have much money on him: “Silver and gold have I none [that is, he had no excess money].” However, healing was one of Peter’s gifts. All of the early Christians got at least one gift, and the apostles were given multiple gifts. Of course Paul later had more gifts than any of the other apostles.

Acts 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

Peter took the lame man’s right hand and assisted him to his feet. The man certainly did not expect a miracle after years of lameness and weakness, but immediately as Peter lifted him up, the lame man’s knees, feet, and ankle bones were strengthened so that he could walk. He probably felt an electricity go through him.

Q: When the apostles healed, did they lose strength like Jesus?

A: The Bible does not say. They may have lost some strength but not like our Lord.

Acts 3:8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

The man leaped up, stood, and walked with them into the Temple. He kept praising God and walking and leaping to test his new-found limbs and also to express his great joy.

Comment: We are reminded of a Scripture that applies to the Kingdom: “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Isa. 35:6).

Acts 3:9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

Acts 3:10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

The people who recognized the formerly lame man were amazed at his healing. They, too, praised God.

Acts 3:11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

In gratitude, the now-healed man held Peter and John. Meanwhile, those who had seen the miracle ran excitedly to tell others. Word of the healing spread rapidly, and many people gathered quickly unto Peter, John, and the cured man in Solomon’s Porch, which was a cloistered portico or hall.

Acts 3:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, 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 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

Acts 3:14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;

Peter used the healing of the lame man as the basis for a witness, and he started by showing emphatically that God should get the credit for the healing, which was done through Jesus. Incidentally, the word “answered” in the Old English means “mentioned” or “made a statement” and not necessarily that one responded to a question.

Notice Peter’s strong statements about what had been done to Jesus: “Whom ye delivered up, and denied…. But ye denied the Holy One … and desired a murderer to be granted unto you.” People today generally feel that the Christian should always be gentle, but many have come into the truth when they realized Papacy was the Antichrist. They were so shocked when that veil was broken that they responded very dramatically. To speak calmly and gently does not always produce the desired results. Peter did not just witness—he rebuked the people!

It was still the Pentecostal season, and many were visiting Israel from foreign lands at this time. They had come by foot, cart, mule, and boat—some from as far away as 1,000 miles—at the cost of time and expense to be in Jerusalem for Passover. Once there, they remained through the Pentecostal season (seven weeks). Thus these Jews were there when Jesus died, and they had seen the Cross on the brow of Golgotha’s skull or hill—on high stage in front of the nation!

Peter pinpointed their responsibility in the Crucifixion with a penetrating sermon: “Whom YE delivered up, and denied” by repeatedly shouting, “Crucify him!” when Pilate “was determined to let him [Jesus] go.” Finally Pilate conceded to the demands, being fearful for his office. Three years later he lost his office anyway—as retribution.

If we study Peter’s sermons, we will see that they were very forceful. Not only did he convict the hearers of their wrong by placing the onus on them, but also he spoke in a positive sense by turning the conviction of wrong in a channel of repentance and acceptance of Jesus. The Holy Spirit operated mightily through him.

“But ye denied [Jesus] the Holy One and the Just [One].” This statement should have brought to mind Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Jesus had come to them on a colt, “just, and having salvation.”

The Jews had “desired a murderer to be granted” to them. They had (1) lynched an innocent person and (2) exonerated, or set free, a guilty one—two startling things. Lesson: The Christian is not to agree to a wrong act either overtly or through silence. Of course the scribes and the Pharisees had plotted Jesus’ death, but many others were guilty by association.

Comment: Similar situations can occur today where we may know something that should be told, but we do not want to talk about it because the matter is delicate.

Reply: Probably all of us, in at least one portion of our life, even as a Christian, have been guilty of a cover-up of some kind, and we learn later that we should have done something differently. If that situation or incident becomes a stepping-stone for trying to improve our stance on a subsequent occasion where the same principle is involved, then the previous experience was of benefit to the new creature. Through discipline, the Christian should grow even after a failure. “A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Prov. 24:16). In other words, a Christian should purpose and make strenuous efforts to do better the next time. We can make mistakes, but what we should try to do, by God’s grace, is to overcome.

Acts 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Again Peter’s words were strong. “Ye [not only] denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; … [but also] killed the Prince of life.” God raised Jesus from the dead, and the apostles were direct witnesses of the resurrection, telling it forth with joy.

Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

What a beautiful and powerful sermon Peter was giving in such few words! He was saying, “Here is the evidence. You see the cured man before you. He is strong and right here.” The hearers knew the man, for they had seen him lame year after year as they passed through the Beautiful Gate. Therefore, Peter’s words had to affect them deeply. The lame man was not just standing up, but he had “perfect soundness” and straightened limbs. (Some of Jesus’ miracles even included the restoration of a missing limb, such as with a leper.)

Acts 3:17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.

Notice Peter’s compassion now. He himself had denied Christ, and Christ’s mercy was on Peter in his sin because of the honest, open, unabashed weeping and sorrow for his denial of the Master.

Peter knew he was forgiven because before ascending, Jesus appeared to him personally in a private audience to help restore him (1 Cor. 15:3-5). And Jesus pressed the matter again to make sure Peter’s repentance was lasting (John 21:15-17).

“I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” This statement was true, generally speaking, but not of the chief priests and elders who paid hush money to the soldiers not to tell the truth and instead to give false testimony that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body (Matt. 28:11-15). They were guilty of willful sin. However, Peter was speaking of a class, not of just a few individuals.

