Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

 

A Lame Man Healed (Acts 3.1-11)

 

Note: since this is a long sermon, I suggest it be given in two parts; part 1 (vs. 1-5) on Sunday morning, and part 2 (vs. 6-11) on Sunday evening.

 

 

 

Acts 3.1-3.11 (KJV)

 

1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 

2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 

3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 

4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 

5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 

6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 

7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 

8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 

9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 

10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. 

11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. 

 

 

Introduction

 

The apostles and the first believers attended the temple worship at the hours of prayer. Peter and John seem to have been led by the Holy Spirit, to perform a miracle on a man who was over forty years old and had been a cripple from his birth. Peter, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, told him to rise up and walk. Accordingly, if we would attempt the healing of men's souls, we must go forth in the name and power of Jesus Christ, calling on helpless sinners to arise and walk in the way of holiness, by faith in Him. How precious is the thought to our souls that regardless of all the crippled faculties of our fallen nature, the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth can make us whole! Can you imagine the holy joy and excitement we shall feel when we walk the holy courts of Heaven; when God the Spirit causes us to enter there by His strength!

 

 

 

The incident begins whenPeter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, 

Peter and John must have had a close friendship, which probably began when they worked side-by-side in the fishing-boats as they pursued their trade as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Luke tells us that the sons of Zebedee (James and John) were "partners with Simon," (Later Jesus changed his name to Peter.) and helped him to land a miraculous catch of fishes. The account of this miracle is found in Luke 5—“Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men” (Luke 5:4-10). We find the two sons of Zebedee associated with Peter in the inner circle of the Lord's apostles, at the Transfiguration, at the raising of Jairus' daughter, and at the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. But the still closer friendship of Peter and John appears first when they go together to the palace of Caiaphas on the night of the Lord’s betrayal. This is what John wrote about that experience in John 18:15: “And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple (John): that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.” (John 18:15). And then the two apostles made the memorable visit to the holy sepulcher on the morning of the Resurrection, which is described in John 20:2-4 —“Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved (John), and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher.” It would seem natural then, in the early chapters of the Acts, that we find Peter and John constantly acting together at the very forefront of the Christian movement.

 

 

That is the background to the wonderful miracle that is our message for this morning,

 

 

Peter and John are together again and on the way to the temple, not to observe the daily sacrifice, which for believers was abolished by the sacrifice of Christ, but to participate in the daily prayer, which was still in force, and they might have had in mind preaching Christ to the crowd assembled there. In Luke 24:53, it is said that the apostles were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. From Acts 2:46, it is clear that all the disciples were accustomed to go daily to the temple for a time of prayerThere we are told, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple…” Whether they joined in the sacrifices of the temple-service is not said; but that is not out of the question. This was the place and the manner in which they and their fathers had worshipped. It took some time for them to come to the conclusion that they should leave the temple, and it was natural for them to join their countrymen to worship the God of their fathers. In the previous chapter, and Acts 2:43, we are told in general that many wonders and signs were done by the hands of the apostles. From the many miracles which were performed, Luke selects one of which he gives a fuller account, and at the same time it gives him an occasion to record another of the addresses of Peter to the Jews.

 

 

The verse says, “Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer. “The hour of prayer” is called "the hour of incense," in Luke 1:10, which is the time of the evening sacrifice, when the people stood outside in the courtyard of the Temple in prayer, and the priests who were inside offered the sacrifice and burnt the incense. It seems very remarkable that at this early age of the Church's existence Christians did not consider themselves separated from their Jewish brethren, or from the Old Testament institutions. Christianity was Judaism perfected; the gospel was the full blossoming of the Law. The first Christian Jews, therefore, did not conceive of themselves as leaving the religion of their fathers, but instead they hoped that their whole nation would soon acknowledge Jesus to be the Christ. Christian institutions, therefore— the prayers, the breaking of bread, the prophesying and speaking with tongues, and the apostolic teachings were added to the temple service, and were not opposed to it; and the church took the place of the synagogue, but not of the temple. 

 

 

The words “being the ninth hour,” have been placed at the end of the verse.

