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Acts 3

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

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Verses 1-10

Act 3:1-10


Acts 3:1-10

1 Now Peter and John were going up into the temple—This miracle is selected from among the many miracles that the apostles wrought because it brought the apostles into conflict with the authorities ; opposition and persecution started at this time; this miracle led to the arrest of the apostles, which was the beginning of a religious persecution as relentless, bloody, and violent as any that is known in the history of the church. “Peter and John” are now associated, and went up “into the temple at the hour of prayer.” Peter and John were sent together to prepare the Passover meal (Luke 22:8); they were together at the sepulcher (John 20:3); they were together fishing after the crucifixion (John 21:7); and John helped Peter to get into the palace of the high priest (John 18:16). Again they were together now going into the temple at the ninth hour, “the hour of prayer.” “The ninth hour” was about three o’clock, according to our count, in the afternoon. These apostles continued to observe the hour of prayer according to the law of Jewish worship; it also furnished them the occasion to preach to the people who came to worship at that hour.

2-3 And a certain man that was lame—It was customary for the afflicted and maimed to be placed near the place of worship; this was especially true when they depended upon public charity for their living. People were more liberal when going to worship or at worship, and these unfortunates, with their friends, took advantage of the situation. This lame man was born with some malformation of his ankles or feet; he was unable to walk and his friends carried him and placed him “daily at the door of the temple” ; hence, he was a well-known and familiar character. He was placed at the “gate” or “door” that “is called Beautiful.” There were nine gates used as entrance into the court, four, respectively, on the north and the south, and one on the east side; the west side had no gate. A part of the court was called the “court of women” to distinguish it from “the court of men.” It is thought that this gate “called Beautiful” was an entrance which led from the “court of the Gentiles” to the “court of the women.” This is the only mention in the Bible of. the door which is “called Beautiful.” When the lame man saw “Peter and John” as they were about to enter the temple, he “asked to receive an alms.” “Alms” is singular number, and was in early times spelled “almesse”; the beggar simply asked for “a gift” or “gifts.” At this time he knew nothing of Peter and John except that they were Jews and had come to the temple to worship.

4-5, And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him,—Peter and John looked at the lame beggar; they looked with such a gaze that it would attract attention; then Peter said to him: “Look on us.” This emphasized his attention on the apostles. He expected “to receive something from them.” The expectation had been aroused by their gazing upon him and the command for him to look upon them; he naturally expected to receive some gift. He desired to receive something and this desire helped to heighten his expectation. The serious and earnest manner of the apostles confirmed his expectation.

6 But Peter said, Silver and gold have I none;—The apostles had no worldly wealth; they were endued with power to perform miraculous cures. They could use this power “in the name of Jesus Christ”; hence, they commanded him to “walk.” Peter and John had no money; the possessions which had been sold did not belong to the apostles; such things were used for the common welfare and not for the personal use of the apostles. “Walk” is from the original “peripapei,” and has the idea of to begin to walk and then go on walking; the beggar is thus commanded to do that which he had never done in his life. Peter was willing and anxious to give him what he could. We do not know how much time had passed since the day of Pentecost, and it is probable that this was not the first miracle that Peter had wrought. (Acts 2:43.) Peter speaks as one who has had experience; his language is firm and carries assurance. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” is a common phrase and connects the Christ with the Jesus of Nazareth. According to John’s account, the name “Nazareth” was included in the title of the superscription on the cross (John 19:19); we know that the place was of no repute in the eyes of the Jews (John 1:46). The obscure origin as well as the shameful death of Jesus was a stumbling block to the Jew. There were other people named “Jesus”; there was but one “Jesus of Nazareth.”

7 And he took him by the right hand,—He was encouraged by the extension of Peter’s hand, and as it was grasped by the right hand of the lame man, Peter raised him to his feet. It seems that Peter had to pull him up on his feet before he would attempt to walk. Luke was a physician; and he uses words that a physician would use; he knows how a physician would deal with his patient and he gives one of those minute coincidences which go to prove that Luke the physician was the author of the Acts. The lame man “immediately” began to walk as “his feet and his ankle-bones received strength.” Here again we see the physician’s description of the incident. Some think that it should be “the soles of his feet” received strength.

