Acts 3:1-6 The Lame Man Healed

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I.                   Introduction

a.       Setting - the Jewish time of prayer and the temple sacrifice was a time of the greatest audience.

                                                              i.      The time of the apostles’ visit was the “ninth” hour, three in the afternoon, i.e., the hour of prayer. It was also the time of the evening Tamid, one of the two sacrifices held daily in the temple.[1]3 These had become prescribed times of prayer, and people would come to the temple at the sacrifice times to observe the ceremony and pray. The largest crowds would thus have been found at the times of sacrifice, as Peter and John must have been well aware; for they went to the temple for prayer and for witness.[2]

                                                            ii.      Background for the Jews and the late time of the beggar’s presence - the Rabbis taught that worship, Torah and almsgiving were Jewish pillars of faith.  Begging for alms was probably productive for this man.

                                                          iii.      The man sat before the Corinthian bronze gate which was simply known as the beautiful gate.  Though it was not gilded in gold it was a fine piece of craftsmanship and massive - here he sat.

                                                          iv.      The man had been excluded from the temple system because he was lame and blemished therefore he could not enter in to worship.

b.      The People - Peter and John were together which probably is related to Jesus' command to go out in twos

                                                              i.      If this is so, then the disciples had already developed their mission and strategy for reaching Jerusalem.

Likewise, they must also have been making plans to scatter to all reaches of the world.  They may not have been able to comprehend how they would accomplish their task.

3 Josephus recorded that the two daily sacrifices took place in the morning and at the ninth hour (Ant. 14.65; cf. Num 28:4). There also was a third time of prayer, probably at sunset. See O. Holtzmann, “Die Taglichen Gebetsstunden im Judentum und Urchristentum,” ZNW 12 (1911): 90–107. [1]Polhill, John B.: Acts. electronic ed. Nashville : Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1992 (Logos Library System; The New American Commentary 26), S. 125

I.                   Exposition - Acts 3:1-6

a.       vs. 1:  John and Peter are going to prayer at the normal hour.  There is nothing particularly remarkable about this event.  In light of Acts 2:41-47 they must have been going to minister and worship with the brothers in the Temple courts.

b.      vs. 2:  The man was lame and could do no more than beg.  He was well known to all the people and friends or family carried him to his spot.

                                                              i.      As in the earlier structure Luke continues to use passive verbs and present participles.  Here the usage seems to say that the Lame man was at the gate for divine purposes. 

                                                            ii.      He is probably considered cursed either for the sins of his parents or his own since he is lame

c.       vs. 3.  The man asks for the basic provision he needs for survival.  He was certainly not the only beggar at the temple gate.  He asked expecting some temporary balm for his suffering.

                                                              i.      Our world is asking for temporary healing because that is all it knows or expects.

d.      vs. 4.  Peter and John gave the ignored beggar all their attention.  They commanded his attention.

e.       vs. 5.  This seems a qualifier for what is coming next.  Peter and John stopped to mind the man's request but not to meet his physical need nor to give him what he asked

                                                              i.      What faith it must have taken for Peter and John, having heard the voice of the Spirit on their soul, to command this healing

                                                            ii.      The man responds by giving the two his full attention amidst the crowd and hustle.

f.       vs. 6.  What the man asks for is inferior to what he needs.  Peter and John have no money nor do they have any prestige.

                                                              i.      So much for the blessing of God being financial.  God's work is fundamentally focused on His glory not on wealth, financial stewardship, or physical healing.

1.      Though the healing happened the focus of the healing would be revealed later

2.      Wealth and healing are short sighted objectives since eventually death overtakes all things gained in this life.  Peter and John offer eternal life.

                                                            ii.      Peter and John did not perform the miracle and they did not give him anything other than the opportunity for eternal life.

1.      Jesus is the command authority for what Peter and John are doing

2.      ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Ναζωραίου[1]  The Name of Jesus was used to invoke the power and authority by which the Apostles were acting

                                                          iii.      ἐστερεώθησαν passive form here for - to make strong.  His ankles were made strong by God.  He was the passive agent of God's power.

1.      Two imperatives in this verse are the direct commands

a.       ἔγειρε Rise Up

b.      περιπάτει  Walk around

2.      This man was commanded - the verb is εἶπεν "to speak"

II.                Themes presented by the Text and Background

a.       Two men are following the command of Jesus to go together as they minister

                                                              i.      Lk. 9:1-6 the men were commanded by Jesus to go out and heal the sick and cast out demons as they preached the word of God in the villages.

                                                            ii.      They were participating in the "while going make disciples" commission of Jesus

b.      The Holy Spirit is prompting the Work of evangelism

                                                              i.      Jesus' name was invoked for the performance of the miracle

                                                            ii.      The Spirit heals the man so many will be saved (v. 10)

c.       The Spirit's work is often different than what we ask for

                                                              i.      When we ask do we request the will of God

                                                            ii.      Are we asking for the powerful work of God?

d.      The people were arriving for worship and God really moved.

                                                              i.      We must expect the presence of God

                                                            ii.      We must expect God to use us on the way (i.e. while going)

e.       The authority of Jesus' name is what accomplishes the strengthening of the man's ankles.

                                                              i.      Some will miss the miracle

                                                            ii.      Some will believe because of God's work but none will believe unless they receive Christ.

                                                          iii.      Some, like fools, will claim the authority to drive out demons or heal sickness for themselves.  This is not how the name of Jesus is to be used.

f.       What we offer is life eternal in the name of Jesus, nothing material or physical.

                                                              i.      Health and wealth, word of faith is invalid

                                                            ii.      The gospel is not a ticket to perfect health or easy living.


III.             Application - This Sermon

a.       We are to be aware of the work of God's Spirit as we are going.

                                                              i.      The great commission is focused on the continual act of going and preaching the gospel. - dual doctrine and fellowship emphasis

                                                            ii.      We do not promise easier living or a solution to the struggles of life

1.      The gospel is functional but not pragmatic - it’s worth is innate rather than dependent on the change it brings.

2.      The gospel is for salvation of man to be co-heirs with Christ - people are asked to become children of God rather than benefactors of God's benevolence.

                                                          iii.      Those along the path of our life are placed there for their own eternal need and for the needs of others

1.      If God does miraculous work it is for the purpose of the audience who hears of the work.  The miracle is gospel intended.

2.      God speaks to the audience at hand.  To the Jews who regarded miracles he spoke through miracles, to the Greeks he spoke through logic and reason.

b.      The results of the Holy Spirit's work is often beyond our expectation

                                                              i.      Our anticipation of God's work is directly associated with our prayer time

                                                            ii.      Anemic prayer time leads to poor anticipation of God's work

1.      Consistent prayer time is itself the anticipation of God's powerful work

                                                          iii.      The Holy Spirit's work requires us to have the faith to speak the truth believing that what we say must be rooted in the command of God - prayer is necessity

c.       Our spiritual wealth is what we have to give to this world

                                                              i.      Spiritual wealth is given by means of Jesus Christ

                                                            ii.      The preaching of the gospel is foremost even before the financial giving

                                                          iii.      Our church is marked by the power of the Holy Spirit's testimony through the witnesses.  If that witness does not exist something is wrong.

IV.             Illustration

a.       Blank, label-ess tin can with either dog food or vegetables in it.


[1]Aland, Barbara ; Aland, Kurt ; Black, Matthew ; Martini, Carlo M. ; Metzger, Bruce M. ; Wikgren, Allen: The Greek New Testament. 4th ed. Federal Republic of Germany : United Bible Societies, 1993, c1979, S. 327

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