The ninth hour would be three o'clock in the afternoon. This was one of their “hours of prayer;” it was customary with the Jews to pray three times a day. We are told this about Daniel’s prayer time: “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10). The psalmist, in Psalm 55:17, says that the three times were evening, morning, and at noon; morning prayer was at the third hour (Acts 2:15) or nine o'clock in the morning; noon prayer was at the sixth hour (Acts 10:9) or twelve o'clock, at noon; and evening prayer was at the ninth hour, as it is here, or three o'clock in the afternoon. These were not times established by God, but by the Jews; since the Law does not specify any number of prayers, and there is no repetition of prayer of one kind or another commanded in the Law, and there is no "fixed time" for prayer mentioned in the Law.'' 

 

 

The rabbis believed that Abraham instituted the time of Morning Prayer; Isaac, the noon prayer; and Jacob, the evening prayer time: but to support their claims they quote several scriptures, which have little to do with the subject of prayer. Some other rabbis made a more natural division for prayer time. He said men should pray:

  1. When the sun rises.
  2. When the sun has gained the meridian (zenith, or highpoint).
  3. When the sun has set, or passed just under the horizon.

At each of these three times they required men to offer prayer to God; and I would be glad to know that every Christian in the universe observed the same times: it is the most natural division of the day; and anyone who conscientiously observes these three stated times of prayer will for certain grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

 

2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 

 

And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, 

“Lame from his mother's womb” means that there was no deception in this case. The man had always been lame; he was grateful to those who carried him to the gate every day, and carried him home every night; and he was well known to the Jews, since they had laid him in the same place for several years. It appears that he was unable to walk, and was what we term a cripple, since he was carried to the gate of the temple, and laid there in order to elicit compassion from passers-by. These circumstances are all mentioned by St. Luke, in order to show the greatness and incontestable nature of the miracle. Bear in mind, there were no hospitals for the sick, and no rescue missions for the poor. The poor were dependent, therefore, on the charity of those who were in better circumstances than they were. It was an important matter for them to be placed where many people would see them. For this reason, it was customary to place them at the gates of rich men—“And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate…” (Luke 16:20); and they also sat by the highway to beg where many persons would pass—“And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging” (Mark 10:46). The entrance to the temple would have been a popular place for begging, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Great multitudes were accustomed to entering there.
  2. When people were going to the temple for the purpose of worshipping God, they would be more inclined to give alms than at other times; this was especially true of the Pharisees, who were always looking to make a public show of bestowing charity. It is recorded that the custom prevailed among the Romans of placing the poor by the gates of the temples; and the custom was also observed for a long time by the Christian churches.

 

 

The middle part of verse 2  adds, “whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful.”The temple had nine gates, all of which were covered on every side with gold and silver; but there was one gate which was covered with Corinthian brass, and greatly excelled those which were only covered with gold and silver. The other gates were the same size; but the one made of Corinthian brass was much larger and had richer and thicker plates of silver and gold upon them than upon the others. This last one was probably the gate which is called here, “Beautiful;” because it was on the outside of the temple, there was easy access to it, and because it was evidently the most costly, according to the account given by Josephus; but it must be conceded that Josephus text is by no means clear. There have been two opinions with regard to this gate, one of which supposes that it was the gate commonly called Nicanor, which led from the court of the Gentiles to the court of the women, and the other that it was the gate at the eastern entrance of the temple, commonly called Shushan. It is not easy to determine which is intended; except for the fact that what is recorded here occurred near Solomon's porch according to Acts 3:11—“And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering;” therefore it seems probable that the latter was intended. This gate was probably “The gate of the temple which is called beautiful” and it is described by the Jewish historian Josephus as a gate made of fine Corinthian brass at the temple, seventy-five feet high with huge double doors, so beautiful that it “greatly excelled those that were only covered over with silver and gold.” 

  

 

The reason commonly given by the Jewish commentators for calling this particular gate “Beautiful” is this: Shushan, the metropolis of Persia, was depicted upon it which made it look very beautiful. As for why it was there is another story: when the Jews returned from captivity, the king of Persia commanded that they make a figure of the palace of Shushan upon one of the gates of the temple, so that they might fear the king, and not rebel against him; and accordingly they drew one upon the eastern gate: but some say, that the children of the captivity did this (when they returned) in order that they might remember the wonder of Purim, (their deliverance from Haman,) which happened in Shushan (Read about it in the book of Esther.).

