“Behold, a king will reign righteously… then My people will live in a peaceful habitation… Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy.” (Isaiah 32:1,18; 35:4-6)
To borrow a line from J. R. R. Tolkien at the close of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, “Now begin the days of the King!” Isaiah, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, prophesied about the wonders of Israel’s days of blessing, when all of her enemies would be put beneath their rule. And now we read in Acts that the days Isaiah foretold are coming to pass. Israel’s kingdom is at hand, and God’s promises to Abraham are about to reach their ultimate fulfillment.
What happens next is astonishing, and it opens the door for Peter to plead with Israel twice, once with the general populace gathered on the Temple grounds, and once with Israel’s leadership. What will Peter’s method and message be? Will he speak of a “kingdom in the hearts of men” that supplants the promises God made to Israel alone? Or will he continue to speak about the fulfillment of Israel’s promised earthly kingdom? Let’s see…
A Lame Man Healed
Please take the time now to read Acts 3:1-10 in your study Bible. I’ll wait for you to finish.
Welcome back! Luke’s description of this event is, as usual, straightforward and factual. There’s lots to observe here, but not much need for interpretation. Let’s use the newspaper reporter’s rule of thumb:
- WHO: Peter, John, the lame man, and the people in the vicinity of the Temple who were watching
- WHAT: A miraculous healing of a congenital defect — so much so that he leaped up and was able to walk normally
- WHERE: At the Beautiful Gate entrance to the Temple grounds
- WHEN: About three o’clock in the afternoon, the time of prayer
- HOW: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene
Those who witnessed this event were filled (remember, that word means completely under the influence of) with wonder and amazement! This was no charlatan’s trick with a fake invalid. Everyone knew who this man was — they had grown used to seeing him there in his lame condition for years. Nor was it a lameness brought about by old age, such as arthritis, or from an accidental injury. This was not something that would heal itself in time, for his feet and ankles had been misshapen from his mother’s womb. It was, in fact, the most impossible (and therefore improbable) form of lameness to be cured. And it was cured – instantaneously!
Again, please take the time to do a cursory reading of Acts 3:11-26 now. I’ll wait for you as before.
Peter himself is a bit amazed — but not by the miracle that has taken place through him. He’s a little amazed that the onlookers still don’t “get it.” The lame man was certainly impressed! The word says he clung to Peter and John as they continued into the Temple grounds along the collonade known as Solomon’s Portico. Peter speaks to the crowd around him. His speech is very similar to how he explained what had happened at Pentecost, and draws the same conclusions about what they must do.
Peter’s message in general follows this line of thinking:
- We didn’t peform this miracle through our own power.
- God performed this miracle through Jesus from Nazareth, the Christ.
- You disowned and murdered Jesus.
- God raised Him from the dead (which we witnessed).
- You acted in ignorance, but the prophets predicted it.
- So it’s time to repent!
- God sent Jesus to turn you from your wicked ways.
There is very little in this outline that can’t be said of the Gospel and its demand on sinful men today. But I hope you noticed that I left out an awful lot of detail! Now it is time for you to be more discerning of the details in this passage, dear reader. Time to be noble and really search these verses for what they say. I’ll take a little different approach this time. Instead of just telling you what’s here and what it adds up to, I’m going to ask you to do the legwork. Well… some of it! Please have your study Bible close at hand, and then click on the link below for the next post. When you get there, you might want to print a copy to write on…