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

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.

9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognised 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. 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.

17 "Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you -- even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
22 For Moses said,`The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.' 24 "Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham,`Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."  Version: New International (British) Version

COMMENTS

General:

  • The church has started (chapter 2), probably in May of 30 AD. Now we fast forward (days? weeks? months? a couple of years?) to a message preached as a result of a remarkable healing.
  • Peter goes up to the Temple at one of the set prayer times, 3 pm (v.1ff).
    • The implication is that the early church was still closely connected with the Temple and its rhythms -- not to mention the kosher laws (see Acts 10 and 15).
    • It is also possible that Peter goes to the Temple at this hour because this will bring him into contact with many seekers.
    • A beggar expects money, but gets something money could never have bought (v.3ff). The healing is not partial -- or non-existent -- as is the case with modern faith healers; it is complete and beyond all doubt.
    • Now healed, the man becomes a flashing advertisement for Christ (v.8ff).
  • A crowd gathers, and Peter takes advantage of this opportunity to preach (v.11ff).
    • Peter refuses to take any personal credit for the miracle (v.12). The glory goes to Jesus (v.13,16).
    • The Jews of Jerusalem (vv.13-15), and especially the Jewish leadership (v.17), are responsible for the Crucifixion. Ironically, they "killed the author of life" (v.15).
    • The suffering and death of the Messiah are foretold in the O.T.
    • The proper response: repentance (v.19).
      • This is a prerequisite for forgiveness (v.19).
      • Further, it is necessary if Jesus is to come from heaven (v.20).
        • This may refer to our receiving the Spirit (as Jesus enters our hearts at baptism).
        • It may also be referring to the second coming of Christ, which is affected by our repentance. See 2 Peter 3:9-12.
    • Deuteronomy 18 was a key text in early Christian apologetics (v.22ff). This passage predicted the Messiah, and stated that those who rejected him would themselves cease to be the people of God.
    • Finally, repentance is a blessing (v.26; also 11:18). The world (and worldly religion) suggests it is a curse, and that fulfillment comes from living for oneself. Yet the very opposite is true!
  • This chapter gives us a window into the preaching of the early church, with its emphasis on Jesus' fulfillment of prophecy and the doctrines repentance and forgiveness.

Advanced:

  • The temple gate called Beautiful may be the Golden Gate. But this may be simply a legend. To see the 1st C. temple, click here.
  • Solomon's Colonnade (v.10; also John 10:23; Acts 5:12) was a porch on the east side of Herod's Temple (not Solomon's original 10th C. BC structure). This place was important to the early Christians, as it was spacious, protected from the sun, accessible, and in many ways an ideal meeting place for groups of disciples.
  • In the Hebrew canon, "all the prophets" (v.17) included the Former Prophets (from Joshua to 2 Kings) and the Latter Prophets (from Isaiah to Malachi).
  • Click for more on the important Messianic text, Deuteronomy 18.
  • Muslims claim that Deuteronomy 18 applies to Muhammad, but that is impossible, since Muhammad was not Jewish, nor was he like Moses (he neither worked miracles nor received covenant law from the Lord). For more, see The Muslim Challenge, or read my book with Aziz Sarah, Jesus and Islam.
  • The passage referred to in v.24 is probably 2 Samuel 7:13-14.
  • V.25 refers to Genesis 12:3.
  • And for (much) more on Messianic prophecy, please click here.

Thought questions:

  • What are the implications of "silver or gold I do not have" for church leaders in our day? Do you think it is wrong for leaders to have wealth? (Is yes, why? If not, why?)
  • When God works in my life, do I take all the credit, or is Christ glorified?
  • Do I associate repentance with joy, or sadness? with the abundant life, or a life of tedium and tiring religious deeds?