Bible: What Does Acts 3 Teach Us About the Ministries of Peter and John?
The Apostle John
The Apostle Peter
The "Residence" of the Beggar
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Acts 3: Peter Heals a Beggar and Proclaims Jesus as the Messiah
Peter Heals a Beggar
Next, Luke records an incident that leads Peter and John into trouble with the Jewish religious authorities.
While attending an afternoon prayer service at the temple, the apostles encounter a congenitally lame, over-40 beggar who asks them for some silver as he lay at the Beautiful Gate (vv. 1-3; cf. 4:22).
Both Peter and John concentrate their attention upon the man, and command that he do likewise toward them.
The beggar, of course, hopes for and expects money from them, not healing (vv. 4-5).
The first part of Peter’s statement (“Silver and gold I do not have”) must have deflated the beggar’s enthusiasm (v. 6a).
The latter soon learns, however, that what Peter had to give him would change his life, not just sustain his pitiful existence for another day.
The prayer (“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth”), the preface to the apostle’s subsequent command, invokes the Power Source to heal the lame man (v. 6b).
Peter’s physical strength encourages the fellow to stand, but the Lord is the One who immediately provided the beggar with the actual ability to do so (v. 7).
Full of joyful praise of God, the newly healed one energetically accompanies the apostles into the temple as “the people” look on (vv. 8-9).
The latter acknowledge the beggar’s miraculous healing, and continue in utter amazement (v. 10).
Standing near Solomon’s portico, the trio soon find themselves swamped by the astonished crowd who look upon Peter as though he himself had healed the man (v. 11).
The apostle first quickly dismisses such a misconception (v. 12), and then promptly ascribes all glory to “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers” who exalted His Servant Jesus through the miracle (v. 13a; cf. the “Servant Songs” in Is. 42:1-9; 49:1-13; 52:13-53:12; underscoring mine).
By mentioning Jesus’ name, Peter easily transitions into a discussion of the Jews’ vile culpability in the Lord’s death (“whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate when he was determined to let Him go”) [v. 13b].
Somewhat of an expert himself in denying Jesus, Peter nevertheless reiterates his listeners’ denial of Christ—the Holy One and the Just.
In addition, he reminds them that not only did they choose Barabbas the murderer over Jesus, but they also murdered the Creator (“the Prince [Originator] of life”) [vv. 14-15a].
The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The "Times of Refreshing"
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Transitioning again, the apostle is quick to add that Jesus was no longer dead, for God had raised Him from the tomb, and that the Twelve (and many others) saw Him after that Event (v. 15b).
The Lord “made this man strong,” because Peter believed Jesus willed to show him mercy (v. 16a; cf. John 14:12-14).
The apostle emphasizes that even the faith to give “perfect soundness” to the man did not originate with him, but was a gift from Christ (v. 16b).
Perhaps sensing their remorse, Peter now softens his attack against the audience, attributing their actions (and those of their rulers) to ignorance (v. 17), and notes that God used that spiritual ignorance to fulfill all of the prophetic Scriptures foretelling the passion of the Christ (v. 18).
Consequently, the apostle commands them all to “repent” and “be converted”; that is to say, “change your mind about Jesus’ identity, and turn from sin to God” (v. 19a).
Conversion will lead from divine forgiveness of individual sins to the inauguration of the Messianic kingdom (“times of refreshing”) [v. 19b), provided that the nation repents.
God will send Messiah Jesus to usher in “the times of restoration of all things”—an era about which Yahweh had repeatedly spoken since the Creation (vv. 20-21).
Peter now quotes Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19—a passage referring to “the Prophet” (a person whom the Jews understood to be distinct from the Messiah)—and applies it to Jesus (vv. 22-23; cf. also Lev. 23:29).
He also names other prophets from Samuel on who proclaimed that such a “day” would come, but he does not provide Scriptural evidence (v. 24).
Identifying his audience as the descendants of the prophets and heirs of the Abrahamic promise/covenant (v. 25; cf. Gen. 12:3), the apostle designates them as the first people whom God sent Jesus to bless by causing them all to repent of their iniquities (v. 26).
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