In 3:1-26 we have Peter’s second message to the Jews. Verses 1 through 10 describe the healing of a lame man, and verses 11 through 26 record the actual message given by Peter.
Acts 3:1 says, “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.” We have pointed out that in the initiation of God’s New Testament economy, the early believers and even the first group of apostles were not clear that God had forsaken Judaism with its practices and facilities, including the temple. For this reason, according to their tradition and habit, they still went to the temple.
The early believers were not clear concerning God’s New Testament economy with respect to the Judaic temple. Not even the early apostles had a clear vision concerning God’s abandonment of the Judaic things. Hence, even after God’s pouring out the Spirit upon them on the day of Pentecost to initiate a new dispensation, they still did not separate themselves from the Judaic temple. At the initial stage God tolerated their ignorance in this matter. But this led to a mixture of the church with Judaism, a mixture that was not condemned by the early church in Jerusalem (see 21:20-26). Eventually the temple was destroyed by Titus with his Roman army in A.D. 70, as prophesied by the Lord in Matthew 23:38 and 24:2. That destruction cleared up the religious mixture.
When Peter and John, who were about to go into the temple, saw a certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb, they gazed at him and said, “Look at us!” (3:2-4). The man “paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I have, this I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk! And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and his feet and ankles were instantly made strong” (vv. 5-7). Peter did not possess silver and gold, but St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome was constructed with a superabundance of gold. He did not have silver and gold, but he had the name, the Person, of Jesus Christ. He was poor in silver and gold, but he was rich in Christ. The Roman Church is filled with gold, but not with the Person of Christ. She is rich in gold but poor in Christ.
In speaking to the lame man, Peter told him to walk in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene. “Nazarene” indicates the One despised by the Jewish leaders (John 1:45-46; Acts 22:8; 24:5).
Peter and John did a miracle, and the people paid their attention to it. But in his speaking Peter turned the attention of the people from the miracle to a Person, to the Lord Jesus. Although Peter and John had performed a miracle, Peter did not talk about the miracle. Instead, he used the miracle as a basis to turn his audience to Christ. He turned the people’s attention from the healing to the Healer.
Peter’s message was based on the miracle of the healing of the lame man. However, it was not Peter’s burden to talk about divine healing. Rather, his burden was to propagate Christ. He was burdened to speak forth Christ, to speak out Christ.
Peter’s burden was to speak Christ directly into others so they may become Christ’s propagation to be His living members in order that Christ may have a Body on earth. Pentecost is for the propagation of Christ, not for miracles, wonders, signs, and divine healing. All those things are minor. Even though a lame man was healed through Peter and John, Peter’s emphasis was not on healing but on the name of the Lord Jesus. First, Peter said to the lame man, “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” Then in his message he went on to say, “By faith in His name, His name has made this man strong, whom you behold and know” (v. 16). Therefore, Peter did not preach divine healing or miracles; he preached the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Although Peter turned the attention of the people from the healing to the Healer, today Christians who emphasize healing often direct people’s attention from the Healer to healing, even a false healing. Many of the so-called healings in Pentecostal meetings are not genuine. After the lame man was healed, “he stood and walked and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God” (v. 8). This was a genuine healing. Nevertheless, Peter directed the people to the Healer, to the Lord Jesus. We also should turn our attention away from healing to the Healer.
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