 

 

The verse ends with,to ask alms of them that entered into the temple.

“To ask alms (charity)” indicates that the lame man simply wanted to be supported in the condition that he was in. (God wanted to completely change his condition.) When Peter and John gave him no money, we might have heard him complain: “You don’t care about me. You won’t support me.  Look at the mess I’m in.”  But Peter and John have no interest in supporting him in his mess.  They want to transform his life by the power of the risen Jesus Christ. “It is not the Church’s business in this world to simply make the present condition more bearable; the task of the Church is to release here on earth the redemptive work of God in Christ.” 

 

 

It is interesting to note that "it is forbidden to take alms from Gentiles publicly, except a man cannot live by the alms of Israelites; and if a king, or a prince of the Gentiles, should send money to an Israelite for alms, he must not return it, because of the peace of the kingdom, but must take it from him, and give it to the poor of the Gentiles secretly, that the king may not hear.''

 

 

3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 

 

 Just as “Peter and John” were entering through the gate where the crippled man had been laid, he looked at them; and though they were strangers to him, he concluded they were Israelites since they were going into the temple at that particular time. He “asked an alms” from them; that is, he begged them to give him something for his care and support. He thought his condition was incurable, so he was only asking for a sum to preserve his life. What is given to him was unexpected, and something he never asked for. He is an example of a man that is not yet illuminated by faith, and therefore he may not know how to pray for what he needs.

 

 

 It was not many weeks ago that the blind and the lame came to Christ when he was in the temple, and He healed them there—“And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them” (Mt. 21:14). Perhaps he would have asked for more than an alms, if he knew that Peter and John were Christ’s messengers, and preached and produced miracles in His name?

 

 

4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 

 

“And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him”or looking very intently at him—no doubt, Peter was under some unusual impulse of the Spirit of God to pay special attention to him, and cure him of his disease. 

 

 

Though it does not expressly say so, John probably looked intently at the man too, because they were both guided by the same Spirit, and saw eye-to-eye in regard to this miracle; they said, “Look on us.” Our eye must always be fixed upon the Lord (the eye of our mind)—“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12.2); and, when our minds are focused on the Lord, the eyes of the body may be fixed on those whom he employs as the ministers of his grace. This poor, crippled man did not need to be asked twice to look at the apostles; because he thought he had good reason to expect that he would receive something form them, and therefore he looked at them, as he was told. 

 

 

with John, 

John was doubtless under a similar impulse at the same time, and he appears just as concerned for the man’s unfortunate condition as Peter, which is obvious from the notice the man took of both Peter and John after he was healed—“And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John…” (Acts 3:11), and also by Peters words, “Look on us.” 

 

 

Peter and John were probably about the same age (the idea that Peter was much older than John rests mainly on the pictures which artists have drawn from their imagination, and has no evidence in Scripture), and had been friends from their youth. They had been partners as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:10). They had been looking for the consolation of Israel, and both had been baptized by John (John 1:41). 

 

 

said, Look on us. 

Peter “said, look on us;” which was said to get him to pay attention to them, to see the kind of men they were, and how unlikely they were to perform the following cure, and to take notice of the method in which it would be done, and, it is likely, he took this occasion to tell him about Jesus Christ. Peter and John probably felt themselves suddenly drawn by the Holy Spirit to pronounce the healing name in behalf of this poor man. It is true that Christ had promised that they could perform miracles in his name—“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:17, 18). And that whatsoever they asked of the Father in his name, he would grant it—“When that day comes, you will no longer ask me for anything. What I'm about to tell you is true. My Father will give you anything you ask for in my name” (John 16:23). And they might have been led at this time to make the request to God to be enabled to work this miracle; and the faith they had in his unlimited power and unchangeable truth might have induced them to make this request. It is the faith of Peter and John, not the faith of the crippled man that brought the healing. 

