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Bible Commentaries
Acts 3

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

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Verses 1-2

The Lame Man at the Beautiful Gate

Peter and John, who once had been partners in the fishing business, are depicted by Luke as going to the temple at the ninth hour, which was one of the hours of prayer. There were at least 2, and some say 3, hours of prayer during a given day. The first was at 9 a.m. and the second 3 p.m., or the third and ninth hours of the day. The apostles may have gone up to the temple at the ninth hour both to pray and to have an opportunity to speak to others about Jesus.

No matter what their purpose, an encounter with a man who had been lame since the time of his birth, more than forty years previous to the time of this occurrence (4:22), gave them a wonderful occasion to preach the gospel. The lame man was lain each day at the temple gate, which was called Beautiful, to ask alms from those entering in to pray ( Act_3:1-2 ). Josephus seems to be describing this gate in Book 5 chapter 5:3 of Wars of the Jews, when he says, "its height was fifty cubits; and its doors were forty cubits; and it was adorned after a most costly manner, as having much richer and thicker plates of silver and gold upon them than the other." The other gates were all just 30 cubits, or 45' high.

Verses 3-10

"What I Do Have I Give You"

As Peter and John approached him, the lame man asked them to give him alms. Both apostles looked at him and Peter asked him to look at them. The beggar turned expecting to receive some money, but Peter immediately informed him they did not have silver nor gold. Imagine the disappointment the lame man must have felt when he heard those words. However, that low was turned into an emotional high when Peter healed him under the authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. When Peter pulled him up by his right hand, the lame man felt strength come into his ankles and went walking, leaping and praising God into the temple.

It should be observed that the lame man expressed no faith in the apostles' ability to heal him. In fact, he only asked them for money. As Luke records it, the lame man did not even try to stand up, but was pulled to his feet. Also, it is good to note that the miracle was undeniable. Everyone recognized this man as the lame man who had daily lain at the Beautiful gate begging for alms. They were amazed that they now saw the formerly lame man standing before them. Some within the audience may well have thought of Isa_35:6 , which refers to the future glory of Zion by saying, "Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert" ( Act_3:3-10 ).

Verses 11-18

Preaching In Solomon's Porch

With the now healed lame man holding onto each of them, it was natural that a crowd would gather around Peter and John. Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak, seized the opportunity to preach about the great healer, Jesus. The crowd looked at them as if they had somehow worked this miracle, but Peter instantly turned their attention to "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers," and the glorified Jesus, His Son. They had delivered, denied and killed the "Prince of life." God, in his turn, had raised him from the dead, a fact which Peter and John had personally witnessed ( Act_3:11-15 ).

The lame man had been healed in the authority of Jesus. Because of the apostles' complete faith in their Lord's ability to make men whole, a great miracle had been performed. The recognition of that miracle by those Jews now gathered around Peter and John would have forced them to recognize Jesus as King. Further, many would have readily seen that meant they had crucified God's Anointed. Peter says they did what they did because they did not fully understand. He also noted everything followed the precise plan God had laid out so long before the events took place ( Act_3:16-18 ).

Verses 19-26

A Call To Repentance

On the basis of the great miracle worked in their midst and the undeniable fact of Christ's resurrection, Peter appealed to the multitude to turn from their sinful lives and be converted, or transformed. A simple comparison of this verse with Peter's statements in Act_2:38 reveals that conversion takes place in the waters of baptism. Since one coming up out of the watery grave is made to walk in newness of life, it would certainly be reasonable to call the effects of baptism a conversion. Further, the transformation comes in the form of the sins of the obedient one being erased ( Act_3:19 ; Rom_6:3-11 ).

On Pentecost, Peter said those following his instructions would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, described here as "times of refreshing," which would certainly be the result of receiving the Comforter. The Holy Spirit had Peter go on to say that when Jesus' work in salvation was completed, then God would send Jesus again to reclaim his own. Until that time when salvation was fully accomplished, as the prophets had foretold, Peter said Jesus would remain in heaven. Of course, those who refused God's saving grace will be punished, as Moses said ( Act_3:20-23 ; Deu_18:15-19 ).

As children of Israel, those in Peter's audience should have been aware of the numerous prophecies about the coming Messiah, from Samuel through John ( 2Sa_7:12-16 ). They had benefitted from God's covenant with Abraham and should also have been familiar with the promise that the whole world would be blessed through the seed of Abraham. Paul told the Galatian brethren this specifically referred to one son of Abraham, Jesus ( Act_3:24-25 ; Gal_3:16 ). The Jews, or sons of Abraham were the first to hear the gospel, just as Christ commanded ( Luk_24:46-48 ; Rom_1:16 ). Jesus had come, not to restore a physical kingdom to Israel, but to bring salvation from sin. The fact that the Jews were to be the first to hear the gospel clearly implies others would also hear in the future. We know this same apostle, Peter, would play a significant role in the beginning of that proclamation too ( Act_3:26 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Acts 3". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/acts-3.html. 2014.
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