8 And leaping up, he stood, and began to walk;—Again Luke gives a detailed description of the exercises that he took; he leaped up; then he stood for a moment and gained his equilibrium, then he began to walk. The progressive steps show the progress that he made. As he was assured that he could walk he went into the temple. The man had been lame from birth and did not know how to walk; it seems that he began by a jump, then a walk and went into the temple repeating the new exercises, and praised God. He was so joyful over the fact that he could walk that he “walking, and leaping,” went to the place to praise God. He did not go into the holy place of the temple, as only priests had access to it. He was thankful for the blessing and was now ready to worship God.

9-10 And all the people saw him walking—This was the hour of prayer in the afternoon; many people had assembled or were coming to the temple for worship; they observed the man and knew that it was the one that they had seen begging at the gate. This miracle showed that the apostles had the power to heal; the man who had been healed did not praise the apostles, but God; he gave God the praise for his being able to walk. There was abundance of witnesses to testify that he had been healed; they saw and could not deny that which they saw had been done. This would beget respect and confidence in the apostles as the witnesses for Christ. Everyone believed that this man who was now walking and leaping about the temple courts was the same person as the cripple; there was no charge of pretense or deception about the healing; there were too many witnesses, too many knew the facts about the deformed man for anyone to question the fact of the wonderful cure. This filled the people with wonder and amazement. It was a sign from heaven as the Jewish rulers on a former occasion had demanded of Jesus. (John 6:30.) The conduct of the man clearly showed that he was now perfectly healed.

Verses 11-26

Act 3:11-26


Acts 3:11-26

11 And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran—In his gratitude he held to Peter and John; he would not let them go. These apostles had been the agents through whom he had received the blessing; he wished all to know to whom he was indebted for his great blessing. While he kept near Peter and John, and as the people looked upon the man that had been healed, they must also behold Peter and John. This would draw attention to Peter and John. In the amazement of the occasion the people gathered or literally “ran together,” and assembled “in the porch that is called Solomon’s.” Solomon’s porch was on the east side of the temple; it was a covered colonnade and was named for Solomon; it over-looked the Kedron valley. Some think that it was built by Solomon, hence its name. The people assembled here to see what would further occur, and see the men who had wrought such a miracle.

12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people,—When the people assembled, this gave Peter an audience, and he began at once to preach to them. He had the attention of the people, because the man who had been held was before them. He made three chief points: (1) the miracle was the work of God to glorify Jesus; (2) the Jews denied Jesus from ignorance, but he fulfilled the prophecy; (3) therefore they should repent and be saved by the gospel. He addressed them as “men of Israel”; this was a respectful address. He then interrogated them as to the cause of their astonishment. He claimed no credit for what had been done, and did not want them to think that they had healed the man by their own power and godliness. It is noticed that Peter includes John in his speech. This denial that Peter makes clears the way to ascribe unto God all honor and glory.

13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob,—God had revealed himself to Moses as “the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob.” (Exodus 3:6.) Peter by mentioning these patriarchs stirred reverence in their hearts; this was a good way to begin his sermon. It was the very God of the patriarchs who had sent Jesus of Nazareth, and the same God who had glorified him. Jesus is mentioned here as “his Servant Jesus.” This phrase occurs in Isaiah 42:1 Isaiah 52:13 about the Messiah except the name “Jesus,” which Peter adds; many think that this should be translated “child.” Perhaps there were some in the audience who had cried out against Jesus: “Crucify, crucify him.” Hence, the charge that they had “delivered up, and denied before the face of Pilate.” We learn here that Pilate “had determined to release him.” It is clear from Luke 23:16-20 that Pilate had determined to release Jesus, but the multitude was persuaded by the rulers to ask Pilate to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus. (Matthew 27:20; Mark 15:11-14.) Hence, the charge that Peter brought against them.

