This page is a verse by verse study of Acts 3:12-26. These verses describe Peter’ message after healing the lame man at the temple gate..
Peter’s message after healing the lame man at the temple gate.
¶ "Peter looked at the crowd’s behaviour and made this response: 'Men of Israel, why do you regard this man in such amazement? Why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk?' "(Acts 3:12).
1 Power of God
Power and amazement. The ability to perform a miracle, especially one like the healing of the lame man, is a dangerous power because it can be assumed that the one who works the miracle is someone great (Acts 8:9-11). People give glory to the miracle worker instead of to God. A similar miracle by Paul had that effect among the pagans (Acts 14:8-15). However, even Jews could be superstitious. Peter wasn't criticising their astonishment. They had every cause to be amazed. Peter was, however, making very sure that Jesus Christ, not Peter and John, got the credit and glory for this miracle.
¶ " 'The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up. You denied Jesus in the presence of Pilate when Pilate had decided to release him. Yes, you denied the holy and righteous one and instead you asked for a murderer to be released to you. You killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead which we witnessed.' "(Acts 3:13-15).
2 Preference for Murder
You denied and killed Jesus. Peter confronts the crowd with the same set of facts he preached on the day of Pentecost: Jesus had worked miracles among them, yet they denied him and had him crucified; but God raised him up (Acts 2:22-24).
Pilate Peter is not absolving Pontius Pilate from all guilt, but when Pilate was requested to release a murderer and to crucify Jesus, he was put under a lot of pressure to do what the crowd wanted, even though he didn't want it himself (Matthew 27:11-26).
¶ " 'It is by faith in the name of Jesus that this man, whom you recognize and know, was made strong. Faith that comes through Jesus has given this man perfect soundness in the presence of you all.' "(Acts 3:16).
3 Perfection of Healing
Perfect soundness When Jesus causes a miracle, he doesn't do it by halves. This man, lame from birth, was suddenly whole: his feet, ankles, and legs were perfectly strong and sound, and he could walk and leap as though he had been doing it since childhood. Take notice of this, because the “miracles” that some churches perform today do not match this standard.
Faith through Jesus Peter attributes this miracle to faith in Christ. But whose faith? Not that of the man born lame —he had expected to receive a coin. It was the faith of Peter and John, the faith they followed, that was behind this miracle. When healings fail today, the preachers say that the people being healed did not have faith. However, the man born lame was healed without himself having faith, and this miracle should be a paradigm or pattern or bench mark for genuine miracles today.
Was made strong There's another answer that healers give when their healings fail. I once saw a deaf man “healed” with much commotion. But he was still completely deaf. The healers said that they had faith that he was healed, and had been made whole from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. They implied that anyone who couldn't see this was blinded by unbelief! The people who saw the man born lame, believed he was healed because he was walking and leaping and praising God. He was made strong. They knew the man had been lame from birth and now was made perfectly whole. Again, this miracle should be a paradigm or pattern or bench mark for genuine miracles today. We should not have to believe someone “was” healed when the evidence says “was not”.
Whom you recognize and know Peter didn't tell stories of miracles in other places that happened to people unknown by the crowd. The healed man was there present before them; someone they recognized and knew. They knew he had been a lame beggar. They knew and saw first hand that now he was made whole. For the third time I say, this miracle should be a paradigm or pattern or bench mark for genuine miracles today.
¶ " 'Now brothers I know that you acted in ignorance, and so did your rulers. Nevertheless what you did fulfilled God’s prior announcement, speaking through all his prophets, that Christ should suffer.' "(Acts 3:17-18).
4 Prejudice Not Excused
Fulfilled God’s prior announcement We come here upon the problem of destiny and things foreordained. It was "by God’s predetermined counsel and foreknowledge" that Christ was crucified (Acts 2:23). Therefore, weren't those who had a part in it only doing what God had decided? How then can God blame them? We have to be careful not to fall into fallacy here. God was willing that Christ should suffer, and God predetermined and announced that Christ would die as a sacrifice for sin (Isaiah 53). However, God didn't compel anyone to take part in Christ’s crucifixion. They did so by choice. God knows what evil Satan will do, and God can plan a strategy to turn Satan’s evil against Satan. But God doesn't make Satan do the evil, nor does he make anyone help him.
