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Commentaries For Acts 3

  • Chapter 3

    A lame man healed by Peter and John. (1-11) Peter's address to the Jews. (12-26)

    Verses 1-11 The apostles and the first believers attended the temple worship at the hours of prayer. Peter and John seem to have been led by a Divine direction, to work a miracle on a man above forty years old, who had been a cripple from his birth. Peter, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, bade him rise up and walk. Thus, if we would attempt to good purpose the healing of men's souls, we must go forth in the name and power of Jesus Christ, calling on helpless sinners to arise and walk in the way of holiness, by faith in Him. How sweet the thought to our souls, that in respect to all the crippled faculties of our fallen nature, the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth can make us whole! With what holy joy and rapture shall we tread the holy courts, when God the Spirit causes us to enter therein by his strength!

    Verses 12-18 Observe the difference in the manner of working the miracles. Our Lord always spoke as having Almighty power, never hesitated to receive the greatest honour that was given to him on account of his Divine miracles. But the apostles referred all to their Lord, and refused to receive any honour, except as his undeserving instruments. This shows that Jesus was one with the Father, and co-equal with Him; while the apostles knew that they were weak, sinful men, and dependent for every thing on Jesus, whose power effected the cure. Useful men must be very humble. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name, give glory. Every crown must be cast at the feet of Christ. The apostle showed the Jews the greatness of their crime, but would not anger or drive them to despair. Assuredly, those who reject, refuse, or deny Christ, do it through ignorance; but this can in no case be an excuse.

    Verses 19-21 The absolute necessity of repentance is to be solemnly charged upon the consciences of all who desire that their sins may be blotted out, and that they may share in the refreshment which nothing but a sense of Christ's pardoning love can afford. Blessed are those who have felt this. It was not needful for the Holy Spirit to make known the times and seasons of these dispensations. These subjects are still left obscure. But when sinners are convinced of their sins, they will cry to the Lord for pardon; and to the penitent, converted, and believing, times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord. In a state of trial and probation, the glorified Redeemer will be out of sight, because we must live by faith in him.

    Verses 22-26 Here is a powerful address to warn the Jews of the dreadful consequences of their unbelief, in the very words of Moses, their favourite prophet, out of pretended zeal for whom they were ready to reject Christianity, and to try to destroy it. Christ came into the world to bring a blessing with him. And he sent his Spirit to be the great blessing. Christ came to bless us, by turning us from our iniquities, and saving us from our sins. We, by nature cleave to sin; the design of Divine grace is to turn us from it, that we may not only forsake, but hate it. Let none think that they can be happy by continuing in sin, when God declares that the blessing is in being turned from all iniquity. Let none think that they understand or believe the gospel, who only seek deliverance from the punishment of sin, but do not expect happiness in being delivered from sin itself. And let none expect to be turned from their sin, except by believing in, and receiving Christ the Son of God, as their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.



    1-11. Peter and John--already associated by their Master, first with James ( 1:29 , 5:37 , 9:2 ), then by themselves ( Luke 22:8 ; and see John 13:23 John 13:24 ). Now we find them constantly together, but John (yet young) only as a silent actor.
    went up--were going up, were on their way.

    2. a certain man lame from his mother's womb--and now "above forty years old" ( Acts 4:22 ).
    was carried--was wont to be carried.

    4, 5. Peter fastening his eyes on him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed--that, through the eye, faith might be aided in its birth.

    6. Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee--What a lofty superiority breathes in these words!
    In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk--These words, uttered with supernatural power, doubtless begat in this poor man the faith that sent healing virtue through his diseased members.

    7. And he took . . . and lifted him up--precisely what his Lord had done to his own mother-in-law ( Mark 1:31 ).
    his feet--"soles."
    and ankle bones, &c.--the technical language of a physician ( Colossians 4:14 ).

    8. leaping up, stood . . . walked . . . entered the temple walking, leaping, and praising God--Every word here is emphatic, expressing the perfection of the cure, as Acts 3:7 its immediateness.

    9. all the people saw him, &c.--as they assembled at the hour of public prayer, in the temple courts; so that the miracle had the utmost publicity.

    10. they knew that it was he which sat for alms, &c.--(Compare John 9:8 ).