14-15 But ye denied the Holy and Righteous One,—These Jews understood that this had reference to the Messiah. (Psalms 16:10.) The demoniacs called him by this title. (Mark 1:24.) In prophecy he is also called “the Just,” or “Righteous One.” (Isaiah 45:21; Zechariah 9:9.) A sharp contrast is here drawn between what the Jews did to Jesus and what God did to him; they “killed the Prince of life,” but “God raised” him from the dead. Frequently we have this contrast brought out by the apostles; they denied Jesus, but God owned him; they crucified him, but God raised him from the dead. If the resurrection could have been denied, they would have done so. They could not deny the crucifixion of Jesus, neither could they deny the resurrection. The apostles were witnesses to this fact.

16 And by faith in his name—By faith in the name of “the Prince of life” “hath his name made this man strong.” The man was not healed by the faith of the apostles, but by the faith of the apostles and the faith of the man. The apostles had faith in Jesus; they had faith in his power, and that he would give them power to heal the man. The man had faith in the apostles and in Jesus, for he praised God for his blessing. “Name” is equivalent to “power”; hence, “in the name of Jesus” is equivalent to “by his power.” This crippled man was above forty years old (Acts 4:22), and he must have heard of the miracles that Jesus did and those the apostles were then doing. (Acts 2:43.) Peter here insisted upon three things that proved a divine agency in the miracle: (1) their knowledge of the man’s previous condition; (2) the completeness of the cure; (3) the public, open manner of the healing ; it was done “in the presence of you all.”

17 And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance—Their ignorance is admitted; but their ignorance does not clear them of guilt. The Jews could have known that Jesus was the Messiah; they should have known that he was; but the fact still remains that they were ignorant of his divinity. Jesus while on the cross prayed: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.) Paul persecuted the church in ignorance, and he said: “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” (1 Timothy 1:13.) Their ignorance did not justify their crime, nor excuse them; but it was ground for calling on them to repent.

18 But the things which God foreshowed—All the prophets had foretold the coming of Christ; as the types under the law foreshowed the Christ, so the prophets pointed the people to the Messiah. Even the crucifixion was foretold; Christ frequently told his apostles that he would die for the sins of the world. Their crime, though real, was carrying out God’s purpose. (John 3:16; Acts 2:23 Acts 17:3 Acts 26:23.) Their crime in crucifying Jesus did not prevent the fulfillment of what God foreknew and foretold; in fact, their crime was foretold. Even in their ignorance and wickedness the Jews were contributing toward the fulfillment of the prophecy. Peter emphasized the fulfillment of the prophecies before this Jewish audience.

19 Repent ye therefore, and turn again,—Peter repeats in substance in this address what he had said in Acts 2:38. Note that Acts 2:38 is a parallel of this verse. There he had given evidence that Christ was the Son of God; they were convinced or believed his evidence; they asked what to do; Peter told them to repent and be baptized, in the name of or by the authority of Christ, unto the remission of their sins, and then they should receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Here he tells them to “repent” and “turn again” “that your sins may be blotted out,” “so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” In both statements, after they believed, they were commanded to “repent”; in the first they were told to “be baptized,” but in the second they are told to “turn again”; in the first they are told that their repentance and baptism were “unto the remission of your sins,” but here after repentance and turning again they are promised “that your sins may be blotted out.” Evidently the blotting out of sins is equivalent to the remission of sins, and being baptized is tantamount to turning again. “Blotted out” literally means “to wipe out, rub off, erase, smear out.” “Seasons of refreshing,” literally from the Greek, “anapsuxis,” “to cool again or refresh,” or “cooling, reviving with fresh air.” The “seasons of refreshing” depend on their repentance and turning again and having their sins erased or forgiven.

20 and that he may send the Christ—This verse has called forth much controversy. The coming of Christ the second time seems to be the meaning here. What would their repentance and turning again have to do with the coming of Christ ? Evidently the coming again of Christ, like the coming of the times of refreshing, depends upon their repentance and turning again; as people were converted, conditions would be more favorable for the coming again of Christ. Christ came the first time to redeem the world; his second coming will complete that redemption.

