#07 (Acts 3)The Miracle at the Gate Called Beautiful
In the studies to follow, to keep from getting bogged down in minutiae (trivial details), I will comment largely on areas that show how the early church developed in her doctrine and vision. (My comments will be on portions. You will need to view the Scriptures under discussion.)
In this study we will view the entire 3rd chapter of Acts. This is Acts07 (Acts 3) The Miracle at the Gate Called Beautiful.
It would benefit you to read this entire chapter before beginning the study.
You through? Ok, let's begin:
The Hour of Prayer
Vs1: "Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer."
It was time for the evening offering. (The hours of prayer were the 3rd, 6th, and 9th.) The 9th hour was the evening sacrifice. Peter and John were not going to the temple as participants in the sacrifice, but rather to continue their testimony to Jesus as Messiah.
Keep in mind the following:
(1) The early believers were very Jewish. They did not consider their new covenant worship as being separate from Israel. To them it was the fulfillment of Israel's hope.
(2) The temple figured strongly in the heart of all Jewish people, believers or no. Herod's temple was the pride of Israel. When the sun touched its white marble covering, light would shine forth in all directions. The temple was the heart and soul of Judaism. It defined what Judaism was, and to the Jewish people it spoke of the potency of their God.
(3) To continue the ministry of Jesus, the apostles must work in Jerusalem as long as possible. Jesus said, "You shall be My witnesses both in JERUSALEM, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Act1:8)
But He also said, "For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes." (John 12:35)
And again, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work." (John 9:4)
Darkness was going to overtake Israel. The message of Her Messiah must be proclaimed at every opportunity. Every Jew must be given the right to accept or reject Jesus Christ.
When the temple is later destroyed and the Jews taken as slaves into the nations, then they will weep bitter tears over Jerusalem.
Even Jesus wept over Jerusalem; "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'Blessed is He [Jesus Christ] who comes in the name of the Lord!'" (Matt23:37-39)
Note: We need to remind ourselves often that the Acts of the Apostles deals with a transitional time between covenants. The gospel must go to the Jew first. The old covenant people of God must be given every opportunity to receive Jesus as Messiah, before Jerusalem is destroyed, and all vestiges of the former covenant are removed from the earth.
The Acts of the Apostles closes with this sad quotation from the prophet; "Go to this people and say, 'You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.'" (Acts 28:26-27)
Notice that the closing of the eyes is something done on purpose by the Jewish leadership and many of the peoples. (To be covered later.)
Lame From His Mother's Womb
Vss2-10: These Scriptures describe the miracle healing of the man who had been lame from his mother's womb. Consider the following:
(1) The lame man was brought to the temple gate daily. The issue of receiving alms was not frowned on by the Jews. It was sort of the social security program of that day. The Jewish peoples were taught the joy of giving to the poor. You were expected to give, and neither were you permitted to make a poor person feel unworthy, or put a beggar to shame.
Moses instructed the people; "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks." (Deu15:7,8) The giving of alms was a major factor in Israel's religion.
(2) Peter and John had passed the lame man many times. It is even possible that Jesus saw him since He Himself came through this gate often. And, by the way, the Lord did not always heal everyone around Him. So what makes this healing of the lame man different?
It tells us that all true miracles originate in God Himself, and by His sovereign grace. The Holy Spirit led Peter and John to look on the man, and then to become the vessels through which the Lord would grant a notable healing. But this healing had a purpose with regard to advancing the kingdom of God's Son.
(3) Many times miracles are given for the testimony of Jesus Christ. The lame man was a well known figure at the gate called Beautiful. (Eastern Gate.) No one would be able to deny what had been done in the name of Jesus. The miracle was granted while the temple bustled with people.
(4) Also note that the miracle is taking place at the hands of the apostles. Once again it is the apostles that the Lord wishes to use in this manner, so that they can continue their testimony as eye-witnesses of the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification of Jesus Christ.
Vss11,12: "While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, 'Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?'"
This is a good place to stop and reflect. Notice the attitude of the apostles. Rather than let the peoples place them on some sort of pedestal, they instantly humbled themselves. This will always be a dominate trait of a true servant of God.
The Message of Israel's Messiah
Vss13-16: Peter once again brings attention to the message of Israel's Messiah. This message is a shortened version of the Pentecost message:
(1) "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him."
Peter places the guilt of the cross on the shoulders of the people. They must take account for the sufferings of Jesus, and for their rejection of Him as Messiah. There is no letting up on this issue. Jesus had told the Jewish leaders, "Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (John 8:24)
He says, "God has glorified His servant Jesus." The term for servant is equally translated 'child.' (Pais.) Is Jesus God's child? Yes, the term 'monogenes' (only one of His kind) is only applied to Jesus in the New Testament writings, with one time using Isaac as a type.
(2) "And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all."
This is ever so important. When Peter says it is "the name of Jesus," he is touching the heart of ancient Judaism. The name Yahweh was so holy to the ancient people that sometimes they referred to God as 'ha Shem.' (The Name.) Peter is using language that they understand. So, to say 'the name of Jesus,' there is a connection being made between the God of Israel and Jesus Christ.
Vss17-26: In these Scriptures, Peter begins to tone down the message to a point of encouragement. He tells them that both they and their rulers had acted in ignorance when they crucified Jesus. Peter also draws attention to the Old Testament prophets, in how they announced beforehand that God's Messiah would suffer.
How Redemption History Works
Here Peter also shares with them how redemption history will work.
Vs19: "Repent and return so that your sins may be wiped away." True Biblical salvation begins here. Without repentance there is no salvation.
... in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord..."
Peter is sharing how both believers individually and the church collectively will be given times of refreshings from the presence of the Lord, during our journey in this life. A true revival comes under this category.
Vs20: "...and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you."
This is a reference to the second coming. But there is a precious truth snuggled here that may not be obvious to all. The Jews yet have an appointment with Jesus. (Think about it.)
Vs21: "...whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times."
Restoration is the Greek word 'apokatastasis.' This is the only place it is used in the New Testament. It speaks of a complete restoration to health. As a Hebraic expression, or a Jubilee phrase, it directs attention to the millennium.
Vs22: Here Peter calls attention to the most beloved person in Israel's history, that is, Moses.
Moses spoke of God's Messiah. Who would not give heed to that Prophet would be cut off from among the people.
Vss24-25: Peter concludes his preaching with the statement of why God raised His Son; "For you first, God raised up His Servant (child) and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways."
This completes our 7th study. Feel free to share and ask questions.
Previous: #06 (Acts 2:37-47) Three Thousand New Believers
Next: #08 (Acts 4:1-12) Apostles First Confrontation with Temple Authorities
This study on
Acts was originally part of a
series on the book of Acts given to members of
Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003.
They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, Founder and Senior Pastor of
Christian Challenge International.