Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realised he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.
Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to His servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release Him. You rejected this holy, righteous One and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact! Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.” “Friends, I realise that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that He must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything He tells you.’ Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.’ “Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up His servant, Jesus, He sent Him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”Acts 3:1-26
Notice how I have divided this chapter. This portion clearly divides into three separate segments.
- The Introduction or Setting
- The Miracle Story
- The Speech.
As I have told you before there is a certain pattern to the Book of Acts. Speeches are very important. The Book is also filled with miracle stories. The Book could well have been called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. It is the kind of thing Bible critics don’t like. The Jesus Seminar people spend their lives refuting the supernatural as it is found in the Word of God. They say, “These things don’t happen in reality”. So they spend their days redacting (editing) the Bible to take out the supernatural bits. I have news for them and it is all bad from their point of view. At its heart, Christianity is supernatural. It is filled with stories of the intervention of God in human affairs. I tell people habitually in my God’s Awesome Book seminar that we ought to expect the supernatural (out of the realms of the natural) when it comes to God. God is supernatural, so therefore we ought to expect the stories about Him to be supernatural and filled with miracles. Hang on to your hat when you get close to God. I was in the habit of telling people in God’s Awesome Book seminars that we ought to have the seats equipped with seat belts in church. Truly, if the Holy Spirit shows up you had better be strapped in for your own protection. It takes me back to the story I told in Bible Gems 1364 of me being like a drunk person under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is true, it really happened. Ask Tania. I could also give you the names and email addresses of a number of people who were there at the time as witnesses. Check it out with them.
Why have I digressed into this kind of approach? Because we are coming to the first of miracle stories in the Book of Acts. Well actually that is not true. All of the events connected with the Day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit were miraculous. Jesus’ ascension (imagine being there and seeing it), the communication miracle (tongue and ears – Gems 1363) – it was all miraculous. But the critics get more upset about this next story marking the beginning of the miracle stories of Acts, which they rubbish. Gems Readers, I am here as a witness to the reality of miracles. The Christian life is filled with miracles. Accept it or reject it – the choice is yours, but I am a witness. Tania and I have lived a life full of miracles as we have followed God. Soon I hope to put my stories on this Website. Oh there are so many things I want to put on this Website. The details of God’s Awesome Book, the details of Deeper Bible, the stories I told on Radio Rhema in NZ for three years. All of it, testimony to the miraculous way God works on earth. I AM A WITNESS. I testify to the ever-present-likelihood of God breaking into human affairs in a miraculous way. It happens. Get used to it. Isn’t that what the Book of Acts is all about? You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and even to the outermost parts of the earth. Well I have come from the outer most part of the earth (New Zealand) to bear witness to the truth of it.
Notice when you witness a miracle you ought to say something about it. You ought to bear testimony as to where this miracle came from, why it happened. That is what is happening here in the Book of Acts. That is why we have so many miracles and speeches in the Book of Acts. They are explanations as to what has happened and why. The stories of the events and the speeches or explanations are part of the process. That is the way the Book of Acts is patterned. When you see God at work be prepared to stand up and give testimony.
I came across an interesting story in New Zealand years ago of a woman in an office in Auckland who was a timid Christian and was not willing to testify to God and give Him the glory for what was happening in her life. So she contented herself with just “living the life” rather than giving credit to God for the quality of the life she lived. One Monday a work mate told of the wonderful experience she had had on the weekend when she became a Christian and accepted Jesus into her heart and life. The timid woman said, “Oh that is wonderful news. I am so glad you have become a Christian. I have been praying for you for a long time.” At which point the new Christian replied, “You are a Christian! Well you are what has kept me from Christ all these years. I have looked at you and figured that you don’t go around talking about God all the time. You live an amazing life and are filled with joy and hope. So if you can be like that “without God” then I can do it too.” Imagine the shock of that timid Christian on hearing that statement.
Think about it deeply and then prepare yourself to be a witness. Testify to God’s hand in your life. Tell people where you get your strength from. Give Him the glory. Don’t keep the source of your strength and your joy hidden. Tell it to the ends of the earth. Be a witness. Make speeches.
Now having given you all of that background it is time for us to ponder our questions about this passage before us. Remember asking the right questions will lead us to the gold. This time I will not tell you my questions first but will give you the time to prepare your questions. Remember that these Gems are “live” – deliberately. My idea for creating the Bible Gems in the very beginning (09/09/2009) was to share live my Quiet Time on the Internet. To give help you to see how to dig deeper into the text of the Bible for yourself. Gems were designed to go with Deeper Bible to train you. But also to give a witness to the presence of God in my life. That is what it is all about readers. Because the Gems are not preplanned or written long before they are sent it means I can interact with you. If you share YOUR questions you may well find I will take one or two on board and respond to them in the context of the Gems.
I don’t have all the answers. I am not the world’s expert on the Bible. But I am in touch with the Author who does have all the answers. Some of which He shares and some of which He doesn’t. Last night I was prompted to share when someone sharing testimony said they were asked to explain the Trinity and didn’t know how to answer. When I got up to speak I told the people not having all the answers doesn’t worry me in the least. In fact I like it that I don’t. I don’t want to follow a God Whom I can explain totally and clearly to everyone else. I want God to be bigger than my puny mind and who leaves me with questions in awe and wonder. If I can explain everything about God and satisfy you completely with my explanations then God has been reduced to a human level. I want a God whose thoughts and ways are far above mine and Who leaves me lost in awe and wonder at the mention of His Name. That’s the kind of God I want and that’s the kind of God I follow. That’s also Luke’s God, the One who is the focus of the Book of Acts. The One Who said,
My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, and My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.Isaiah 55:8
Now is the time to put together a list of the questions you come up with when you ponder this chapter.
Nothing is ordinary. Life is an endless series of little miracles. The difference between living and existing is noticing.Louie Giglio
You can move through life seeing nothing as a miracle, or seeing everything as a miracle.Albert Einstein
Learn to spot or discern the miracles in the little things of life. Miracles are all around you, you just need the eyes to see them.Ian Vail
May I never miss a rainbow or a miracle because I am looking down.Anon
Jesus won’t turn water to wine in your life, until you run out of your own. He doesn’t do miracles for the self-sufficient.Anon
The moment you pray God sets miracles into motion.Anon
If we would remember the miracles God has done in our past, we would not so easily worry and fear when we face new challenges.Joyce Meyer
Develop your miracle memory.Ian Vail