In the last chapter, we learned how the pouring out of the Holy Spirit resulted in the establishment of the church. We also saw how the early church was full of vitality and grew daily. The passage of this lesson records a miracle that will spark off a second growth phase of the church. This powerful miracle provided Peter with a golden opportunity to witness for the Lord to the people in Jerusalem. As a result of the miracle and Peter’s subsequent preaching, more than five thousand joined the thriving church.
Did You Know...?
1. The ninth hour (3:1) was 3 p.m. The Jews prayed three times a day: 1) early in the morning, in connection with the morning sacrifice; 2) at the ninth hour, in connection with the evening sacrifice; and 3) at sunset.
2. The gated…called Beautiful (3:2) was the favorite entrance to the temple’s court. It led from the court of the Gentiles to the court of women. Josephus calls it the gate of Nicanor and describes it as wonderfully rich and beautiful (Jos. Ant. 15:11). The unfortunate were often placed at the gates to receive alms from the multitudes who entered to worship. [ref]
3. Porch which is called Solomon’s (3:11) “was a very magnificent structure on the east side of the temple. The account Josephus gives of it is this; ‘there was a porch without the temple, overlooking a deep valley, supported by walls of four hundred cubits, made of four square stone, very white; the length of each stone was twenty cubits, and the breadth six; the work of king Solomon, who first founded the whole temple’ (Antiqu. l. 20. c. 8. sect. 7). This was not the porch built by Solomon, but was an imitation of it. It was built on the same spot and it bore his name” [ref]
- Healing of the lame man and the people’s response (3:1-10)
- Peter’s message (3:11-26)
- Pointing out the sin of the people (3:11-18)
- Call to action (3:19-26)
What were Peter and John doing when they met the lame man? Why is this significant?Hide Answer
Peter and John were going up together to the temple at the hour of prayer (1). We can infer from this that they prayed together regularly. Through constant prayers, they received from God the ability to perform great miracles and witness for the Lord. Likewise, we need to be in constant communion with God through prayer in order to overcome our weaknesses and be the Lord’s instrument. We also learn from this verse the importance of unity in prayer and in doing God’s work (cf. Ecc 4:9-12, 2 Tim 2:22).
What did the lame expect to receive from Peter and John? What did Peter give him instead?Hide Answer
The man expected to receive some alms, but what he received was healing by the power of Jesus Christ.
What does this contrast teach us about helping people?Hide Answer
The best help that we can render to people is to bring them God’s grace and salvation. Had Peter and John given the man money, it would have helped him only temporarily. But by letting him walk in the name of Jesus Christ, the man no longer needed to beg but could sustain himself from then on. More importantly, the man came to know Jesus Christ and received salvation through Jesus’ name. That is the best gift that anyone could ever receive.
Today, if the church could only help people financially but lacks the power of God, then the value of her service is very limited. We need to pray for the power from above so that we can truly minister to the needs of the people of the world and lead them to everlasting life.
Peter fixed his eyes on the lame man. What does this gesture indicate?Hide Answer
Peter did not ignore this man and continued on his way to prayer. He saw his needs and stopped to help him. As witnesses for Christ, we should open our eyes and look at the people around us with eyes of compassion. That is the first step in bringing the gospel to others.
Compare “silver and gold” and “what I have.” As a witness for the Lord, which do you depend on more?Hide Answer
Silver and gold are of some value, but Jesus Christ and His grace far surpass anything money can buy. When we preach the gospel, we need to be careful not to depend on financial resources as the main driving force in the ministry and forget to seek the power from above. While financial support is important, having the guidance and blessings of the Lord is far more important. Without Christ’s power and grace, even the most well financed ministry will not be able to accomplish the Lord’s commission.
Has God ever healed in some way, whether spiritual or physical, just as He healed this lame man? Share your personal testimony.
What was the response of the lame man after he was healed?Hide Answer
He entered the temple with Peter and John. For the first time in his life, this man stepped into the temple instead of lying by the gate (The lame were not allowed into the temple). He could not contain his joy. He was walking and leaping and praising God. He also held on to Peter and John.
What can we learn from the man’s response?Hide Answer
The man did not hesitate to express his joy and thanksgiving. All the people saw him walking, leaping, and praising God. We, likewise, must let others know what God has done in our lives by continually praising God and sharing our personal testimony. God has done such great things in our lives and brought us the greatest joy. We ought to boldly and joyfully proclaim the good news to everyone around us.
What effect did the miracle have on the multitude?Hide Answer
What did the people attribute the miracle to?Hide Answer
They thought that it was by the apostles’ power and godliness that the lame man was able to walk (12).
