Have you ever wondered how the disciples were able to accomplish so much after Jesus returned to heaven? The answer is revealed in the story of Peter and John and the healing of the lame man. We read what happened because of that healing in Acts 3:11-26.
Jesus worked through Peter and the Holy Spirit to heal the lame man. Jesus had two main purposes for healing the lame man:
- He loved the lame man and released his healing power because of the compassion and concern in His heart.
- He wanted the people to know that the movement he started when he was on earth was continuing through His disciples, in whom He was living through the Holy Spirit.
Peter directed the attention away from himself and toward Jesus. We as Christians are encouraged to follow the same pattern.
Faith was the secret of the lame man’s healing, and it is the secret of unlocking all power in heaven and earth. That’s why Peter could heal the lame man. He had great faith and consequently great power. Peter wanted the people to receive the same gift of faith.
Faith is a response to Christ’s love revealed on the cross and in the Resurrection. Faith comes by hearing the truth. When we have faith, we receive Christ’s healing power through the gift of the Holy Spirit for our needs and those for whom He guides us to pray. Unless a prayer request glorifies Him, His name can’t be used nor the power released.
The Jews knew about miracles and could interpret them. They should have known that the miracle of the lame man’s healing came from God and not from man. Peter’s sermon was a call for the Jews to repent and accept Jesus as the Messiah. He told the Jews that they were responsible for Jesus’ arrest and death and that they needed to repent, even though Jesus was crucified because of the ignorance of the people. In the very city where his audience had crucified Jesus, Peter used the word “you” four times to confront them with the enormity of their sins. Before these people could repent, they had to see themselves as guilty before God.
Peter could have scolded the Jews for crucifying Jesus, but if he did he would not have reached their hearts. His goal was to encourage the Jews to repent, and that could only be done with tenderness, love and kindness. Love, not scolding, is the key to encouraging people to repent.
The main reason why the Jews crucified Jesus was that they did not know that He was the Messiah. Ignorance must be considered when looking at a crime, but the Jews did have an opportunity to know that Jesus was the Messiah. Peter reminded them that since these events were predicted in the Old Testament, they had hope in God’s mercy, especially since they were living under grace just like we are living under grace today.
In Acts 3:22 and 23, Peter quoted Moses, the hero of the Israelites. Moses said in Deuteronomy 18:15,18 and 19 that God would raise up a prophet. That prophet was Jesus. The New Testament is the glorious revelation of the Old Testament shadows that mysteriously forecast the coming of the Saviour. Peter showed that he preached the same Messiah and God that the prophets proclaimed.
Peter told his audience that he knew that they and their leaders had killed Jesus in ignorance and Jesus appealed to the Father in Luke 23:24 not to hold their sin against them. Their sins could be blotted out if they would only repent and be converted.
It’s one thing to admit our mistakes, and another to actually be willing to turn to God. If we are willing to accept Christ as our Saviour, God’s grace will be enough. He will wipe away our sins. He will restore us and our relationship with Him.
Peter promised three results of repentance:
- Forgiveness of sins.
- Times of refreshing. People will be refreshed in their Spirits when the Holy Spirit comes to live within them.
- Christ will return and establish His kingdom on earth. The earth will be renewed beyond the abundant and productive state it had before Adam and Eve’s fall.
Every sermon in the Book of Acts is built around the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the sermon we heard in the reading from Acts is no exception. If Christ is not resurrected, then His death is meaningless.
Countless people who place their faith in Christ say that their first and most evident emotion is the sense of having a burden lifted from them. The idea of repentance applies to us today. The Scriptures state that if we do not hear God’s Word and repent, we will be destroyed. We have a choice, and we should choose the offer of mercy and embrace the Messiah. If we do, we will receive the same power of the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we will also be able to accomplish so much for the Kingdom while we are here on earth.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 1491-1492)
- ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.
- Ogilvie, L.J. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 28: Acts (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1983; pp. 81-86)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Version (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Dr. Tony Evans, “Do You Need to Change Your Expectations?” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- “Repentance.” Retrieved from Oneplace@crosswalkmail.com
- Richard Neill Donovan, “Exegesis for Acts 3:12-19.” Retrieved from www.sermonwriter.com
- Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.