ACTS OF THE APOSTLES CHAPTER 3
Acts 3:1: Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
Being faithful Jewish believers awaiting for the second coming of Christ, these two apostles still visited the temple on a regular basis. This was still their center of worship although they could now meet as believers in Christ in their own private meetings from house to house. The temple was still the place many Jews used to congregate and as such the apostles and disciples took advantage of the crowd to witness for the Lord. Though the Lord told the woman in Samaria that worshipping God needed not be held at any particular place, with the temple still in Jerusalem however, the apostles and disciples still often went to the temple to testify of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:21-23)
The time had come and those true worshippers who worshipped God must worship God in spirit and in truth. The apostles and disciples gathered often to worship the risen Messiah of Israel in private away from the temple and attending temple activities was more for the purpose of evangelism than worship.
The Book of Acts recorded many instances where the work of the Lord was carried out by preachers working in pairs. This was good advice according to the wisdom given to Solomon.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
This was also a general practice for the original twelve apostles when the Lord sent them out with the Kingdom message authenticated with power from above.
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; (Mark 6:7)
Even concerning the other disciples, the practice was to send them out in pairs.
After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. (Luke 10:1)
Doing the Lord’s work is engaging in a spiritual warfare. It cannot be emphasized enough for gospel workers to remain vigilant at all times. It is a good practice to work at least in pairs for there will be much opposition and discouragement as well as dangers along the way. What Solomon wrote cannot be taken lightly.
Here we note Peter and John worked in pairs and likewise we find Paul working with Barnabas or Silas in pairs as well later in the book of Acts. It was three in the afternoon when Peter and John went to the temple during the time of prayer.
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;
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.
They encountered a man born lame begging at the temple. This lame man lived as a beggar relying on the mercies of temple worshipers. As this man could not walk, he depended on some men who laid him at the temple everyday. He was pathetic indeed but at least, he could still make a living by begging at the temple as those who sought after God would at least try to be charitable before entering the temple to seek after the God of Israel. This poor man had probably been living his life that way for many years which could more appropriately regarded as existing meaninglessly more than living purposefully as a descendant of Abraham awaiting for the appearing of the Messiah of Israel. However, that encounter with Peter and John at the Beautiful gate was indeed a life changing and memorable event for him that day as the Lord had made all things beautiful in His time. The time for this poor lame man’s fortune had come. The time for change had come and it was no cute and clever theme politicians promoted and promised trying to get into office.
As his occupation required of him, he asked alms from strangers visiting the temple. He was not very hopeful and perhaps not even looking into the eyes of these two apostles. All he asked for and expected was some loose change from strangers who would take pity upon him. After all what did he expect to receive having been so used to this kind of life all these years! He did not ask for riches as what could riches do for him? He would still exist in his miserable state unable to walk and depended on others to help him to go through the day. He did not ask to be healed and perhaps he had given up hope a long time ago. No one could help him walk and he did not know what it was like to walk as he had never walked before. He would not have asked the religious elite to heal him as his condition would probably be viewed as judgment for sin either his or his parents.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? (John 9:2)
If the disciples of Christ could look at handicaps as God’s judgment for sin, what more would those religious priests and Levites think? But these blood bought apostles were now looking at an infirmity very differently as having graduated with a life changing diploma majoring on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every challenge and life crippling infirmity was an opportunity to preach the gospel of the Lord. Obstacles and impossible missions were never in their vocabulary. The God of the impossible was bankrolling these apostles in all their endeavours for Christ.
They did not plan this visit to the temple and they did not expect to meet this beggar and thought out a way to help him recover beforehand. There was no record to suggest that the Lord told them to meet this beggar at the temple either. These Spirit filled men of God simply exercised faith to ask the impossible from their risen Messiah.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 18:19)
They just asked this poor lame man to look on them. Salvation had come for this man that exceeded deliverance from his life crippling infirmity. In fact, the God of Israel issued such a call in yesteryears to Israel to look to Him for salvation.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22)
Unfortunately for the nation of Israel, they were still looking for physical and national deliverance only. They refused to look unto their Messiah. They were looking for a human politician to deliver them from Roman bondage instead.
