“The Power Witnessed”
- Before we get into Acts chapter 3 I would like to preface it with a verse back in Acts 1:8…But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
- One piece of information Christ gave to His apostles before His ascension was “…But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:”
- This “power” is what will be recognized and noted by the Jews in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and all over the world.
- This “power” given to the apostles was not going to be granted to bring judgment on those that didn’t do as the apostles asked as James and John suggested in Luke 9:54… “…Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?”
- You see, before Christ’s death on the cross the disciples were not ready to receive the power. I believe their training into apostleship was yet to be completed. Of course James and John being the “sons of thunder” had not matured spiritually yet.
- But now in Acts chapter 3 we will see the apostles start to use this “power” given to them of the Holy Spirit from God.
I. A Lame Man
A) Going to the temple
- Acts 3:1…Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
- As we already know, the ninth hour is 3:00pm.
- The Jews had 3 daily times to pray. (This did not include their meal time, even, or special prayers that were performed.)
- The other two times for prayer were at 9:00am and 12:00pm.
- Concerning their “daily prayers,” I am sure you remember what we had recently studied in Acts 2:46…And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47) Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
- Concerning their “power” given… I also believe that it would be safe to say that this miracle by the apostles is not the only one performed to give God the glory due Him.
- I will say that it is the only miracle at this point that Luke felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to write about. (I will elaborate more on this later)
B) A certain lame man
- Acts 3:2…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;
- I think it is interesting to note in this verse why Luke made sure that his readers would understand that there was no deception here about the man being lame. He stated that the lame man had been lame from birth.
- I mean this cuts Satan’s ploy off before it can grab root.
- I believe that if Luke would not have added this little tidbit of information, some bafoon somewhere at some point would say… “This guy being healed by Peter was a bogus claim to get people to follow this Jesus dude so therefore that guy was pretending to be lame.”
- I have been often criticized for giving too many details and therefore saying too much when little needs to be said. Well, I am like Luke and some of the other writers of God’s precious word. Details leave little room for Satan to twist it and ruin God’s work or glory.
C) The gate Beautiful
- Let us also look at the gate where the lame man was laid daily in Acts 3:2b… whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
- This gate was on the east side of the temple separating the “Court of the Gentiles” and the “Court of the women.”
- Verse 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; There are several things to note here…
- The man was lame since birth.
- His friends brought him “daily” to the gate.
- The gate of the temple was called “Beautiful.” Because this gate was made of Corinthian brass and very beautiful. The gate was also the one used by rich people to enter the temple and offer to the poor or lame that sat at the gate. (It would be further noted that this is the gate that the Pharisees used to show-off their giving of alms.)
- Also note that this temple was always filled to capacity at this particular “Hour of Prayer (the ninth hour).” The first prayer is at the third hour (9:00am), the second prayer was the sixth hour at 12:00pm, and the ninth hour of prayer which typically housed about 3,000 people was at the ninth hour (3:00pm).
II. The Healing of The Lame Man
A) Ask and ye shall receive
- Look at verse 3…Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
- Note the term…“asked an alms.”
- I don’t know for sure, but out of reading this verse I can’t help but perceive that Peter and John were not reaching for their pouch to give alms to this man so he asked them.
- I mean, this man sat daily at the temple gate and Peter and John must have known that they had to pass him to get in and would always be ready to give.
- It is also quite possible that Peter and John were ready to give alms to the lame man but felt convicted of the Holy Spirit to offer a better solution to his problem (being lame).
- Look at verse 4) And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
- Peter literally stares at the lame man and demands the lame man to look at him. You note that the writer of this book of Acts notes in verse 5) And he gave heed (paid special attention to) unto them (Peter and John), expecting to receive something of them.
- Now, the lame man may have learned over the years his alms givers traits that were consistent with certain movements or verbiage.
- When Peter spoke to the lame man, he made the lame man feel as though he was about to receive an alm(Presumably money).
B) The lame man receives an unexpected alm
- Look into verses 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.
- Peter told the man he had no gold or silver (Apparently what the lame man had been accustomed to receive) and was prepared to give the lame man something far better.
- This happened in an instant but I also believe that when Peter uttered the words “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” had to be somewhat hesitant because of all the rumors of the man called Jesus being a false prophet among the Jews, especially those in the priesthood.
- Peter then “took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”
- Peter was no physician nor did he claim to be.