 

 

5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 

 

And he gave heed unto them, 

“And he gave heed unto them,” or "he looked at them" (as the Syriac version renders it), in response to Peter’s demand; “Look on Us.” He was not only focused on them in his mind, but he directed his eyes towards them, and looked wistfully at them. He took Peter's invitation as a promise of a large gift.

 

 

expecting to receive something of them. 

Now he expected to receive something from them; not a cure for his lameness, which he thought was beyond a cure of any kind, but some money, for an alms, because it was the usual custom for all who entered the temple to carry money with them to give to the treasury, or to the poor, or to both. It was on this ground that the friends of the lame man laid him daily at the gate of the temple, since this was the most likely place to receive alms.

 

 

The lame man was correct in “expecting to receive something from them,” but he received much more than the monetary donation he would have been satisfied with! Many of us haven’t even come to the place where we really expect something from God.  The cripple man certainly has faith, plain and simple faith, even if the man was expecting the wrong thing. It is always better to expect the right things from God.  We are so often ready to settle for much less than God wants to give us, and our low expectations often rob us.

 

NOTE: We must come to God both by studying His word and speaking to Him in prayer; our hearts should be full of love for Him, and our expectations of receiving something from Him raised. I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up at where my help comes from.

 

 

6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 

 

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; 

Though the early church had poured out its gifts abundantly, Peter had not enriched himself, and was a poor man, presenting a great contrast to the popes who claim to be his successors. It is related that Thomas Aquinas came to Rome and visited Innocent IV. He looked somewhat amazedly upon the mass of plate and treasure which he saw there. So, said the pope, you see, Thomas, we cannot say as did St. Peter of old, 'Silver and gold have I none.' No, said Aquinas, neither can you command, as did he, the lame man to arise and walk. Peter had that which the popes have not. The man had asked for money; but Peter informs him that he did not have any money to give him; however, what he did for the man was done in a way that showed his willingness to help him if he had possessed money.

 

 

Though it was customary for all those who entered the temple to carry some money with them to give to the treasury, or to the poor, or to both, yet the apostles were so poor that they had nothing to give, either to the sacred treasury, or to the poor. It is probable that they had no money anywhere that they could call their own; none except what was brought to them, and put into their hands as a common fund for the whole church, or the church’s poor. It is interesting that it was forbidden to carry money in a purse when inside the Temple, though no doubt they could carry it in their hands, or in some other way, for the offerings, or for the poor, or this man would not have lain by the gate asking for alms.

 

 

but such as I have give I thee: 

“Such as I have” is like saying “Such as is in my power;” meaning the gift of healing; though he did not communicate that to him, but exercised the gift of healing upon him, by curing him of his lameness; and which was certainly preferable to large quantities of gold and silver, if he had it to give. Peter wants to inform the man that the power he has did not originate with him, that he has no power himself, but only that which was entrusted to him. He immediately adds that it was derived solely from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 

There is power in the name of Jesus—“Then listen to this, you and all the people of Israel! You nailed Jesus Christ of Nazareth to the cross. But God raised him from the dead. It is through Jesus' name that this man stands healed in front of you” (Acts 4.10). Jesus said, “Here are the miraculous signs that those who believe will do. In my name they will drive out demons. They will speak in languages they had not known before. They will pick up snakes with their hands. And when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. They will place their hands on sick people. And the people will get well." (Mark 16.17, 18). “In the name” means "by his authority," or "in virtue of power derived from him."  It is said, "These signs shall follow them that are sick, and they shall recover." There is a remarkable difference between the manner in which the Lord Jesus performed miracles and the manner in which it was done by His apostles. He did it in no one’s name and by virtue of his own power. The apostles never attempted to perform a miracle by their own power. It was only in the name of Jesus; and this stipulation alone shows that there was a radical difference between Christ and all other prophets and teachers. 

 

 

“Jesus Christ of Nazareth” was the name by which he was commonly known. That is what the Jews called Him, and it is highly probable that the man had heard of Him by this name, and it was important that he understood that it was by the authority and power of Him who had been crucified as an impostor, that he was healed. Peter will clearly explain what he meant by "in the Name," in verses 12 and 16, where he shows that they did not work the miracle by their own power or godliness, but that the lame man was healed by the Name of Jesus, in which he believed.  And our Lord said of himself, "I am come in my Father's Name" (John 5:43; John 10:25). 

