How crippled were you before you came to know the power of Jesus Christ in your life? What have you experienced of the strength of the shackles of sin; the destruction of its bondage in your life; the broken relationships with God and with those around you? How has pride and selfishness and lust and anger and anxiety and impatience imprisoned you and kept you outside of the place of God’s blessing for you? What sense of desperation and failure and hopelessness have you experienced? The healing power of Jesus Christ can only be appreciated against such a black backdrop. That is why the miracle of healing in Acts 3 should be so exciting to us today. Maybe we still have an area of our life that is still broken and still needs the healing power of God and His gracious restoration to healthy functioning.
As we study the transformation of this pitiful cripple, we need to see our own spiritual conversion and praise the Lord for His amazing grace in our lives. We also need to have compassion for the broken condition of those around us who are far worse off than just a physical cripple – they are lost in the bondage of sin and separated from the life of God.
Acts 2 prepared us for the study of these signs and miracles that took place in the early church through the apostles.
2:43 “Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.”
Kent: Luke picked this miracle because it produced the first conflict between the church and outsiders. Until this time the church had been enjoying the favor of all the people (2:24).
Remember that the impact of signs and miracles goes way beyond the physical picture. There is a purpose of God in authenticating the authority of the risen and exalted Jesus Christ and pointing people to the corresponding spiritual work of transformation that is offered in Jesus’ name.
OVERVIEW OF CHAP. 3:
THE SIGN MIRACLES OF THE APOSTLES HIGHLIGHT THE GLORY OF CHRIST TO ATTRACT PEOPLE TO THE BLESSING OF DELIVERANCE FROM SIN
I. 3:1-10 Healing by the Power of Christ – THE AWESOME POWER OF JESUS CHRIST HEALS BROKEN PEOPLE IN SPECTACULAR FASHION
II. 3:11-16 Preaching the Glory of Christ
III. 3:17-26 Offering the Blessing of Christ
THE AWESOME POWER OF JESUS CHRIST HEALS BROKEN PEOPLE IN SPECTACULAR FASHION
(:1) THE OCCASION
“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.”
A. Partnership in Ministry
Wiersbe: Peter and John are often found together in Scripture. They were partners in the fishing business (Luke 5:10); they prepared the last Passover for Jesus (Luke 22:8); they ran to the tomb on the first Easter Sunday morning (John 20:3-4); and they ministered to the Samaritans who believed on Jesus Christ (Acts 8:14). Now that they were filled with the Holy Spirit, the apostles were no longer competing for greatness, but were at last working faithfully together to build the church (Ps. 133).
Jerry Shirley: However, they were quite different from one another…Peter was outgoing and gregarious, always had something to say…never hesitated to give his opinion…sometimes it seemed like the only time he’d open his mouth was to change feet!/quite outspoken. But, John was contemplative and reflective…tender, referring to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved!/at last supper, he leaned on Jesus’ chest.
B. Priority of Corporate Worship and Prayer
Psalm 55:17 – Jews had 3 times of prayer throughout the day – here it is 3 pm.
Kent: Twice daily the priest offered incense in the holy place of the temple, and devout Israelites would gather outside for prayers.
Have you ever been involved in a fellowship group where you met daily for prayer? Creates a strong bond of community – to say nothing of the power of answered prayer
I. (:2-3) HOPELESS RESIGNATION — BROKEN PEOPLE HAVE RESIGNED THEMSELVES TO A MISERABLE EXISTENCE
A. Life Dominating Brokenness
“And a certain man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along,”
4:22 – man was over 40 years old at the time of this healing; no way to escape his plight; did not have the hope that he might wake up tomorrow and face a brighter future
Look at the parallel to Original Sin and Total Depravity – often Scriptures use physical ailments to symbolize the deeper-seated problem of spiritual sin – He was born into this condition; could not rescue himself; no track record of health and victory; no way to break out of his condition; could be very bitter and despondent
The farthest thing from being self-sufficient; could not get from Point A to Point B; totally dependent on the help of others – but they could not give him the help he truly needed either
Knew nothing of health and fitness – pitiful situation; fortunate to have some friends or family to help him out – but their resources had long ago been exhausted; he was a burden; dead weight; no contribution to society
Stott: Luke’s medical interest seems to be betrayed in the brief clinical history he gives. It was a congenital case, he tells us.
B. Located Strategically but Ironically (marked by paradox and incongruity)
“whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful,”
This was the spot for his best opportunity; probably had been working this gate for years; a well-known, recognizable figure
Symbolism of being shut out of God’s presence and power – could get close to the temple but could not participate in worship; unclean
Misshapen human body that did not function properly propped up at the gate called Beautiful
Zeisler: So we see that the lame beggar’s experience was a metaphor for the experience of most of the folks in the world. If you could read the hearts of the people you interact with, most have oriented themselves toward a place where God is. They can see the marble and gold shining in the sunlight at a distance. They know that God cares enough to name a place for himself and to invite people to come. And they have made some effort to go. They’ve gotten as far as the city, or as far as the courtyard of the Gentiles, or as far as the courtyard of the women. But at some point the gate was not an entrance but a barrier, and they couldn’t go any farther. They didn’t know how to answer the questions of their own brokenness and fear and inadequacy.