    11. the lame man . . . held, &c.--This is human nature.
    all the people ran together unto them in the porch, &c.--How vividly do these graphic details bring the whole scene before us! Thus was Peter again furnished with a vast audience, whose wonder at the spectacle of the healed beggar clinging to his benefactors prepared them to listen with reverence to his words.

    12-16. why marvel at this?--For miracles are marvels only in relation to the limited powers of man.
    as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk--Neither the might nor the merit of the cure are due to us, mere agents of Him whom we preach.

    13. The God of Abraham,
    hath glorified his Son Jesus--rather, "his Servant Jesus," as the same word is rendered in Matthew 12:18 , but in that high sense in which Isaiah applies it always to Messiah ( Isaiah 42:1 , 49:6 , 52:13 , 53:11 ). When "Son" is intended a different word is used.
    whom ye delivered up, &c.--With what heroic courage does Peter here charge his auditors with the heaviest of all conceivable crimes, and with what terrific strength of language are these charges clothed!

    15. killed the Prince of life--Glorious paradox, but how piercing to the conscience of the auditors.

    16. his name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, &c.--With what skill does the apostle use the miracle both to glorify his ascended Lord and bring the guilt of His blood more resistlessly home to his audience!

    17-21. And now, brethren--Our preacher, like his Master, "will not break the bruised reed." His heaviest charges are prompted by love, which now hastens to assuage the wounds it was necessary to inflict.
    I wot--"know."
    through ignorance ye did it--(See marginal references, Luke 23:34 , Acts 13:27 , 26:9 ).

    18. that Christ--The best manuscripts read, "that His Christ."
    should suffer--The doctrine of a SUFFERING MESSIAH was totally at variance with the current views of the Jewish Church, and hard to digest even by the Twelve, up to the day of their Lord's resurrection. Our preacher himself revolted at it, and protested against it, when first nakedly announced, for which he received a terrible rebuke. Here he affirms it to be the fundamental truth of ancient prophecy realized unwittingly by the Jews themselves, yet by a glorious divine ordination. How great a change had the Pentecostal illumination wrought upon his views!

    19. when the times of refreshing shall come--rather, "in order that the times of refreshing may come"; that long period of repose, prosperity and joy, which all the prophets hold forth to the distracted Church and this miserable world, as eventually to come, and which is here, as in all the prophets, made to turn upon the national conversion of Israel.

    20. he shall send Jesus Christ--The true reading is, "He shall send your predestinated (or foreordained) Messiah, Jesus."

    21. until the times--embracing the whole period between the ascension and the second advent of Christ.
    restitution of all things--comprehending, probably, the rectification of all the disorders of the fall.

    22-26. a prophet . . . like unto me--particularly in intimacy of communication with God ( Numbers 12:6-8 ), and as the mediatorial Head of a new order of things ( Hebrews 3:2-6 ). Peter takes it for granted that, in the light of all he had just said, it would be seen at once that One only had any claim to be that Prophet.
    him shall ye hear in all things, &c.--This part of the prediction is emphatically added, in order to shut up the audience to the obedience of faith, on pain of being finally "cut off" from the congregation of the righteous ( Psalms 1:1 ).

    24. foretold of these days--of Messiah; all pointing to "the time of reformation" ( Hebrews 9:10 ), though with more or less distinctness.

    25. Ye are the children . . . of the covenant--and so the natural heirs of its promises.
    in thy seed,

    26. God, having raised up--not from the dead, but having provided, prepared, and given.
    his Son Jesus--"His Servant Jesus"
    sent him to bless you--literally, "sent Him blessing you," as if laden with blessing.
    in turning away every one of you from his iniquities--that is, "Hitherto we have all been looking too much for a Messiah who should shed outward blessings upon the nation generally, and through it upon the world. But we have learned other things, and now announce to you that the great blessing with which Messiah has come laden is the turning away of every one of you from his iniquities." With what divine skill does the apostle, founding on resistless facts, here drive home to the conscience of his auditors their guilt in crucifying the Lord of Glory; then soothe their awakened minds by assurances of forgiveness on turning to the Lord, and a glorious future as soon as this shall come to pass, to terminate with the Personal Return of Christ from the heavens whither He has ascended; ending all with warnings, from their own Scriptures, to submit to Him if they would not perish, and calls to receive from Him the blessings of salvation.

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