 

 

Peter told the man to “Rise up and walk”— without making use of any medicines, or applying anything to him; but believing that power would go along with the words, and strength would be communicated to him—this would be evidence of Divine power. It is remarkable that in cases like this they were commanded to do something immediately. Similar cases are found in John 5:8; Matthew 9:6; Matthew 12:13. It would have been easy for the sick and needy to claim that they had no power; that they were lame, or sick, or palsied, and could do nothing until God would give them strength. But the command was to do a certain thing; nor did the Saviour or the apostles stop to convince them that they could do nothing by themselves. They did not doubt that if it were done they would ascribe the power to God. What is said about the cripple man can also be said about the sinner. God commands him to do something; to repent, and believe, and lead a holy life. It is not merely to attempt to do it, but it is actually to repent and believe the gospel. Where he may obtain power to do it is another question; but the Holy Spirit is the source of such power. It is easy for the Spirit of God to involve himself in difficult situations, as it would have been in this case. But the command of God is positive, and must be obeyed. If not obeyed, people must perish, just as this man would have always been lame if he had put forth no effort of his own. When done, a convicted sinner will do just as this man did, instinctively give all the praise to God (See Acts 3:8).

 

 

7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 

 

And he took him by the right hand, 

“And he took him by the right hand,” perhaps in imitation of Christ, whom he had often seen do the same thing on similar occasions; in fact, it is precisely what his Lord had done to his own mother-in-law—“So he went to her. He took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her. Then she began to serve them” (Mark 1:31). There was a lot of meaning attached to this gesture by Peter—to take hold of the hand was an offer of aid, an indication that Peter was sincere, and it was an inducement to him to make an effort. This may be viewed as a beautiful illustration of the manner in which God commands people to repent and believe. He does not leave them alone; he extends help, and aids their efforts. If they are fearful, and feel that they are weak, and needy, and helpless, his hand is stretched out and his power exerted to impart strength and grace.

 

 

and lifted him up: 

Peter believed he was cured, so he lifted him up in order for everyone to see that the man was actually cured.  It was one thing to say, “Rise up and walk,” but it was another thing entirely to so boldly take the man’s hand and lift him to his feet.  At this moment, Peter was receiving the gift of faith described in 1 Corinthians 12:9—“To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing.”  This is a supernatural ability to trust God in a particular situation. This wasn’t something Peter did on a whim or as a promotional event; he did it under the specific prompting of the Holy Spirit.  God gave Peter the supernatural ability to trust Him for something completely out of the ordinary.

 

 

and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 

“His feet and ankle bones received strength,” and it happened “immediately.” We now know that he was lame in his feet and ankles, perhaps due to arthritis or clubfeet. The Vulgate Latin renders it, his bases and soles, which may include his legs and thighs, as well as feet; and the Syriac version, "his feet and soles"; and the Arabic version, "his soles, and the muscles adjoining to his heels"; and the Ethiopic version, "he was strengthened in his feet, and in his loins"; he might have been a paralytic. 

 

 

The fact that strength was immediately delivered to feet, which had been lame from birth, was ample and clear proof of miraculous power; his walking and leaping (v. 8) were the evidences of it.

 

 

When God by his word commands us to rise, and walk in the way of his commandments, if we mix faith with that word, and place ourselves under the power of it, he will send His Spirit to take us by the hand, and lift us up. If we resolve to do what we can, God has promised that His grace will enable us to do what we cannot; and by that promise we partake of a new nature, and that grace shall not be in vain, as it was not in the case of this crippled man. His feet and ankle-bones received strength, which they would not have if he had not attempted to rise, and been helped up; he does his part, and Peter does his, and yet it is Christ that does all—it is the Lord who puts strength into him. In the same way the bread was multiplied in the breaking, and the water turned into wine in the pouring out, so strength was given to the cripple’s feet when he moved them and used them.