Jerry Shirley: The contrast of v. 2—Gate beautiful…historians tell us this was the eastern gate, made of Corinthian brass, overlaid w/ gold and silver…the sun would rise over the eastern mtns. And this entrance to the temple was dazzlingly brilliant! And worth a fortune…but laying at it is this man who is marred, disfigured, distorted, outcast. This gate is wealth, this man is woe. Loveliness/lameness
Our culture is full of broken and miserable people who are just trying to get through the day:
Chuck Swindoll tells about a man who went to see a psychiatrist because he was extremely depressed. The psychiatrist just could not get him to snap out of it. So he said to the man, “Tonight I want you to go to the circus in town because they have a clown named the Great Rinaldi, he is the funniest clown I have ever seen. Whenever I go to see the Great Rinaldi it always lifts my spirits.” The man responded. “You don’t understand doctor, I am the Great Rinaldi.”
C. Limited Expectations – Seeking Alms – Not seeking Deliverance
“in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.”
Don’t even realize their Deepest Needs; looking for the wrong answers
Rev. 3:17-18 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
Resigned to his sad state in life; simply looking to sustain life
II. (:4-8) HEALING POWER — THE HEALING POWER OF JESUS CHRIST IS FAR MORE VALUABLE THAN ANYTHING WE COULD IMAGINE
A. (:4-5) The Prerequisite of Healing = Compassion and Mercy extended
And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
You can never truly help someone without the insight and concern associated with the Compassion of Jesus Christ – He could be in a crowd and yet focus His attention on a single individual and their specific needs; did not turn away from the poor and the helpless and the pitiful – so easy to avert the eyes and not take any responsibility for pain and suffering around us; Peter and John could have looked the other direction and hurried by – they were busy people; they had their priorities; why take time to stop and get involved in a messy situation?
B. (:6-7) The Power of Healing = Application of authority and power of Jesus Christ
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene– walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.
1. Poverty of Wealth – silver and gold cannot buy what you need the most
Why didn’t Peter and John have silver and gold?
Riches in an evangelist are cause for questioning motives – be careful of leaders who enrich themselves at the expense of others; they are not acting as your servant but exploiting you
Material riches not the fundamental resource needed for spiritual ministry
The lame man simply wanted to be supported in the condition that he was in. God wanted to completely change his condition.
2. Free Offer of Deliverance – not on the basis of works or merit – must come as a free gift; we must be opportunistic in looking for divine appointments to enrich others
How precious and valuable is the gospel to us??
Prov. 8 – talks about seeking the Wisdom that comes from God and valuing it beyond silver and gold
Later we find that faith played a vital role – Was it Peter and John’s faith or that of the cripple?
3. Authority and Power associated with the Name of Jesus
Other people might identify negative characteristics with one whose origins stem from Nazareth; we must not shrink back from identification with Jesus;
Age of the Messiah has come – miracles prophesied in Isaiah 35
He is resurrected and exalted and reigning – directing the activities of His church on earth;
Command: “Walk” – just like Jesus commanding the dead Lazarus to come forth from the tomb (John 11)
4. Nature of the Healing
– divinely initiated and accomplished – sovereign miracles
– no contribution on the part of the broken person
– immediate; sudden; often unexpected
– complete healing that lasted
MacArthur: When God decides to do a supernatural miracle, if you want to check Him in the word of God, you’ll find they always had four characteristics. They were sovereign, they were supernatural, they were sudden, and they were completely sufficient.
C. (:8) The Proof of Genuine Healing
1. Complete Restoration to full health and functioning
“And with a leap, he stood upright and began to walk;”
2. Emotional and Spiritual Rejoicing – full participation in worship and praise
“and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”
III. (:9-10) HALLELUJAH IMPACT — THE POWER OF GOD GETS PEOPLE’S ATTENTION
A. Regarding The Transformation
“And all the people saw him walking and praising God;”
No doubt about what had happened; no trumped up, phony miracle
Remember the 10 lepers that Jesus healed – how many came back to give thanks?
B. Remembering the Predicament
“and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms,”
Easy to recognize the man
C. Reacting with Awe – Wonder and Amazement
“and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
Bock: thambos appears three times in the NT, all in reaction to miraculous actions (Luke 4:36; 5:9). The term ekstasis for amazement appears seven times in the NT – Mark 5:42 (miracle of Jairus’ daughter); Luke 5:26 (a paralytic); Acts 3:9; 10:10; 11:5; 22:17 (“vision”); the verb is in Luke 2:47; 8:56; 24:22; Acts 8:9, 11, 13; 9:21; 10:45; 12:16). This term describes someone emotionally impacted by an experience.
Look at Power of God expressed in Nature – supposed to get people’s attention
Look at Power of God expressed in Healing Miracles – not supposed to focus attention on the healer who is just the channel
Look at Power of God expressed in Changed Lives – supposed to be evident = markedly different than pre-conversion days
What mighty works do you see Jesus doing in His church today?
THE AWESOME POWER OF JESUS CHRIST HEALS BROKEN PEOPLE IN SPECTACULAR FASHION
How are we doing in reaching out to broken people with the compassion of Jesus Christ?
Maybe you are resigned to living in bondage to sin in some are of your life – not turning your eyes on Jesus to deliver you with His healing power; Don’t ever imagine that you are too broken for Jesus to restore – not talking about Humpty Dumpty – talking about the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ – Do you acknowledge your bankruptcy? Do you want healing? Are you willing to trust in Him?
Let’s rejoice with leaping in our hearts as we praise Him for His mercy and deliverance