Acts 3:5: And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
For this beggar, this call to look on the apostles was not something extraordinary. He had looked on many people when they gave him some money. Sometimes, he might not even have looked on those who took pity on him when they gave him money or food. His life was anything to look forward to and any day was just another meaningless day of his awful existence. Having food to keep his soul and body together would be all that he needed and what else could he look forward to? Did he expect to walk again in the future? Did he expect to be like any ordinary human being capable of going to places and taking care of himself? So as usual this poor man simply looked at Peter and John expecting to receive something from people with a good heart. What he received was really beyond his wildest dream that required nothing more than just a mere look on the apostles. Though he could not walk, he could still look as commanded.
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.
In the previous chapter when the disciples had all things in common, the apostles did not enrich themselves with the donations coming in from the God fearing and God honouring believers. Peter was stating as a matter of a fact that he had neither silver nor gold. The apostles did not become rich overnight preaching the gospel to the lost with phenomenal increase in members to the Church in Jerusalem. These apostles did not receive a multimillion-dollar pay package to do God’s work. They did not build titanium-clad buildings to provide a conducive environment for believers to come so that they might worship God without distraction and in comfort. They did not use any donations and offerings to enrich themselves and build themselves penthouses and luxurious homes to live in their own ivory towers.
The fact was that the apostles had riches beyond measure. They had eternal life with Christ and inheritance in the coming Kingdom. Earthly riches had very little meaning to them. They would inherit the Kingdom and the whole world belonged to them. They were not interested in gaining earthly riches and trying to preserve their wealth that could diminish over time. They had everything and so they gave this poor lame man what they had. They gave this hopeless lame man the ability to walk that he had never experienced before. Would this lame man rather have a million dollar and remain in his poor wretched state? The power to walk for this lame man would be a gift money could not buy.
Could this poor man believe what he heard? Rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ? Was it possible? Was he hallucinating? Did he ever imagine he could walk one day? After all he was so used to his pathetic state. But Peter was giving him this gift of walking. Did Peter ever consult the Lord before even telling this man to walk? What happened if this lame man failed to walk? God’s name was at stake here. God who is so rich gave a blank cheque to His apostle and whatsoever he asked; God simply honoured them without question.
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 was not a magician trying to entertain some temple worshippers that day. What he told that lame man he would give him, Peter acted out in faith. So Peter took the lame man by his right hand and lifted him up but this poor man did not fall back to the ground. Miraculously, this poor man was able to stand on his own the first time in his life. He needed not lift up his head straining his neck to talk with people anymore. He could stand up and talk with anyone face to face like any ordinary person. What a wonderful surprise it was for this poor lame man that day. What this lame man did was just to obey Peter and looked at him. Before even he could respond further, Peter lifted him up and immediately he could stand on his own. That must be too amazing for him indeed. Of course he did not just stand rooted to the ground.
Acts 3:8: And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
After hearing Peter wanted to give him the gift of walking and having found strength to stand on his own, he started leaping and walking to experiment with this newfound gift. This man’s joy was beyond words to describe how he felt that moment. His life was changed and he started praising God for being so good and kind and merciful to him that day. His meaningless existence has come to an end and a new beginning awaited him as he entered with the apostles and others into the temple. Was it the first time he went into the temple? He had probably been at the gate for many years begging to keep his soul and body together. Would a lame man be allowed to enter the temple? What could a lame man contribute in the temple? So he went into the temple that day but most importantly he entered into the temple made without hands and received salvation believing in the name of Jesus Christ who healed him. There was indeed power in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
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.
This miracle recorded after Pentecost would bring the apostles and disciples of Christ into direct confrontation with the religious authorities. The apostles were very daring and bold indeed and took the fight into the territory of the priests. They were challenging the religious leaders who could do nothing for that poor lame man sitting outside the temple all those time. Hence, all the people were obviously filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to the lame man. Those people were regular temple goers and they knew the lame man. They knew he had been begging at the gate all along but they witnessed his miraculous healing and him full of joy praising God. Had he been praising God in his crippled state? Now he was found praising God entering into the temple with other worshippers.
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.
