About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapters 3
3, verse 1 states.
"One day Peter and John went up to the temple
at the time of prayer Ė at three in the afternoon".
It would be interesting to know how soon after the Day of Pentecost
this event took place, but we donít know.
thing we do know is that Luke tells us that Peter and John "went up
to the temple at the time of prayer".
This tells us a couple of things.
It tells us that these men still practiced their Jewish tradition.
The Jewish day began at six in the morning.
When the Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost, it was nine
in the morning.
At nine in the morning would have been the first time of prayer.
The times of prayer were every three hours.
The Holy Spirit came to earth at the first time of prayer.
At three in the afternoon was another time of prayer, when Peter
and John went up to the
Concerning these times of prayer, Jesus was hung on
the cross at nine in the morning, the first time of prayer.
Jesus died at three in the afternoon, the third time of prayer.
This helps confirm what I've said over and over again.
God does things at specific times for specific reasons.
I don't believe anything is random when it comes to the things He
does. Each thing He does has a
specific time and is for a specific reason.
though Peter and John were now Christian Jews as of Pentecost, they were
still very much Jewish in their thinking.
Their salvation theology had not really been developed as they
2 tells us that as Peter and John were approaching the temple, at the gate called Beautiful.
A crippled man was asking for money.
This gate appears to be one of the more spectacular of gates
entering the court yard of the temple. It
had the largest columns, and according to its name was very beautiful. It's
not entirely known exactly what gate is being talked about here.
The general consensus is that it was on the eastern side facing the
and John had just arrived at this gate at the same time the crippled man
was carried and set down to beg, as was his custom.
This obviously was not the first time this man had been at this
gate, and it was not the first time that Peter and John were at this gate,
but for one reason or another, Peter took note of him. Maybe it was the
prompting of the Holy Spirit, which would be new to Peter.
asking Peter and John for money in verse 3, Peter and John look straight
at the crippled man in verse 4.
In verse 6 Peter said, "Look at us.
Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk".
At this moment Peter reached out his right hand and helped the
crippled man up.
Immediately the man's feet and ankles gained in strength.
All three men walked into the courtyard of the
is a thought for any "Prosperity Gospel" teacher who might be
Note that Peter and John had no money, yet I think they were very
blessed in the Spirit.
Think this through a bit.
Peter was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. He
had been away from his job for seven plus weeks.
His money was probably gone.
He has just lost a month and a half worth of income.
He was honest when he said he had no money.
that Peter specifically told the man whose name he was being healed by.
It was "Jesus Christ of Nazareth".
The crippled man would have surely known and heard of the events
that had recently happened in Jerusalem
concerning the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
Then beyond that, he would have seen or heard what had happened on
the day of Pentecost.
Peter, along with all the early apostles made it very clear to
those hearing the gospel what Jesus was being preached.
should be just as clear today, but in our modern church I don't think
we're so clear.
Many Christians are fuzzy in their thinking concerning the basic
truths of Scripture, which as far as I'm concerned have been neglected of
the rest of this section we note that all of those around who had seen
this miracle were astonished.
They had known this man to be a beggar and a cripple, and now he
was up jumping and dancing.
This was the first recorded miracle that the disciples performed in
the "name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth", as Peter put it.
and John were given authority by Jesus.
They represented Jesus on earth since Jesus was not on earth in
physical form on earth to represent Himself.
They were at that gate in the place of Jesus since Jesus could not
So in Jesusí place, Peter reached out and healed this man.
This is what "in the name of Jesus" really means.
"In the name of Jesus" is more than words or is more than
a formula attached to a prayer.
It is acting in the place of Jesus here on earth because He has
given us the responsibility and authority to do so.
This is why Peter didn't pray to ask Jesus if he should lay hands
on this beggar for healing.
This is why Peter didn't pray, "Jesus heal this man".
Peter simply said, "Be healed".
You might ask, "Who healed the crippled man"?