Comment: Under the Law, a sin of ignorance required a sacrifice, so this schooling, if taken to heart, would have produced the right results now in those who heard Peter’s sermon.

Reply: Yes, Peter was softening up those who were listening by giving them a ray of hope. They would think, “If that lame man was cured by faith in Jesus, is it possible that we can be forgiven for what we have done?” Peter, a gruff, blunt individual, spoke very tenderly here.

Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had shown by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

Of course these Jews were not fully knowledgeable about what the prophets had said in regard to Christ’s sufferings, but from time to time, they would have heard Scriptures that raised questions and seemed to go against the common belief. However, the tendency was to brush off such Scriptures because of their culture and their schooling in one direction. Peter was saying, “Many of you are familiar with the Scriptures that show Christ would suffer.” Then Peter might have paused to let his hearers reflect on those Scriptures.

Comment: We often think of Acts 3:21, which says that the times of restitution were spoken of by all of God’s holy prophets, but we do not generally consider this verse about Christ’s sufferings being foretold by all of the prophets.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

The Pastor gave an interesting analysis of why Jesus had to return at his Second Advent before sins could be blotted out. It is one thing for sins to be covered in the present life and another thing for them to be blotted out, or expunged. The robe of Christ’s righteousness covers blemishes, but when Jesus returns and the resurrection change takes place, the sins are thoroughly blotted out—first with the Church (starting with the sleeping saints) and then with the Great Company. Thus Peter was advising the hearers what to do, and the key was to “repent.”

Acts 3:20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The heavens must retain (or had to retain) Jesus until the times of restitution, which were approximately 19 centuries down the stream of time. When Peter made this statement, the Holy Spirit was speaking through him. At this point, Jesus had already ascended into heaven and been there for more than ten days. When Jesus said previously that he would come again, the apostles did not know when, although Peter later realized that the Second Advent would be a long way off. Verses 19-21 suggest that the blotting out of sins and the refreshing are progressive, starting at or in the Second Advent.

Comment: In a Volume study, the “times of restitution” were said to be the cause, and the “times of refreshing” were the effect. Both terms refer to the same time period.

The statement “Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you” probably refers to what the prophets in the Old Testament had said about Jesus, but it could also refer to Peter’s previous sermon.

Acts 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.

This was practical advice. Moses was an individual sent by God to Israel in bondage to declare the time of their liberation. The Israelites saw both Moses and his miracles, and in Israel’s eyes, he was their greatest prophet. Now Peter was saying, “Moses himself, whom you admire, declared that another being like him would come and do miracles and have a somewhat comparable role.” The Jews could not help seeing that Jesus was a great prophet, for he even raised the dead.

“Him shall ye hear in all things.” Peter reasoned, “Way back there in the Wilderness of Sinai, Moses, whom you admire, said that a prophet would come whose ministry would be similar in many respects to his own, and this future prophet would teach Israel. Then Moses told you to listen carefully to all the words of that prophet when he comes.” Peter was exciting the minds of the hearing Jews with his powerful sermon, and we will see why as we proceed.

Acts 3:23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.

Peter was telling them, “Moses warned you to watch for this prophet whom God would raise up. You better listen to him carefully, for those who refuse to heed him will be destroyed.”

Although this is a prophecy of the Kingdom Age, it is also true of those enlightened ones in the Gospel Age who sin willfully and openly deny and reject Christ. The incorrigible are “destroyed,” not burned in hell.

Peter used wisdom in his sermon. He (1) convinced the listening Jews of their sin and (2) gave them hope of a way of escape by suggesting they (3) start with repentance. Then they (4) were to heed Jesus, the one like Moses. We should take a lesson from Peter and be careful not to give too liberal a message on restitution. If we say that all will be saved, we could be encouraging a reprobate not to mend his ways. The Old Testament says that those prophets who speak in God’s name and soft-soap certain things will be accountable. Peter himself had gone through the steps that are needed for true conversion.

Acts 3:24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.

Acts 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

Then Peter, using strong psychology, said to the Jews, “You are the children of the prophets.

The covenant God made with Abraham was also made with Abraham’s seed. You are the children of Abraham; hence you are his seed.” Peter’s sermon shows that the Old Testament is important.

Acts 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

“God … sent him [Jesus] to bless you.” After surgically operating on the Jewish listeners with a powerful sermon, Peter showed tenderness. He was stirring up their emotions in different ways and was now saying, “The purpose of all this is to open your eyes of understanding to see the truth as it really is and to receive the blessing that God is offering you here, now, on this occasion. Unto you is given this opportunity. Do not pass it by. God sent Jesus to bless you in turning every one of you away from his iniquities.”

Comment: The lesson of the importance of the Old Testament comes through over and over again in this chapter.

Reply: Yes, the Lord’s Word consists of two parts, not just the New Testament.

Consider the setting of Peter’s sermon, which began at 3 p.m., the hour of prayer (Acts 3:1).

Peter came late to the Temple and was about to enter to pray when he healed the lame man.

Hearing about the miracle, crowds rushed to the site, and Peter then gave a long sermon. The apostle said to them, “Look at the man—he is whole! He was healed by faith in Jesus Christ. He is a witness to you by what has happened to him. The miracle came not because of us or our power but by faith in Jesus.” Then Peter began to sermonize—with plain speech and power!

With pauses to let the words penetrate, the entire sermon might have taken just eight or ten minutes. It was now time to close down the Temple for the day, and the authorities wondered what was going on.

Chapter 3 ends here, but verses 1-4 of the next chapter should be part of Chapter 3 to continue the setting and realize the drama that was taking place.

(1991–1992 Study)

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