Moreover, the lame man was not an ungrateful and forgetful man. He had been waiting outside the temple all those years and he finally could walk. Perhaps he had been praying silently all those years to be able to walk like an ordinary man so that he might enter the temple to worship God. He could have cried himself to sleep every night asking God to give him strength in his legs to walk like every one else. Had he been praying for deliverance from his condition, he now had his prayers answered.
Now he held unto Peter and John and waiting to be taught about his newfound faith in the Messiah of Israel who healed him. All those bewildered people were gathering around them to find out what had happened and how it was done. How come for all those years the priests and elders could do nothing for this poor man but with the appearing of these two apostles, God could heal this poor man. Had not the priests and rulers been approaching God worshipping God in the temple all the time? Did they ever take pity upon this poor lame man and try to do something for him? The piety and power of the priests were now called into question.
These amazed people were gathering in the porch to find out what had happened. The NIV supposed to give Bible readers an English Bible that is easier to read and understand called the place these people met a “Colonnade”. The NASB likewise called the porch “portico”. What is so difficult to understand about a porch is past finding out. Perhaps only such high-minded Bible scholars cannot understand what a porch is or they find the word “porch” too lowly for the Holy Bible. The gathering of this curious crowd gave Peter another wonderful opportunity to testify of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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?
The apostle Peter was given a captive audience with the healing of this lame man. They were focusing on the apostles and were astonished at the power given to them to perform this miraculous healing on the lame man. Who would not be listening when such an unusual occurrence took place with the healing of a lame man since birth? Peter once again began his signature sermon by calling upon the men of Israel to listen up. Peter of course knew they were surprised at what had happened and it was a wonderful opportunity to tell them who was the One who actually healed the lame man. Peter denied they had a hand in the healing of this lame man. These were faithful men who would not rob God of His glory. They were now the humble servants of the Most High God.
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:8)
The exhortation for believers in Christ is to glorify God under any situation.
That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:29-31)
Peter made clear that they had no power to heal the lame man and his healing was not the result of their holiness. They were simply instruments in the hands of the living God. These men were humble servants waiting upon their Master to do His will. They told the audience not to fix their eyes on them and elevating them above any ordinary mortals. Having redirected their attention and focus away from them, Peter was ready to preach Christ and Christ crucified to these people in need of salvation.
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;
Acts 3:15: And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
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.
These descendents of Abraham were supposed to know the God of their fathers. This God of their fathers had now glorified His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter as usual accused these men of Israel for denying their Messiah in the presence of Pilate who would have set their Messiah free. They would rather have a murderer set free and had the Holy One, a term mentioned numerous time in the Old Testament as the Holy One of Israel, murdered instead. What they did not know was that they had killed the Prince of life but this Holy One did not just die and remained dead. Peter openly testified they were witnesses of the resurrection of the risen Messiah. So the healing of the man was due to faith in the name of Jesus and not because of the holiness of the apostles or any personal power they possessed. The perfect soundness of this lame man was the result of the faith of Christ.
The King James Bible tells us this Holy One of Israel who is also the Just but the NIV and NASB changed it to righteous. Obviously these scholars could not tell the difference between just and righteous. Our God is not only righteous but just. Our God is just who could do no wrong. Being righteous as far as man is concerned is only trying to do something right that is acceptable to God and to please Him. The true and living God is not only righteous, He is also the God of justice and as such, He is the Just One.
Moreover, the NIV also replaced the Prince of life with the author of life. Theologically, ascribing the Lord Jesus Christ to be the author of life is pure nonsense. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe and of course this includes all life forms.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16&17)
The Lord Jesus Christ is God who exists eternally and from everlasting. He does not have a beginning.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. (Psalm 90:2; 93:2)
If the Lord Jesus Christ is the author of life, does it mean he authored himself into existence giving life to himself? This is of course false and defective Bible doctrine. So once again instead of making the Bible easier to read and understand, the NIV is adding confusion to the Bible reader.