It was Peter, but Peter, in Jesus' name, authority, and power.
would have thought that this miracle would have produced lots of good
things in the Jewish community in
11 tells us that Peter, John, and the once crippled man began to leave the
12 says, "When Peter saw thisÖ" he took the opportunity to
preach the gospel. Once again,
it was Peter who took the lead in the verbal proclamation of the gospel.
It appears, as in Acts 2, that Peter was the spokesman.
Luke does not say that John spoke any words here.
verses 12 and 13 Peter asks the question, "men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why
do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this
man walk? The God of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant
Jesus." Peter is linking
Jesus to the God of
might expect that Peter would view Jesus in such Jewish terms.
One might expect him to preach that Jesus relates the God and
Father of the Lord Jesus Christ to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, since he had
not yet fully understood that Gentiles could now be part of the family of
God through faith in Jesus. His
understanding would be illuminated in Acts 10.
That being said, I believe what Peter is about to say here is
inspired by the Holy Spirit. So,
when it comes to Replacement Theology, here in Acts 3, we still see that
God is associated with Israel
and the Jews. He has not
disowned them as Replacement Theology teaches.
words "has glorified His servant Jesus" in this verse link Jesus
to God. In John 17 Jesus uses
the word "glorify" a lot in His prayer to God His Father.
In context, when Jesus speaks of being glorified, He is speaking of
a very special union that He only has with the Father.
That is why I say what Peter and John are saying here concerns the
Deity of Christ, and the Jewish leaders would have realized this.
to this, Peter connects Jesus to the God of Israel, that is to say, the
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He
wants his listeners to know that Jesus was sent by their God.
He was not a foreign pagan God.
Thus, they should pay attention to what Jesus had to say.
Eventually it was this claim that got Peter and John in trouble.
They would have been better off if Jesus had not associated Himself
with the God of Israel, but this was not the case and could never be the
case. Jesus can't deny who He
is, and we cannot deny it either. While
on earth, Jesus was God in human flesh.
makes it clear that he and John had no power or special godliness that
could cause such a miracle to happen.
It was all a result of Jesus, the one they "handed over to
Pilate and disowned", even though Pilate was willing to release
is very bold in his words, something else that got him into trouble.
In verse 14 he told the crowd, "you disowned the Holy and
Righteous One Ö you killed the author of life".
This is quite an accusation for Peter to make, yet how true it was.
Such boldness shows what the Holy Spirit can do in the life of the
believer. What Peter was doing
here was standing up for truth no matter the cost, and for Peter, the cost
was great. We should be as
out the fact that the Jews handed Jesus over to the Romans was something
that Peter mentioned many times in the book of Acts.
It was a re-occurring point that he wanted the Jews to know, but as
he said on the Day of Pentecost, Jesus' death was God's will.
see in verse 15 that Peter does not leave Jesus dead in this his second
sermon. He says that God
raised Him from the dead and that he and others are witnesses to this
fact. Again, Acts 1:8 is
coming true in what Peter is saying here.
He is a witness to the resurrected Jesus.
term "author of life" in verse 15 is interesting.
I think Peter understood Jesus as being the author of life because
it is clear from John 1:1 through 4 and elsewhere that Jesus was part of
the creation process. In
Genesis 1, every time it says, "and God said", speaks of Jesus
Himself, the "logos of God", or, the "Word of God".
Jesus was that word spoken by God as seen in John 1:1.
verse 16 Peter says outright that the crippled man was made better because
of Jesus and faith in Him. Faith
simply means to trust. What
Peter is saying is that he trusted Jesus to heal this man as he spoke the
word of healing to him. It is
in the "name of Jesus" this man was healed, Peter says.