- The key thing to note here is that Peter remembered the very thing that most Christians forget. What was that? The very words of Jesus in John 14:13…And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
C) The lame man overjoyed
- Look at verse 8) And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
- If I get the picture right, The lame man was in a sitting position, and leaped up in the air without hitting the ground, and when he did he began to walk.
- The very first thing he did with his feet was to follow those that led him to Christ.
- You see, Peter and John gave this lame man something that nobody else had given him. Something way more valuable.
- The man leaped like a frog all the way into the temple. Can you imagine Peter and John asking him to “Simmer down fella, you are embarrassing us.”
- This is exactly how a saved person should act. And you know something else? This is also exactly how a person should act after they have been to the altar to repent of their sin, or rededicate their life for Christ. “Leaping.”
D) Giving credit where credit is due
- Now note the very last 3 words of the verse “…and praising God.”
- Peter said “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” He did not say… “in the name of God, be healed.” He said “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”
- So, why did the lame man jump up and whoop and holler around praising God?
- First of all, because Jesus was a bad false prophet in his mind so he attributed his healing to God. This being said, was he wrong in giving praise to God? Of course not.
- In fact, what he did was exactly what Jesus said to do in John 14:13…follow the chain of command. Ask in Jesus name but give the glory to God. That is what Jesus did when He walked on this earth.
III. Peter Delivers A Sermon
A) A message that caused division (A sword)
- Look now at Acts 3, verses 12-26…
- I want to briefly hit these to set up our next point…
- Verses 9-11… many people were overwhelmed with the miracle of Peter.
- Verses 12-13…The very God you Jews serve (the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) glorified His son Jesus, whom Pilate released and you demand Him to be crucified is the same Jesus who healed this lame man.
- Verses 14, 15…You denied the Holy One, the Just One, to satisfy your blood thirsty hearts and killed the Prince of life that God raised from the dead for which we are witnesses of all the above.
- Verses 16- And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. In other words… This once lame man is living proof of what can be done when you ask “in Jesus name.”
- Verse 17… Peter said “I realize that you all did this in ignorance (as unlearned) even your rulers (Pharisees and scribes and Sadducees).
- Verse 18…Everything that the prophets of the Old Testament had claimed about the coming Messiah has been fulfilled (Completed).
- Verse 19…You need to REPENT, in order for Christ to remove them.
- Verses 20-25…Peter talks of the Millennial Reign of Christ for 1000 years.
- Verse 26… Peter again reminds them to REPENT… “in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”
- WOW! What a sermon. I mean, he chewed the fat right off their Holy ears.
- But now it’s just beginning to get more interesting.
IV. The Rulers Are Offended By Peter’s Sermon
A) Unrighteous anger
- You know what? There are numerous times I have preached and seen the expression on peoples faces thinking inside… “Ron’s crazy if he thinks I believe what he says.”
- This is exactly what the rulers thought.
- Now let us go to Acts 4:1…And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
- During Peter and John’s Sermon, these temple guards by order of the priests (Sadducees) that were there grabbed them and removed them from Solomon’s porch.
- You want to know the reason why these idiots removed the two apostles? The answer is in verse 2) Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
- Do you remember that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection from the dead? They just couldn’t fathom the idea that anyone could do that. That is why they will not be in heaven! If you do not believe that Jesus Christ can raise the dead or that God could raise Christ from the dead… Your hope is vanished, poof, gone.
- Now look to verse 3) And they laid hands on them (they took them into custody), and put them in hold (This is not jail, this was a holding area of the church much like a safe house) unto the next day: for it was now eventide (evening).
- I believe that this is the real reason for their silencing of the two preachers of Jesus Christ… Look at verse 4) Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
- Did you get that… 5000 men there heard and believed. That is a significant amount of believers.
- Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament said this… It seems probable that in this number of five thousand there were included the one hundred and twenty who are mentioned in Acts 1:15, and the three thousand who were converted on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:41. It does not appear probable that five thousand should have been assembled and converted in Solomon’s porch, (See Acts 3:11) on occasion of the cure of the lame man. Luke, doubtless, means to say that, up to this time, the number of persons who had joined themselves to the apostles was about five thousand.
- I believe that also in that figure of 5000 men may have been included the Sanhedrin which consisted of between 70 to 120 men.
B) The Court Hearing
- Look at Acts 4:5-10…Peter was bold! He was not a wuss. Not a sissy britches preacher.
- Acts 4:5…And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, 6) And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
- All the underlined people of the two verses above are what made up the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was also called “Great Council of the Nation (Israel).”