21 whom the heaven must receive until the times—This Jesus who is here promised to return must remain in heaven until the “times of restoration of all things/’ Peter has told them that this Jesus whom they had crucified had ascended back to heaven, and that now the heaven must receive and retain until the time for his return; the Messiah is to reign over God’s people until he returns. “Times of restoration” comes from the Greek, “apokatasta- seos,” and is a double compound word composed of “apo,” “kata,” and “histemi,” and is only used here in the New Testament; it seems to be a technical medical term, and means complete restoration to health. The first coming of Christ marked the beginning of the period of restoration, and the second coming marks the end of that period; all who are converted and live the Christian life reproduce the Christ life in his church until all things are ready for the final restoration. The scope or the prophecies included both the first and the second coming of Christ, and therefore included the period known as the “restoration” of all things. The prophecies were those mentioned by Zacharias in Luke 1:70; the writer there referred to such Messianic predictions as Psalms 111:9; Jeremiah 25:5-6 Jeremiah 30:10; Daniel 9:24-26.

22 Moses indeed said, A prophet shall the Lord God—This prophecy may be found in Deuteronomy 18:15-19, and Peter quotes it without many variations from the Septuagint, Greek version of the Old Testament; Moses was a lawgiver, leader, ruler, and deliverer, as well as a prophet; his prophecy had not been fulfilled. The Jews acknowledged that this had reference to the Messiah; they asked John the Baptist: “Art thou the prophet?” John answered that he was not; and they asked him then: “Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, neither Elijah, neither the prophet?” (John 1:21-25.) Here Peter identifies “the prophet” with the Christ; this is exactly what the Jews had done. The Messiah was to be one from among the Jews; he was to bring blessings to every nation on the earth. They should obey this prophet “in all things whatsoever” he should command them. Just as the children of Israel were to obey Moses, their deliverer, lawgiver, ruler, their leader, so the people now are to obey Christ as he is their Deliverer from sin, their Lawgiver, their Leader, their King, and Prophet.

23 And it shall be, that every soul that shall not hearken—Jesus said that Moses wrote of him. “For if ye believed Moses, ye would believe me; for he wrote of me.” (John 5:46.) The Jews could not obey Moses without obeying Christ, since Moses commanded them to obey the prophet that God would raise up from among them like unto him. The one who refused to obey this prophet, the Christ, should “be utterly destroyed from among the people.” This declares that God himself would visit punishment upon those who refused to accept Christ. It was plainly expressed in the law that an apostate Israelite should be cut off from the people. (Exodus 12:15 Exodus 12:19 Exodus 22:20; Numbers 19:13.) The New Testament language is that “shall be cast forth into the outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12); “shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). This expresses the fearful consequences of rejecting Christ.

24 Yea and all the prophets from Samuel—Samuel was not the first prophet in Israel; Enoch was the first prophet that we read about in the Bible (Judges 1:14-15); Samuel was the founder of the school of the prophets; hence, Peter says that “all the prophets from Samuel” and those who came after him “told of these days.” Samuel and every school of the prophets taught of the Messiah, and hence the days of which Peter now spoke. These prophets predicted the blessings or judgments that were to come, and especially the glories of the Messianic reign, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and “these days.” They could not reject Peter’s address without rejecting the Christ, and in rejecting the Christ they would be rejecting all of their prophets.

25 Ye are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant—The Jews were “the sons of the prophets,” and were members “of the covenant,” not in the sense of being lineal descendants of the prophets, but in the sense of being heirs to all promises, predictions, and blessings of the covenant. The promise here referred to was first made to Abraham (Genesis 12:3 Genesis 18:18 Genesis 22:18); and later to Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 26:4 Genesis 28:14). The prophet had arisen, of whom Moses had spoken, and all the promises made in the Abrahamic covenant belonged to these hearers whom Peter ad-dressed ; they were the heirs of the temporal blessings of this covenant and had access to the spiritual blessings through faith in Christ. The Abrahamic promise included “all the families of the earth”; this would include the Gentiles as well as the Jews, but as Peter’s hearers were Jews, special application is here made to them.

