Acts 3 = Healing and Preaching
Bible Background: Luke (author of Acts) shows us a scene-after the day of Pentecost-where Peter and John heal a crippled man and then get to explain how this could happen! The apostles are picking up where Jesus’ ministry left off. They also help the audience wrestle with scripture, God’s promises over time, and how Jesus could have been sent by God and yet be crucified!
Digging Deeper: 1. Peter and John, as observant Jews, go to the Temple to pray. Friends of a crippled man carry him to the Temple where he can beg for handouts-likely his only means of support. Peter tells the man they have no silver and gold to give, but what that can offer is healing in the name of Jesus! Wow! Peter takes him by the hand, raises him up, and immediately the guy can walk! He immediately goes “walking and leaping and praising God!”
2. This kind of healing requires some explaining! How can this be? This presents an opportunity for Peter’s 2nd “speech” in the book of Acts. He basically says, “This healing shouldn’t be such a surprise, and we can’t take credit for it. This is a result of what God has been doing all along: promising to send his servant, Jesus (whom, by the way you people had killed!) God raised him from the dead, and it is in the name of the risen Christ that your crippled neighbor stands before you healthy and whole!”
3. Important note: Peter is a Jew, speaking to his fellow Jews. He calls them ‘friends’. He is not blaming the death of Jesus on a whole race of people. He is blaming it on human sin and ignorance, of which there is plenty to go around! And he is then challenging these listeners to “repent and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out!” We’re not told how the people respond to this appeal. We do learn that this speech gets Peter and John arrested by the authorities!
4. Let’s pick up on a few things:
+The “Author of Life” (v.15) is a perfect title for Jesus. Not only has he defeated the power of death, he is the source of life. Remember how Jesus says (in the Gospel of John) “I am the way, the truth, and the life!” What does it mean to you that we are offered life in Jesus’ name? How would you describe that life to someone who is searching for a new path in life?
+You acted in ignorance (v.17) is a word of grace-even if ignorance is not always a good excuse. The opportunity here is to learn from mistakes, and to see and be part of what God is up to in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Peter’s invitation is not to remain ignorant (or arrogant), but to re-orient your life towards God!
+In the early Church lives were changed and people were amazed because these otherwise ordinary men and women gladly shared, and fearlessly proclaimed the Good News of Jesus-the One sent by God. What are we doing today, with the Spirit’s help, to change lives? To point people to the power and presence of the risen Lord?