 

 

8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 

 

And he leaping up stood, and walked, 

“And he leaping up” from the bed, or stretcher, or mat, or blanket, or ground on which he was laying, “stood, and walked.” He stood steady and strong upon his two feet, and then walked about, so that it became abundantly clear to himself and all that observed this miraculous occasion, that he had been given a perfect cure. The Ethiopic version is a very silly one; it says, "and he went with them catching fishes"; as if the first thing he did after being cured was to go fishing with the apostles, which does not have any basis in the text.

 

 

and entered with them into the temple, 

The first thing this formerly crippled man did after he was cured was to go into the Temple with Peter and John to join them in worshipping God, and to acknowledge the goodness that God had showed him, and to thank Him for the instruments he made use of in His cure. 

 

 

walking, 

He walked in obedience to the command of the apostle, “rise up and walk,” and he probably continued walking about, testing his newly acquired power. Remember, this man had never walked, therefore his legs would have withered and lost all muscle tone and strength; yet his cure was immediate and did not require therapy and exercise to make them fit for walking.

 

 

and leaping, 

He was leaping out of pure joy for the mercy which God had showed them, and from this it appeared to all that he was thoroughly cured of his lameness: and now the prophecy in Isaiah 35:6 was literally fulfilled— “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart…”

 

 

and praising God. 

It is remarkable that he did not even express his gratitude to Peter and John. They had not pretended to restore him in their own name. The man knew who to thank for his miracle; he was praising God, and not the apostles, because he knew that it was the power of God that healed him, and that it could never have been done by man; though I am sure he was grateful to Peter and John for the part they played. It is amazing that he praised God without being coached or requested to do it. It was instinctive—the natural feeling of a grateful heart. 

 

 

This man’s reaction is similar to how a sinner reacts when he is converted—he will immediately give praise to God. While he will certainly feel grateful for the ministry by whose witness he has received the blessing, yet his main expression of gratitude will be to God. And he will do it instinctively. He needs no prompting; he knows that no power of man is equal to the work necessary for converting the soul, and he will rejoice, and give all the praise to the God of grace.

 

 

This was a natural expression of joy, his heart would be full, and the account given here is one that is perfectly natural. The man would be filled with joy, and would express it in this manner. He had been lame from birth; he had never walked; and there was more in the miracle than merely giving strength. The art of "walking" is one that is acquired by long practice. Children learn slowly. Caspar Hauser, was a man discovered in one of the cities of Germany, who had been confined in prison from the time he was a child; was unable to walk in an easy way when released, but stumbled in a very awkward manner. When, therefore, this man, who had never walked was immediately able to walk and even leap, it was undeniable proof of a miracle.

 

 

9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 

10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

 

As soon as he was healed, the formerly lame man did three good things.  First, he attached himself to the apostles (entered the temple with them).  Secondly, he immediately started to use what God had given him (walking, leaping). Finally, he began to praise and worship God (praising God). The miracle took place in perhaps the most public place; “and all the people saw him,” or rather all the people who had come to the Temple to worship at the time of public prayer (3:00 P.M.). It was a place where the authenticity of the event could be judged; since it was a Divine act; the priests were the right persons to make such a determination; and it took place right under their noses. 

 

 

The people had been accustomed to see him sit in a public place. He may have reclined by the Gate Beautiful, day-after-day for years, begging alms from them as they passed by him. They could not be deceived, because he seemed to always be there; they knew his face and the sound of his voice. And now they saw the same man expressing his praise to God for complete recovery, and they did not know how he had been healed. The particulars in this miracle are the following, and they are as far as possible from any appearance of deception:

  1. The man had been afflicted from the time he was a child. This was known to all the people. At this time he was 40 years of age—“For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed” (Acts 4:22).
  2. He was not an impostor. If he had pretended to be lame, it would be amazing that his deception had not been detected before, and had not been forbidden to occupy a place so near the temple.
  3. The apostles had no part in placing him there. There is no evidence that they had seen him before this event. There was clearly no collusion or agreement with him to attempt to mislead the people.
  4. The man himself was convinced of the miracle, and did not doubt that the power by which he had been healed was from God.
  5. The people were convinced a miracle had taken place. They saw the effects; they had known him well; they had had every opportunity to know that he was crippled, and they were now satisfied that he was restored. There was no possibility of deception in this case. It was not merely the friends of Jesus that saw this; not those who had taken part in the miracle, but those who had been his enemies, and who had just a few weeks ago been part of the crowd that put him to death. 

