Acts Chapter 03
Today: [Acts 03:] The Man at the Gate Beautiful. In Acts 3 we find Peter and John (the original odd couple) producing a miracle upon a man who was crippled his entire life. Why didn’t Jesus heal this man in times past? Doubtless, Jesus had seen this person many times as he went in and out of the temple. What was the response of the crowd to what happened? How did Peter and John respond? In all of this, we find many lessons that will help us close the gap between the New Testament demonstration of power and our own seeming powerlessness.
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[Act 3:1-12 KJV] 1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, [being] the ninth [hour]. 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; 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 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. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted [him] up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 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. 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. 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?
In verse 1 of our chapter, we find Peter and John going to the temple at the hour of prayer being the 9th hour. The 9th hour of the day is 3 p.m. The tradition of praying in the 9th hour went all the way back to Isaac going out in the field to meditate and pray in the very beginning of the founding of the people of Israel. This was the time of the evening oblation when the priests and the commoners would gather for 30 minutes of silent prayer. It was the time that Elijah prayed for the fire to fall on the altar in front of the 450 prophets of Baal. For this miracle to take place at this time was a repudiation against the Judaism that crucified Christ just as Elijah’s prayer was a repudiation against the 450 prophets of Baal.
At this time of prayer, the preparation was made by the priests offering an offering consisting of three handfuls of flour mingled with oil. In Jn. 6:35 Jesus declared that He was the bread of Life. In Luke 4:18 … He likewise declared that He was anointed with the oil from heaven. Therefore Jesus personified the flour or bread mingled with oil that was offered not in the earthly temple but in the temple made without hands in the heavens. The three measures speak of the threefold nature of the humanity of Christ (spirit, soul, and body) offered up as the offering of heaven for the sins of man. At the time of this offering, God in His foreknowledge brought this miracle about to signify that this ceremonial offering had been fulfilled in the substance who is Christ Himself.
In verse 2 we see that a certain man who had lain daily at the gate called Beautiful was there again today and come to the attention of Peter and John. Now, this took place within 90 days of the resurrection. Why didn’t Jesus heal this man? He certainly saw him. In fact, it is doubtless that Jesus passed by this man more than once in His comings and goings from the temple in His lifetime. Why didn’t Jesus heal the man when He saw Him. John 5:19 gives us the answer:
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Jesus indeed healed many, but He did not heal or go about doing miracles as a matter of principle. He did not follow principles of doing good. Rather He followed the subjective impetus of doing what the Father revealed to Him to do on a moment by moment basis. What does that mean to us? Paul made the following statement in Galatians:
[Gal 5:25 KJV] 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
How can we apply this? We do not come to Christ and thenceforward live our lives on our own recognizance, doing the best we can. In Christ, we live by the Spirit, but in Christ, we are to walk by the Spirit not following dead religious principle our own best guess as to what we ought to do. We are like Jesus showed us to only do what we see the Father do on His terms and not ours and not what someone else thinks we should be doing. Even in the area of teaching Jesus made the following statement:
John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
One thing I want to ask Jesus when we get to heaven is what would He have taught otherwise? His doctrine did not originate from Himself. Where does your doctrine come from? Are we concocting doctrines and teachings out of our own intellect according to what we agree with, or are we teaching what God gives us whether it is popular or to our personal taste or not?
Jhn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: (make a decision; form an opinion) and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
When Jesus passed the man at the gate beautiful, He did so in obedience not to moral principle but to what the Father did and did not show Him. Do you have an opinion that doesn’t originate fresh from the mind of God? That opinion stands between you and what God would desire of you, and you have a decision to make – either to follow your own whim or wait for the leadership of the Holy Spirit as Jesus no doubt did and as Peter is doing this very day when he addressed the man laying crippled before him:
In verse 3 Peter and John fix their eyes on that man and command his attention saying “look on us…” I thought we weren’t supposed to draw attention to ourselves? How many times do we hear the false humility of “it’s not me – don’t look at me, look at God…” If Peter and John were operating in that religious attitude, this man would never have been healed.
What was the man doing when Peter and John addressed him in this way? He wasn’t looking at them. He was looking for something else, someone else than these two ragtag Galileans that he apparently didn’t expect too much from. This man was looking right through them. Peter wanted the man’s attention. After getting the man’s attention (v. 5), the man looks at them expecting to receive something. When is the last time you got someone’s attention like that? Usually, we want people who want something to look somewhere other than at us for what they are after.
When the man does look at Peter notice that Peter doesn’t interact with the man on the man’s terms. This is another thing to make note of. People who want a miracle will usually not only expect a healing, etc., but they will have very definite ideas about how they expect you to go about giving them what they have none of. Peter corrects this in the man. He tells the man that he doesn’t have what the man wants, but he does have what he needs. What does this teach us? Don’t deal with people according to their wants or demands, deal with them according to their actual needs. They don’t get to call the shots. You minister to them on your terms and God’s terms and not according to their own demands.
In verse 7 we see something else that is important. Peter enters into the miracle with the man. He reaches out and takes him by the hand and lifts him up. If you expect someone to risk something to believe you must likewise put something on the line to see that miracle made manifest. Peter goes out on a limb to see a miracle happen. If you are not willing to risk, then you can be sure that nothing will happen. There will be no miracle.
What happens? The man leaps to his feet, and a notable miracle is witnessed by all present. Of course, the next thing that happens is great misunderstanding as the crowd gathers thinking this was Peter and John’s work. Peter instantly corrects this giving all the glory to God. This is something else you can look for. If you ever see a notable miracle those who witness it will almost always misunderstand it. Your opportunity to correct these misconceptions is also your opportunity as Peter’s to declare the gospel. The misunderstanding of the people is a problem. Peter doesn’t ignore the problem but takes it as an opportunity to preach the good news. Never walk away from or ignore a problem.
[Act 3:13-26 KJV]
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. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 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. 17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did [it], as [did] also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 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; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 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. 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. 23 And it shall come to pass, [that] every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. 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. 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.
When Peter preaches His message to the crowd gathering to inquire about the miracle that just took place, He doesn’t mince words. He speaks directly to the culpability of those present in the crucifixion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. He doesn’t pander to this crowd just to get them to agree with him. We often try to soft-pedal the message in order to gain a hearing. That is unbelief. Let the Holy Spirit do the convincing. Don’t do the Holy Spirit’s job for Him but twisting the message and dumbing down the words just so people will smile and say that they agree with you. Speak the truth in love. Be straightforward and transparent without apology.
In verse 19 we see that Peter doesn’t leave his listeners in condemnation. He tells them to repent – adopt the “metanoia mind” which means literally to have an “afterthought” like someone who says “on second thought” and changes their mind. The news of Jesus death was still circulating, and most of Peter’s hearers agreed that Jesus should have been executed as a felon. Peter performs this great miracle and on the basis of the attention placed on the situation pressures them to change their mind. If you aren’t willing to put pressure on people, you will never be a soul winner. Let the pressure be the fact that signs wonders and miracles are happening in your life and on that basis as Peter did in this case – because of the miracle provoke people to change their thinking about Jesus and what He means to them personally.
Peter’s message is compelling. The miracle is undeniable. The prophetic context that Peter extrapolates from the law and the prophets from Samuel on down cannot be denied. As an unlearned fisherman from the north of Galilee, Peter is commanding the attention of the most erudite and educated people in his day. Never apologize for your lack of credentials or education. Be bold in the anointing and be bold in the power of the Holy Spirit. In so doing you will be used at Peter was used to batter down the gates of unbelief in the lives of those around you and confront them with the claims of Christ over their lives.
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