Who did Peter attribute the miracle to?Hide Answer
The name of Jesus and faith in His name (16).
What can we learn from Peter?Hide Answer
Despite the multitude’s adoration of Peter and John, Peter did not allow this miracle to be an opportunity for pride. He knew that it was the power of God that had cured this man. He turned the people’s attention to the Lord. He preached Jesus, not himself.
When God accomplishes something through us, we must be alert and not indulge in people’s praise and admiration. Jesus Christ, not we, should be the center of attention. We ought to grasp the opportunity to lead people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and urge them to give glory to God.
According to Peter, what did the miracle demonstrate about Jesus?Hide Answer
The healing of the lame man was a living proof that God has raised Jesus from the dead and glorified Him.
How did Peter’s words bring the miracle into direct relevance to the multitude?Hide Answer
Peter pointed out the people’s guilt for killing Jesus, whom God has glorified and through whose name the lame man was healed. He wanted the multitude to not just be amazed, but to realize their sin and to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.
What does this teach us about an important goal in preaching?Hide Answer
In order to lead people to repentance and to bring them to Christ, it is the responsibility of the preacher to first make the people aware of their sins and their need for forgiveness (cf. Acts 2:23,36,37).
What is Peter’s call to action?Hide Answer
Repent and be converted.
What are the promises that accompany repentance and conversion?Hide Answer
1. Sins will be blotted out (19)
2. Times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord (19).
3. God will send Jesus from heaven at the restoration of all things (20-21).
Verse 19 speaks of the blotting out of sins through repentance and conversion. Does this verse exclude the necessity of baptism for the remission of sins, since it makes no mention of baptism?Hide Answer
The aim of Peter’s speech is to make the people realize their sins and their need for repentance. Unlike Acts 2:38, where Peter responded to the multitude’s question and instructed them about the steps involved in conversion, here, Luke simply records Peter’s call to conversion but leaves out detailed instructions.
Repentance leads to conversion and conversion involves baptism. They are not mutually exclusive. Baptism into Christ is such an integral part of acceptance of Jesus Christ. We cannot treat baptism as a separate requirement and deny its necessity just because it is not mentioned in this verse. If this verse indeed taught that baptism is not necessary for the remission of sins, then it would blatantly contradict other passages of the Bible (e.g. Acts 2:38; 22:16) where it teaches the necessity of baptism for the remission of sins. On the other hand, when we read this verse along with the verses on the necessity of baptism, it becomes clear that we need to repent AND be baptized for the remission of sins.
It is important to read the Bible in its entirety. Silence in one passage should not be used as an argument for exclusion. For example, Peter’s speech does not explicitly state the necessity to believe Jesus Christ and to confess His name for the remission of sins. Can we argue on this basis that these are not necessary? Absolutely not. Although their necessity is not stated, the context implies it and other passages in the Bible teach it plainly.
How does repentance and conversion result in “times of refreshing”? What are the “times of refreshing”?Hide Answer
On the one hand, “times of refreshing” can mean regeneration, freedom from sin, and the blessedness that comes as result of conversion (cf. 2Cor 5:17; Rom 5:9-11). Through Jesus Christ, we have restored our relationship with our heavenly Father and we are made new spiritually. On the other hand, the context of this passage suggests that “times of refreshing” is also a reference to the future restoration of all things (21; see next question).
Explain the meaning of verses 20 and 21.Hide Answer
Jesus Christ came into the world once and ascended to heaven. He will remain in heaven until the time of His return. Then He will come again to establish a new heaven and a new earth, and He shall reign forever (2Pet 3:12,13; Rev 11:15; cf. Mt 19:28; Rom 8:18-23). God has spoken about this day of restoration of all things through all His holy prophets. By repenting and turning to the Lord Jesus, believers are preparing themselves for this divinely ordained eschatological event.
Why does Peter speak of the OT prophets and Abraham?Hide Answer
1. The gospel of Jesus Christ is deeply rooted in God’s prophetic words since the world began as well as in God’s covenant with Abraham. Just as Jesus suffered and died according to God’s prophetic words (18), He will return one day according to God’s prophetic words. Therefore, the people must accept Jesus and obey Him.
2. Peter also points out how blessed his listeners are in being able to hear the gospel. As the physical descendants of the chosen race, they are the first to hear the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ.
What blessing has God sent Jesus to bring to us?Hide Answer
God has blessed us through Jesus Christ by turning us away from our iniquities (26). Repentance and the remission of sins are among the blessings of God (Ps 32:1; 103:1-4).