26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant,—Some translations have “his Son” instead of “his Servant.” The Greek is “tou paida autou,” as in verse 13, as the Messiah was God’s servant. This is in harmony with Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 12:18. The conclusion of the whole matter is that salvation will come to them through their faith in Jesus and their turning from sin. In this address Peter gave the evidence that the lame man had been healed by the power of Jesus whom they had crucified and whom God had raised from the dead; he has ascended back to the Father and there will remain until the restoration of all things. Peter bore a threefold testimony concerning Christ: (1) he is the power by which all miracles are worked (verses 12-17); (2) the redeemer of all souls (verses 18-21); (3) the fulfillment of all the prophecies (verses 22-26).

Questions on Acts

By E.M. Zerr

Acts Chapter 3

  • · Which of the apostles are now introduced?

  • · Into what building did they enter?

  • · State the importance of this building.

  • · At what time of day did they enter at this time?

  • · What institution made this hour conspicuous?

  • · Why should the apostles observe this hour?

  • · Who was carried to this place?

  • · From what time had he been lame?

  • · Was this his first appearance here?

  • · At what entrance was the man laid?

  • · For what purpose was he carried here?

  • · Did this consist in spiritual, or temporal things?

  • · To whom did he make a direct appeal?

  • · What was he told to do?

  • · State what he expected of them.

  • · Why should he expect only this?

  • · What was Peter’s condition financially?

  • · Tel! what general promise was first made to the man.

  • · What name did Peter then call over the place?

  • · State what the man was then told to do?

  • · What further assistance did Peter give him?

  • · Tel! what happened to the man.

  • · How much time did it require?

  • · What indicated the man’s genuine recovery?

  • · How did he show his gratitude?

  • · Who witnessed his activities?

  • · Did they recognize him?

  • · How were they affected at what they saw?

  • · What was wonderful about the circumstance?

  • · Describe the lame man’s attitude to the apostles.

  • · At what place did they then arrive?

  • · Who gathered here also at this time?

  • · What was their frame of mind?

  • · To whom were they disposed to give the credit?

  • · By whom were they corrected?

  • · What had God done for him?

  • · Of what did Peter accuse these people?

  • · Who is antecedent of last ’’he’’ in verse 13?

  • · Cite the account of this "determination".

  • · What had this people done towards the holy one?

  • · Who was the murderer of verse 14?

  • · Who is the Prince of verse 15?

  • · Of what life is he a Prince?

  • · How did he come to be alive now?

  • · Was this the God the Jews claimed to worship?

  • · Of what were the apostles witnesses?

  • · Was it ’’his name" or faith that healed the man?

  • · Identify the two ’’hims’’ of verse 16.

  • · What concession did Peter make the people?

  • · ’l’o what special class did he extend the admission?

  • · What things did Christ’s sufferings fulfill?

  • · Compare Acts 3:19 and Acts 2:38.

  • · When would their sins be blotted out?

  • · Who was to be sent from heaven?

  • · Would this be immediately?

  • · What must be fulfilled first?

  • · State the meaning of "world" in the 21st verse.

  • · What prophet does Peter then quote?

  • · Locate this prophecy.

  • · Of what people was the new prophet to be?

  • · Like whom must he be?

  • · What about those refusing to hear him?

  • · Was this, the only prophecy of this nature?

  • · What significance by beginning at Samuel?

  • · Of whom and what were these people the children?

  • · Give the central thought in this promise.

  • · How was the risen Christ to bless these people?

Acts Chapter Three

Ralph Starling

Jesus had promised Peter keys to the kingdom,

Chapter 3 records Peter’s use of them #1.

Now as Peter and James go to the temple to pray,

They meet a man lame his 1st day.

The man asked Peter and John for alms,

They replied that they had none.

But they did have what would make people talk,

In the name of Jesus, “rise up and walk.”

He leaped up and walked and people wondered,

“How could this be?” the people pondered.

Peter saw people here the gospel could reach,

So to these Israelites, their Messiah he preached.

Again he explained how their Messiah was slain,

And their sins could be forgiven thru faith in Him.

So, “repent and be converted and you sins may be forgiven.

You will be rewarded when the Lord returns from heaven.”

Peter continued that Moses and the prophets

Spoke of these days for man’s profit.

Thru Abraham’s seed all should be blessed,

Jesus was sent and you know the rest.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Acts 3". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/acts-3.html.
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