The authority that Jesus gave Peter to represent Him on earth and
trust in Him made this man whole. As
I've said before, the phrase "in the name of Jesus" means that
Peter represented Jesus to this crippled man, and as Jesus'
representative, Peter could speak the word of healing to him.
verse 17 Peter softens his remarks by saying, "now brothers, I know
that you acted in ignorance." Peter
had just told them that they "killed the author of life", but
now he says that they did this in ignorance, that is to say, they really
did not understand what they were doing. That being said, ignorance of the
law is no excuse. It's my
opinion based on what I read in the Old Testament prophets that ignorance
is no excuse. God brought
judgment on Israel
and other nations as seen in the Old Testament who were clearly ignorant
of His commands.
thinking that the Jews killed Jesus in ignorance, it makes me wonder if
they would then have a legitimate excuse for their actions.
To make sure that they did not have a valid excuse, the apostles
preach the gospel to the Jews who handed Jesus over to Rome. The Jews had a chance to
repent before the apostles would turn to the Gentiles.
verse 18 Peter goes on to say that their killing of Jesus was actually a
fulfilling of prophecy. Many
Old Testament prophets said that the Christ must suffer, and suffer He did
at the hands of both the Jewish and Roman authorities.
The Jews of that day failed to see and understand the prophecies of
their suffering Messiah. They
only saw the prophecies concerning their ruling and powerful Messiah.
should understand that the Jews throughout the past, and even until now,
are waiting for the King Messiah to come and rule Israel.
When Jesus came and died on
the cross, that did not fulfill their understanding of prophecy.
When Jesus came into
though these people killed Jesus in ignorance, Peter tells them in verse
19 "to repent and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped
out". Once again, you see
the importance of repentance. Repentance
is the first step in salvation. One
must take this first step before successfully taking the next, which in
this case would be faith, or trust in Jesus.
is the act of turning from you life of sin.
It's more than changing your mind about your sins as many
Evangelicals think. One who
repents walks away from a life of sin.
This doesn't mean sin will not bug you and haunt you, because it will.
Once you walk away from sin, the Christian life is all about being
transformed into a new creation.
stated here in verse 19, when one truly repents "his sins will be
wiped out". A personís
sins will not be held against him on the Day of Judgement if true
repentance and faith is found in him.
"Will be wiped out" are words of forgiveness.
Our sins are wiped out of God's records.
There's a Biblical principle here that states there is no
forgiveness of sin without repentance.
Repentance must precede faith or there is no forgiveness.
need to note here that Peter is telling his audience that they need to
repent from sins of ignorance, not just sins they knew they committed.
This tells us something about the justice of God and how He views
sin. Sins of ignorance are in
the same boat as sins willingly committed.
Sin is sin, whether we know it is sin or not.
one repents, his sins are blotted out of Godís books.
This is not the end of the matter.
Peter goes on to say, "that times of refreshing might come
from the Lord". What does
this mean? I interpret this to
mean the refreshing of the Holy Spirit.
Some may not agree with me on this point but as Peter says in Acts
2:38, once one has repented and trusted Jesus, he receives the gift of the
Holy Spirit. The same sequence
should be seen in this verse, that is, repent, believe, sins are forgiven,
then receive the Holy Spirit, which in this verse is suggested by the
words "time of refreshing".
Those who have received Godís Spirit could easily agree with
Peter and say along with him that the Holy Spirit brings times of
verse 20 we see the words "so that He (God the Father) may send the
Christ". Our sins a
forgiven; we are refreshed by the Spirit, so that Jesus will come to us.
this is the picture Peter paints here.
Repent Ė your sins will be wiped out Ė times of refreshing Ė
Jesus will come to you.
21 has stirred up some controversy over the years.
It says, "He (Jesus) must remain in Heaven until the time
comes for God to restore everythingÖ"
Some say that this verse means the
verse does not say any such thing. Read
it carefully and you will see that Jesus "must remain in Heaven until
the time comes for God to restore everything". It
does not say "Jesus must remain in Heaven until all things are
restored", as many interpret it to say.
Do you see the difference? God
restores all things at the return of Christ, and not before.
Peter says it pretty clearly. I
believe that part of this restoration process is the restoration of Israel
to world prominence which will
take place at the return of Christ, and only then.
