Bible Study: Acts, Chapter Three
Transcript: Today we are going to study Acts chapter 3 in depth. You can follow along in your own Bible if you like. I will be reading from the World English Bible because it is the only modern English translation that is copyright free, and I can read the entire bible on video without legal drama or breaking anyone’s rules.
After the meeting today, or sometime this week, please take the matching quiz that I have prepared for you on the website. Thanks to everyone that has participated. Let’s get started:
Acts Chapter 3 beginning in verse 1, reading from the World English Bible:
Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
Peter and John went to the temple at 3 PM to pray. The Jewish day started counting at 6AM our time, so the third hour would have been 9AM here, the sixth hour was 12 noon, and the ninth hour was 3 PM, or 1500 hours, whichever you prefer. This was the same hour that Jesus died on the cross and said “It is finished.”
The spirit-filled church had not yet broken with Judaism at the temple, so as with all devout Jews, Peter and John continued their attendance at the designated times of prayer. There would have been a large crowd heading to the temple at this time, and Peter and John were walking along with them.
2 A certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb was being carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask gifts for the needy of those who entered into the temple.
This was an enormous gate that all passed through as they entered the temple grounds in Jerusalem. The Jewish historian Josephus described the “beautiful” gate on the temple mount: it was made of fine Corinthian brass, seventy-five feet high with large double doors, and so magnificent that it “greatly excelled those that were only covered over with silver and gold.”
Peter and John came to a man who was crippled from birth, sitting at the gate of the temple begging. There was (and is) a strong tradition of alms-giving in Judaism. Helping the poor, and especially beggars, is considered an act of righteousness. This man made his income begging at the gate of the temple, and had for his entire life. Acts 4:22 tells us that this man was over forty years old. He had never taken a step and had to be carried from place to place by others.
It is interesting to note that this man was a familiar sight at this temple gate (Acts 3:10) and Jesus must have passed him many times without healing him. God’s timing is just as important as His will, and this healing was for a later time.
3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive gifts for the needy.
The beggar spotted Peter and John and probably thought they looked like good prospects, healthy young men with a job, so he asked them for money. He had probably said these words a million times in his forty years of begging.
Peter and John looked at him intently, and the man must have been encouraged when he saw this. Most people who want to ignore beggars, and salesmen, are careful to not make eye contact with them. When they looked at the lame man so intently, he probably thought he had a big gift coming.
4 Peter, fastening his eyes on him, with John, said, “Look at us.” 5 He listened to them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have, that I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”
The man looked up at them and probably stretched out his hand, or a cup, expecting to receive a gift as he had so many times before. When Peter said “I have no silver or gold”, his countenance probably fell, but Peter continued on with: “but what I have, that I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”
This man was over forty years old, born crippled, and had never taken a step in his life, so he sat there and did nothing. Jesus had trained the apostles to heal others, and Peter knew what it was like to have God use him (Luke 9:1–6).
7 He took him by the right hand and raised him up. Immediately his feet and his ankle bones received strength. 8 Leaping up, he stood and began to walk. He entered with them into the temple, walking, leaping, and praising God.
Peter said “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” so there could be no mistake who he was talking about: Jesus was a Nazarene, and the Jews used to insult Jesus with this saying during his life on earth. Now Peter waved it like a banner.
When the man did not move, Peter did a typical Peter thing, he grabbed him by the right hand and began to hoist him up. “Hey, old buddy, you’re healed! Stand up here with me.” When the man stood up, everything came together and his feet and ankles were healed completely. At that point, he began jumping up and down and praising God.
That is faith in action. When Peter walked on the water with Jesus, the water was just water until Peter put his foot out to step on it. Only then did it became solid. Faith is seeing things that are not, as though they were. The man’s feet were healed when he attempted to stand on them.