Acted in ignorance Ignorance explains why Jesus’s own countrymen sent him to the cross. It does not absolve them from guilt. Nor was their ignorance justified. They knew, or ought to have known, that the prophets had foretold that the Messiah should suffer. How then could they be innocent of their part in bringing prophecy to pass? Their ignorance stemmed from prejudice and was without excuse.
¶ " 'So change your hearts and turn again, to have your sins blotted out, and then times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord' "(Acts 3:19).
5 Promise of Forgiveness
Repent and turn Repentance means a change of heart. But that should be followed by a change in the course of one’s life. You can intend to change. That's repentance. But you have to actually change as well, and make the turn around. That's conversion. Just as godly sorrow leads to repentance (2Corinthians 7:10), so repentance leads to a complete reformation of life. Peter calls for both a change of mind and a change of conduct.
Conversion and baptism. How does Peter’s command, "Repent and be baptized"(Acts 2:38) compare with his command "Repent and be converted"(Acts 3:19)? In baptism the old person is, by God’s grace, killed and buried with Christ and a new person is raised to life in Christ (Romans 6). Peter in commanding conversion was in no way contradicting or nullifying his command to be baptized, any more than in commanding baptism he was negating the need for conversion.
Times of refreshing In his previous sermon (on the day of Pentecost) Peter also commanded people to repent, and he promised them forgiveness of sins. He also promised them the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). If we map that verse on to this verse, we get the following:
Forgiveness of sins
Sins blotted out
Gift of the Holy Spirit
Refreshing from God’s presence
¶ "And the Lord will send Jesus Christ, who was preordained for you. But heaven must receive him until the times of restoration of all things. God spoke through his holy prophets about this too.' "(Acts 3:20-21).
6 Promise of Christ’s Return
The Lord will send Jesus Christ Here Peter is affirming what the angels said at Christ’s ascension: "This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, shall come in the same manner in which you have watched him go into heaven"(Acts 1:11).
Times of restoration Peter’audience would be thinking that he was talking about the restoration of Israel. Even Peter himself, with the other disciples, had asked Jesus, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"(Acts 1:6). Even teachers today are looking for a restoration of Israel on earth. But that isn't what God has in mind. "For behold I create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered"(Isaiah 65:17). Peter later wrote, "According to his promise, we look for a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells"(2Peter 3:13). There is a beautiful description in the latter visions of Revelation (Revelation 21:1-5).
¶ " 'For Moses told the fathers, From among your brothers, the Lord God will raise you up a prophet like me. You shall listen to everything he tells you. Every soul who fails to listen to that prophet will be destroyed from among the people. Moreover, all the prophets from Samuel onwards, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days.' "(Acts 3:22-24).
7 Prophecy Fulfilled
The prophets told of these days. (Compare verse 17). Many folk think that the Bible prophets spoke about the second coming of Christ and the “end times” preceding it. But Peter says the prophets, whilst they did fortell Christ’s second coming spoke mainly of "these days" in which Peter lived, and in which Christ had lived; had died; had been raised; and had ascended to heaven. Peter had no sense that what the prophets said would largely be postponed. It was fulfilled and people should now listen to Jesus.
A Prophet like Moses. Moses and Jesus were, unlike all other prophets, original lawgivers or mediators of God’s covenant (John 1:17,Hebrews 8:1-7). Christ’s superior law-covenant replaced that of Moses.
¶ " 'You are the children of the prophets. You are children of the covenant which God made with our fathers when he said to Abraham, In your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed. God raised up Jesus his servant and sent him first to you —to bless you by turning all of you from your wickedness.' "(Acts 3:25-26).
8 Providence of God
You are the children The people in the temple were mostly descendants of Abraham and of the prophets. God had kept a remnant for himself. They of all people should accept Jesus the promised “seed” whom God had sent to them. And the way they should accept Jesus is by turning from their wickedness.
First to you Peter concludes his message with this point: God has honoured the people of Jerusalem by preaching Christ first to them, before providing the message to the whole world. Surely, therefore, they should be the first to turn to Jesus and acknowledge him.