 

 

And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: 

“And they knew that it was he which sat for alms” is rendered in the Syriac version as, "they knew him to be that beggar that sat daily and asked alms.” Since he was brought daily to the Temple and laid in the same place, beside the Beautiful Gate to ask for alms from the people as they went into the Temple, and this had been going on for many years, it is very likely he was well known to many of them, and they had only just now passed by him, and observed him in the same condition he had been for a long time, and knew he was the same person who was now “walking, and leaping, and praising God.” It was a clear and indisputable fact, and they were no doubt effected by it.

 

If this man was more than 40 years old (Acts 4:22), and had been crippled since birth, and was a familiar sight at this temple gate, then Jesus must have passed by him many times without healing him.  Why?  Because God’s timing is just as important as His will, and it was for the greater glory of God that Jesus heal this man from heaven through His apostles.

 

 

and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

“They were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him;” that he could have been cured so suddenly, and in such an extraordinary manner; they wondered at the power of God, which was clearly seen in it, and that he would make use of such poor, disreputable, and contemptible persons as the apostles were.

 

 

He had sat beside this same gate so long that they all knew him; and for this reason he was chosen, on this occasion, to be the vessel of God’s mercy. Now, they were not so vicious or stubborn that they would voice any doubt whether he was the same man, as the Pharisees had questioned concerning the blind man that Christ cured (Jn. 9:9, Jn. 9:18). They now saw him “walking, and praising God,” and perhaps they noticed a change in his mind; because he was now as loud in praising God as he had before been in begging alms. The best evidence that it was a complete cure was that he now praised God for it. 

 

 

11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. 

 

And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, 

The word "held" means that he "adhered" to them; he "joined himself" to them; he was wanting to "remain" with them and "participate" with them. "He clung to his benefactors, and would not be separated from them.” He felt the strongest affection for them, since they were the instruments by which the Divine influence rehabilitated his diseased body. He held on to Peter and John; by their clothes or arms, either through fear that his lameness would return once they left him; or rather out of affection for them for the blessing he had received, and therefore hung about them, and was unwilling to part with them; unless it was to make them known, and point them out as the agents of his cure, so that they might be taken notice of by others, and their role in the miracle recognized.

 

 

all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. 

“All the people” ran to them; to the man that was healed, and to Peter and John, when they saw him standing, walking, and leaping, and clinging to the apostles; because they were excited and curious about what was taking place in their presence. The fact of the cure and the conduct of the man would soon draw a crowd and provide a favorable opportunity for preaching the gospel to them. They came together in the "porch that is called Solomon’s” which was a covered portico or passage on the east side of the Temple. It was distinguished by its magnificence—“And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch” (John 10.23), to keep himself warm, and protect Him from inclement weather.  

 

 

Peter knew that the phenomenon of the miraculous in itself brought no one to Jesus, it merely aroused interest.  Though they were greatly amazed, they weren’t saved yet! Peter knew that saving faith did not come by seeing or hearing about miracles, rather “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

 

 

This gloriously happy man clung to Peter and John and would not let them leave him, while he shouted to all those around him all about him, what God had done for him, and how God had acted through these men. He “entered with them into the temple.” His strong affection for them held them; but it could not hold them enough to keep them from going into the Temple, where they were going to preach Christ to the crowd. If they will not stay with him, he is resolved to go with them, and like the impotent man whom Christ cured, he was soon found in the temple— “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (Jn. 5:14). He went into the temple, not only to offer up his praises and thanksgivings to God, but to hear more from the apostles of that Jesus in whose name he had been healed. Those that have experienced the power of Christ should earnestly desire to grow in their relationship with Christ. He was in the Temple “walking, and leaping, and praising God.” This man, as soon as he could leap, leaped for joy in God, and praised Him. How the people that were eye-witnesses of this miracle were influenced by it is the next message. 

 

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