The author Luke was a doctor, and he goes into details about the man’s condition mentioning his feet, and his ankle bones, which only occur here in the Bible. Times have changed so much since that day at the temple. Today it is “woe is me” when we have no silver or gold, but no one seems to notice that we no longer say “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
9 All the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 They recognized him, that it was he who used to sit begging for gifts for the needy at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
There would have been a large crowd at the temple for the “hour of prayer” and this man was well known, because he always sat at the gate and had been crippled all his life. It wasn’t just “Hey there’s something different about you”, he was now walking among them.
11 As the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.
The place called Solomon’s porch was near the gate in the temple’s outer courts, and they went there. The man who had been healed “held on” or clung to them. The word used here to describe how he was clinging to Peter and John is used several times in the New Testament for police arrest. He was holding on tight, perhaps partly from gratitude, and partly from fear.
12 When Peter saw it, he responded to the people, “You men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Why do you fasten your eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk?
The Holy Spirit performed a miracle through Peter and healed the crippled man. That got the people’s attention, drew a crowd together, and now it was time to preach about Jesus. This is the same pattern that we saw in Acts chapter 2 when the people gathered together at the sound of the Mighty Rushing Wind. Jesus is always the focus of the Holy Spirit, never the signs and wonders. They are to support the spreading of the Gospel, and are not THE Gospel. I should note that the lack of signs and wonders in the church today is partly because we are NOT spreading the Gospel, but the traditions of men.
Peter made it clear to the crowd that it was not the power of Peter and John that healed the man, but the power of Jesus Christ.
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, to which we are witnesses. 16 By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
We should remember that they are standing in the temple courtyard of Jerusalem where not long ago Jesus had taught among the people. Then they secretly arrested, convicted and crucified Him. Some of these same people were present now.
Peter let them have it with both barrels and basically said: you delivered Him up, you denied Him, and you asked for a murderer to be released instead, You killed the Prince of Life, but God raised Him from the dead and we are witnesses.
He reminded them that they had rejected Jesus when they said, “We have no king but Caesar!” They had asked for a murderer to be released instead of Jesus when they said “Give us Barabbas.” Now he brought it all together for them:
“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.”
This is so simple but so true. Faith in the name of Jesus Christ brings power to the church. Any man or woman who has ever done anything substantial for Christ has done so only by faith in His name. The fleeting strength of man is nothing.
17 “Now, brothers, I know that you did this in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But the things which God announced by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled.
Peter was not angry with them, and still called them his “brothers.” He told them that despite all the evil they did to Jesus, it did not change or derail God’s plan. God can take the most horrible evil and use it for good. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph said to his brothers, “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.” The same principle was at work in the crucifixion of Jesus, and according to Romans 8:28 it is at work in our lives as well.
19 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that he may send Christ Jesus, who was ordained for you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God spoke long ago by the mouth of his holy prophets.
Peter told the crowd to repent like he did in his first sermon in Acts 2:38. He told them to turn from their current thinking and actions. Though Peter spoke boldly about their sin, the goal was to encourage them to repent and believe the good news about Jesus. Repentance does not describe being sorry, but the act of turning around. Here Peter made repent a word of hope. He told them that they had done wrong, but that they could turn now turn that around and become right with God.
That your sins may be blotted out has the idea of wiping ink off paper. During those days, ink did not contain acid and didn’t bite into the paper. It could almost be wiped completely off with a damp cloth. Peter said that God would wipe our sins away just like that if we repent, meaning to turn from them, to stop doing bad. This was the first benefit of repentance that Peter mentioned. When we repent, turn from it, stop doing it, God wipes the record itself clean. We are “justified” meaning “Just as if I had never sinned.”
Another benefit was that so “times of refreshing” would come. Some view this as the return of Jesus, but the word “times” is plural, meaning multiple occurrences of refreshing, and it conveys soothing a parched soul with spiritual renewal as a “breath of fresh air” or “cooling water” heals the body.
I believe it means that repentance opens the door for times of God’s refreshing presence to come to earth like He did in the great Welsh revival, where so many people got saved that the bars closed, the Azuza street revival where missing limbs grew back, Brownsville, Toronto airport, and so many more. They all began with sincere repentance. If you want to see God move, the first step is to turn away from sin.