- Why were all these so-called religious leaders in an uproar? Why the special meeting at night? This was a time dedicated to prayer. They cancelled the prayer service and held this meeting. Wow pretty important huh.
- I’ll tell you why… It’s a four letter word called FEAR! They were afraid of losing their church members. Everybody (5000) was believing the apostles and their doctrine of the resurrection. They had to act quickly, and shut them up.
- Their so-called spiritual world was crashing around their ankles and they had to remove the problem. I mean, that is the pastors duty right? A pastor or priest sees troublemakers in the church and their first thought is to get rid of the problem.
- However, they were going about it all wrong. The reason for their wrong doing was that they did not hear Jesus when he laid the law out that God commanded in Matthew 18:15…
- Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. You have gained a brother in Christ because he repented of his sin, got his heart right with God.
- 16) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (two people are witnesses)
- 17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: (The church is the governing body which is supposed to address issues that get out of hand, and may also have someone in the membership that is able to shed more light on the subject at hand)
- “…but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” In other words…. Disown him as a Christian brother. Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus will have a desire to repent, have a desire to do that which is right in God’s eyes.
C) The court asks for their authority
- Now back in our text of Acts 4:7…And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
- Now in verses 8-12, we see….
- Verse 8… Peter is filled with the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) which gives people the boldness and words to say to defend God and His people.
- Verse 9, 10…Go ahead and examine this man today, and you will find that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth this man was healed.
- Verses 11, 12… Peter goes on to say that Jesus Christ is the stone that they wished not to include in their construction of the temple at Jerusalem. Our church has made Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone and “head” of the church.
- The last thing Peter says is that the church doesn’t save you from hell, And if I may elaborate…Peter then quoted Matthew 1:21 …And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
- It is HIS NAME that saves us, HIS BLOOD that redeemed us, and HIS RESURRECTION that gives us hope for eternity.
- Acts 4:13…Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
- Now don’t misunderstand this verse by thinking that Luke thought and wrote about their stupidity. In fact, it is quite the contrary.
- Their boldness and knowledge (or remembrance of what Jesus had taught them) came from the Holy Spirit. Luke knew that. But the Sadducees didn’t know that.
- The “key” part of this verse is that the Sadducees had observed the knowledge, speech, and behavior of Peter and John and recognized the same patterns of the man they knew as Jesus (Whom they crucified).
- Now the question is… “Do you have the same patterns?” I mean, can someone be with you for a few minutes and know right off that you are a Christian without you telling them?
- I also didn’t see anything written in this story where the Sanhedrin recognized Peter and John as Jesus’ apostles.
D) Proof In front of the council
- 14) And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
- The proof about the healing of this man was right in front of their sorry eyeballs and they couldn’t say anything against the disciples.
- Every member of the Sanhedrin had passed through the temple gate called “Beautiful” where this lame man sat “daily” as Luke put it. Every member of the Sanhedrin had given him money for over 40 years. Everyone knew he was lame. Everyone knew his condition before entering the porch of Solomon in the temple.
- Now, everyone sees his ability walk, leap, and dance the Watoosy. That is the reason they couldn’t say anything, because the “proof” was standing right in front of them. Thousands heard Peter’s words “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Now the man is walking. They could not deny FACT.
- The silly command of the Sanhedrin
- Now the religious leaders legs are shaking in their Roman sandals out of fear losing their patrons to the temple to this “false prophet (They called Him).”
- Look at verse 15) But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16) Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
- Now the $10,000,000 question for the Sanhedrin was… “What do we do with these guys?”
- Now I gotta tell ya folks, the Sanhedrin was not very bright. I mean their brains weren’t any more powerful than a 2 watt light bulb. Look at what they said in verse 17) But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
- REALLY? Come on guys, this is really bogus. They just said in verse 16 that all Jerusalem knew about it. And now they are going to ask that these 5000 men be silenced.
- You know good and well that you cannot muzzle the entire mouths of Jerusalem or any other city for that matter. It is impossible.
- Another idiotic command by the Pharisees…18) And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
- Now what are they going to do? Follow Peter and John all their life and make sure they are preaching and teaching as the Pharisees and Sadducees? How are they going to punish them if they do preach in Jesus name?
- 19) But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20) For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
- Peter and John both did the right thing here as we should note. We are to obey governmental authority under all circumstances except when it is contrary to God’s law or God and His deity. Peter and John knew they had to obey God and preach the word or truth.
E) All Glory be to God in the end
- 21) So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
- For everything that God has done in our lives no matter how small, we need to “glorify God for that which was done.”