Acts 3:17: And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
Acts 3:18: But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
Peter now called these murderers of the Prince of life his brethren and assured them that he knew they and their rulers killed the Messiah through ignorance. He further assured them that whatever that happened was already prophesied in the Old Testament through their prophets that Christ should suffer and that had been fulfilled. Since the sufferings of Christ were already spoken of in the Old Testament, even those who had a hand in getting their Messiah killed would be given a chance to come to repentance.
A call for repentance would be in order having bore witness of the power of this risen Messiah with the healing of this lame man standing in their midst. The crippled nation of Israel would be able to stand and God could definitely heal Israel if she would look unto their Messiah (Isaiah 45:22). But would Israel be willing to look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of their faith for restoration?
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;
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.
Unlike those repentant sinners who responded by asking what they had to do during the Pentecostal sermon, these listeners were simply paying attention to Peter’s sermon. At this juncture having proclaimed it was this risen Messiah who healed the lame man, it was time to call for repentance for these men who were guilty for murdering their Messiah. Peter beseeched them to repent and be converted so that their sin may be blotted out. This was a different call compared with the offer at Pentecost where those repentant sinners were told to be baptized for the remission of sin. The previous offer when the hearers asked what they should do was a call for individual repentance but now this was a call for national repentance. As a nation their sins were yet to be blotted out. This event would take place when Christ comes again during the times of restitution of all things. This day was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah prophesying of the removal of their sins as a nation.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve. (Jeremiah 31:34; 50:20)
Indeed the day when Israel as a nation is converted unto the Lord, it is a day much anticipated by the saints. It is a day of a new covenant with the nation where the law is not external but internal in nature. Observance of the law is no longer checked against an external Book but by an internal Law written in the hearts and minds of the children of Israel.
Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 10:15-17)
By then they would not need to look at a Book and go to priests as mediators to represent them before God. They would all know God. However, Israel is right now still out of favour with God. The sins of Israel are still not blotted out. Israel awaits her salvation when the nation repents and accepts their Messiah.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:26&27)
As such, if only the nation of Israel repents, the Messiah would come back and the Kingdom would be established. The time of restitution of all things would take place. This would be the time of refreshing indeed in the presence of the Lord.
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.
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.
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.
Peter continued his sermon quoting Moses foretold of a Prophet God would raise up and this Prophet is God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The children of Israel were supposed to hear Him and obey Him. All the other prophets spoke concerning this coming Prophet, their Messiah, and those who refused to obey Him would be destroyed. As such, during the Pentecostal sermon, Peter’s exhortation to those repentant sinners was to save themselves from that untoward generation who as a nation rejected their Messiah. Peter’s sermons were always full of quotations from the Old Testament proving that the Lord Jesus Christ is their Messiah prophesied of old.
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.
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.
Driving home the point, Peter confirmed that these astonished hearers were children of Israel where God had made a covenant with their fathers. The promise to Abraham had implications beyond just the Kingdom of Israel. This promise would indeed be a time of refreshing and a restitution of all things where all the nations on earth shall be blessed when the Messiah comes into the world.
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 12:3; 22:18)
This Messiah had indeed come. Moreover, the Messiah had suffered and died, buried and rose again and went back to heaven. God had raise up His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and would send Him to bless the children of Israel and turn them away from their iniquities. The time was coming where the sins of the nation of Israel would be blotted out. The onus was now on the nation to repent and accept their Messiah.
Once again, the unreliable NIV, NASB and even the NKJV changed God’s Son to a servant robbing the Lord Jesus Christ of His deity. Actually, such subtle Satanic attacks occur throughout the Holy Bible. For those who do not read the King James Bible, they would not know of such devilish plot to undermine the deity of the Son of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God and not a begotten servant of God.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:7)
As these two apostles took the battle to the territories of the priests and rulers of the people, their call for the people to turn to Jesus would be interrupted by the religious authorities from the temple. The talking point in this chapter concerning the healing of the lame man was to prepare the nation to turn to their Messiah. This episode would eventually lead to a political confrontation with their rulers where the authorities of the rulers were now put into question by their inability to do anything for the people of Israel other than keeping their own jobs while the nation remained under Roman bondage. Peter lost no time with any opportunity given to him to preach about the risen Messiah Jesus who would come back to restore Israel and the Kingdom would be established.