Peter said that Jesus would remain in heaven until the restoration of all things. This is a short version of a long idea of mine, but the first church walked in the power and purity of the Holy Spirit and He guided them daily. Then over the next couple of hundred years it began to drift away. The less repentance the church had, the less power it had, the more calloused it became, and the further away from God she went.
Most all the power the apostles had was lost during the dark ages, and that was replaced with the traditions of men, greed, lust for power, on and on. The position as the leader of the church was sold more than once. The scriptures were kept in an obscure language, Latin, and those that tried to translate it into a common language like William Tyndall, were burned on a stake as heretics by the church, all in the Holy Name of Jesus. Bibles were chained to the pulpits, and the common people were forbidden to touch them. The priests ruled over the people harshly, and forgiveness was sold through the purchase of “indulgences.” “Keep the people stupid and poor” was the motto of the day.
The institutionalized church became corrupt, and just flat out evil. It had its own army that tortured, raped, and killed those with a different view, forcing the people to become one of them, or face death. People were put on “racks” and stretched until their arms and legs popped out of the sockets. A doctor would reset them and they would be given a month to heal, and then it would start again.
The dead bodies of rich people were dug up and put on trial, found to be heretics, and the property they had passed onto their children was seized by the church. Once a dead pope was put on trial. They literally dug up a skeleton, dressed him in a robe, sat him in a chair and asked him questions. He was then found him guilty of being a heretic and they burned him. The earth has never seen anything more evil, or stupid, than organized religion during the Dark Ages. Freddy Krueger could learn a lot from the true masters of evil, who wore the long flowing robes, and caused nightmares on all the streets.
The restoration of the church began after the Protestant reformation, with Martin Luther nailing his 95 thesis to the door of the church in 1517. That eventually led to an all out religious war that lasted 30 years and took over eight million lives. It ended in 1648 and was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in human history. It took that to wrestle the church back out of satan’s hands.
Since the Protestant reformation began in the early 1500s, the church has been gradually restored by the Holy Spirit and it is still happening today. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, tongues, healing, spiritual gifts, Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists have all been restored to the church in about the last 200 years. We are working our way back to the glorious church that Jesus will return to, as mentioned in Revelation 19:7 “the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.” It is long believed that the church is the “bride of Christ”, and that Jesus is not returning until she is fully dressed for the wedding. Will we live to see that in our lifetime? Honestly, I don’t know. I see progress in places and unbelievable ignorance in others.
22 For Moses indeed said to the fathers, ‘The Lord God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him in all things whatever he says to you.
Peter references Deuteronomy 18:15 where Moses prophesied that God would raise up another prophet like himself, and tells them that this Prophet was Jesus.
23 It will be that every soul that will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.’
It is interesting to note that many of the people standing there in Jerusalem listening to Peter speak were destroyed in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the city. The Christians there were warned by prophets and fled before the attack. Peter goes even further though and says that “every soul” who will not listen to that Prophet, meaning everyone today as well. The path is wide that leads to destruction.
24 Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days. 25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘All the families of the earth will be blessed through your offspring.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant Jesus, sent him to you first to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your wickedness.”
Peter tells them basically that Jesus was sent to the Jews first, but that all the families of the earth would be blessed by Him. At the time, the Jews did not even think that Gentiles could be saved, and would not enter their houses. When Jews passed through a Gentile town, they would shake the dust from their feet. The Holy Spirit began to change all of that after Pentecost, for He is the Great Equalizer of people.
Paul wrote in Romans 19:25 “For I don’t desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you won’t be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and so all Israel will be saved.”
Jesus came to the Jewish people first, but they largely rejected Him. Paul said though, that their time would come too, after the full number of Gentiles have join Him. How many is that? I don’t know, apparently a lot. But I believe that one day, Israel will come to know Jesus as the Messiah, and His return will probably soon follow. As in Matthew 23:39, they will say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”.
That concludes our Bible study on Acts Chapter 3. Thank you for watching and being a part of Refreshing Hope!
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