In Acts 3:1-10, the Apostle Paul’s friend and physician, Luke, says this:
“Now Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man that was lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked to receive . . . alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him, with John, said, ‘Look on us.’ And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘Silver and gold have I none; but what I have, that give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ And he took him by the right hand, and raised him up: and immediately his feet and his ankle-bones received strength. And leaping up, he stood, and began to walk; and he entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: and they took [note] of him, that it was he that sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.”
In this passage, Luke records the story of the crippled beggar, and the Apostles Peter and John’s encounter with him, which resulted in his healing, his joy and praise of God, and his appearance to the people of Jerusalem. This passage can be divided into 9 topics, each described by 1 sentence:
- the praying Apostles
- the pleading afflicted
- the petition for the apparitions
- the prescription for the afflicted
- the perception of the asker
- the prayer of an Apostle
- the prayer’s alleviation
- the power in the alleviated
- the people’s amazement
In verse 1, Luke describes the praying Apostles by saying that Peter and John, who were Apostles, or ones sent with the authority of the Lord Jesus the Anointed One, were going up to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem at 3 PM, which was the Jewish hour of prayer. Apparently, Peter and John were going to the temple to pray together, as well as to share the gospel, as they usually planned to do whenever they went to a public place, like Jesus, when He taught the gospel in the temple.
In verse 2, Luke describes the pleading afflicted. He does this by saying that a man who had been crippled, or unable to walk, from before he was born, was being carried, and was set down every day at one of the gates of the temple, called Beautiful, separating the Court of the Gentiles from the Court of the Women, to beg for money from those who were entering the temple. Why was he begging for money? Because he was unable, being unable to walk, to work for a living.
In verse 3, Luke describes the petition for the apparitions by saying that, when the crippled man saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he started to ask for money from them. I call this the petition for the apparitions because the direct reason that he was asking to receive money from them was because they were about to leave him, just as apparitions can disappear out of one’s sight quickly. He only had a very short amount of time to get their attention, so he directed his asking toward them.
In verse 4, Luke describes the prescription for the afflicted. Instead of giving the man money, Luke implies, Peter and John fix their gazes on the man, and Peter commanded him to look at them. Apparently, by the time Peter looked at the man, he had already stopped looking at Peter and John, as he was looking for other people from whom to ask for money.
In verse 5, Luke describes the perception of the asker in 2 ways. First, in obedience to Peter’s command, Luke says that the crippled man began to give Peter and John his attention by looking at them. Second, he says that he did this because he expected to receive something from them.
In verse 6, Luke describes the prayer of an Apostle by implying that, instead of giving what the man expected to receive — money — Peter told the man that he didn’t have any money, but that what he did have, he was about to give him — the ability to walk by the authority of Jesus the Supreme Prophet, Priest, and King, who was also from the unimportant town of Nazareth, from which it was unheard of that anything good ever came out of it — except for salvation.
In verse 7, Luke describes the prayer’s alleviation by saying that Peter grabbed the man’s right hand — the ancient Near Eastern hand of friendship — raised him up, and that immediately, his feet and his ankles were strengthened, so he was able to walk. Again, this miracle was done by the authority of Jesus, the Anointed One of Nazareth.
In verse 8, Luke describes the power in the alleviated. He begins by saying that the healed man leaped up, stood upright, and began to walk. Then, he says that he entered the temple with Peter and John by walking and leaping while he was praising God. These are proper responses to being healed of any affliction, especially the affliction of being spiritually dead and enslaved to sin: following the Apostles’ prayerful and evangelistic examples, rejoicing, and praising God.
Finally, in verses 9-10, Luke describes the people’s amazement. He says that all the people saw the healed man walking and praising God, and remembered that he was the one who used to sit at the gate between the Court of the Gentiles and the Court of Women of the temple to beg for money, and were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. What had happened to him? He had been changed from someone who was unable to walk, and was carried to a place to beg for money, to someone who was walking with the Apostles as they went to pray and share the gospel, who was rejoicing, and who was praising God.
So, do you pray daily and habitually?
Do you fix your gaze on crippled beggars when they ask you for money?
Do you give what you have to those who need it so they can follow the Apostles?
Are you friendly toward those who need a friend to help them follow the Apostles?
Are you following the prayerful and evangelistic examples of the Apostles, rejoicing in your salvation, and praising God for it?
Do you understand the greatest exercise of the authority of Jesus, the Anointed One of Nazareth? The Apostle Paul wrote about it this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what the Apostle John said about the gospel in John 1:1-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16 and 1:18-32:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
“. . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousnessof men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
Speaking of those that practice sin, the Apostle Paul uses this quote:
“. . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness . . .” – Romans 3:10-14
This is my appeal to you, as written by the Apostle Paul:
“. . . we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
This is how you become reconciled to God:
“. . . if thou shalt confess [acknowledge] with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [Greek: kurios, or Supreme in Authority], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him [depend upon Him]: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [who He is, what He has done, and what He can do] shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13