During the thousand year rule of Christ, and I believe also on the
new earth, Israel
will be the most important nation on earth as a direct result of the
the restoration spoken of here was prophesied long ago by the holy
prophets. If you read and
understand the prophets, the most important part of restoration is the
restoration of Israel
to what she was always meant to be. We're
not talking about the restoration of the church in this verse as
Replacement Theology teaches. We're
talking about the restoration of Israel
at the end of this age.
need to view this part of Acts 3 in its context.
Peter is speaking to Jews, not Gentiles.
He has just spoke about how the Old Testament prophets predicted
the restoration of all things. If
you do a careful study of the restoration prophecies, you will note that
they all predict the restoration of
verse 22 Peter quotes something that Moses says to Israel
to back up his point. The
intent of what Moses said is that God would raise someone up from among
verse 23 Peter says that if any Jewish person does not listen to Jesus, he
will be cut off from Godís people. Godís
people thus become those of faith in Jesus, and not merely a people based
on descending from Abraham.
is what Paul says in Romans 9 through 11.
No longer does simply being a descendent of Abraham make you a true
child of God. You must listen
to Jesus. Thus, this would
include anyone on earth, even Gentiles, something that Peter really
didnít understand as he spoke these words. All
that being said, and I won't get into it here, God still has plans for His
chosen people Israel. Israel
still has prophetic and historical significance in the mind of God.
Paul explains all of this in Romans 9 through 11as well.
He ends the discussion with the point that all
verse 24 Peter says that all of the prophets have spoken of these very
days in which he lived. These
are the days where forgiveness of sins can be found through repentance and
faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. These
are days where the Holy Spiritís indwelling presence can be known in the
often think that the prophets spoke only about the end of this age, but
that's not true. The prophets
spoke about the earthly life, dead, and resurrection of Jesus as well.
Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are just two well known passages speaking of
Jesus, the suffering Saviour.
verse 25 Peter says, "You are heirs of the prophets and the covenant
that God made with your fathers".
Those listening to Peter were primarily Jews.
It was the Jews that were heirs of the prophets and Abraham.
Peter was acknowledging the specialness of the Jewish race.
God took Abram out of the pagan Gentile world in order to create in
his descendents a special nation that was meant to be priests of God to
the nations of the world.
speaks of the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1 to 2 and confirmed in
many other passages in the book of Genesis and beyond.
God promised Abraham that his descendents would be great and number
as the sand of the sea. God
also told Abraham that one of his descendents would be very special and
would bless the world. You can
refer to my web site concerning the Abrahamic Covenant where I have
written extensively about it. Peter
was telling these Jews that Jesus was the one God spoke to Abraham about.
Jesus was the one that would bring blessing to the world if the world
would accept His blessing.
verse 26 Peter says that God raised Jesus up and sent Him to the Jews
first to be a blessing to them. Peter
said that the Jews would be blessed first once they turned from their
sins. Simply put, sin
interferes with the blessings of God.
There's no doubt about that.
John, in his gospel account, tells us that Jesus came to His own. (John 1:11) Then beyond this, when the Spirit came in Acts 2, He came to the Jews only. God, as Paul says many times, puts the Jew first and the Gentile second because of the very Abrahamic Covenant that we've just briefly touched on. The sending of Jesus, and the sending of the Spirit, came first to the Jews, to bless them. This would soon change because Godís plan has always included blessing for all of mankind, all ethnic peoples. This blessing began to be seen in Acts 8 when the gospel was first preached to Samaritans. Samaritans were half Jews and half Gentiles, both by religion and by race. So, it would only seem fitting for the gospel to be preached first to Samaritans before it was preached to Gentiles. Then, in Acts 10, Peter preached the first gospel message to Gentiles, who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit into their lives.
The Biblical principle can be seen in this phrase; "to the Jew first and then to the Gentile". See Romans 1:16 and 2:9 Ė 10.