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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary
Acts 3

 

 

Verses 1-26

THE ACTS is an historical book, but it is not mere history. An immense amount of apostolic service is left unrecorded, and mention is made of just a few incidents which serve to show the way the Spirit of God operated in bearing witness to the risen and exalted Jesus, and in conducting the disciples into the fulness of Christian blessing. The book covers a period of transition from the beginning of the church at Jerusalem to the full ingathering from among the Gentiles.

This chapter opens with the healing of the man who, lame from his birth, lay at the Beautiful gate of the temple. As the next chapter tells us he was above forty years old—the complete period of probation had been fulfilled in him. The man had not been healed by the Lord Jesus in the days of His flesh, though He so frequently taught in the temple; but he was healed by the power of His Name, now that He was glorified in heaven. Peter had neither silver nor gold, but the power of the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth he could wield, and the man was instantly healed in most triumphant fashion. Today many earnest Christian folk are mostly concerned about collecting the silver and gold for the support of the work of the Lord, and the power of the Name lies largely unused. This is to our reproach.

By reason of his deformity the lame man had lain under certain disabilities according to the law; now grace had removed his deformity and with it the disability, so that he could enter the temple with freedom; and holding on to the Apostles there was no hiding those who had been the instruments of his deliverance. This gave Peter the opportunity of testimony. He at once put himself and John out of the picture, in order that the glorified Jesus might fill it.

Peter’s boldness is remarkable. He charged the people with their denial of “the Holy One and the Just,” though he himself not many weeks before had denied his Lord. They had had before them “the Prince [Author] of life” and “a murderer;” that is a taker of life. They killed the One, and chose the other; yet He, whom they killed, God had raised from the dead, and thus they were caught in red-handed rebellion against God. Moreover this

“perfect soundness” has been granted to the lame man in the power of His Name, through faith. They could not see the glory of Jesus in heaven, but they could see the miracle wrought in His Name upon earth. The soundness on earth was linked with the glory in heaven.

Verse Acts 3:17 shows that God was prepared to treat their dreadful crime as a sin of ignorance—as manslaughter, for which a city of refuge is provided, and not as murder. This was a direct answer to the prayer on the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” By their sinful act God had accomplished His purpose as to the suffering of Christ, and hence there was still an offer of mercy for them as a nation. That offer Peter made, as recorded in verses Acts 3:19-26 of our chapter. Everything hinged upon their repentance and conversion.

Whether Isaiah 35:6, Isaiah 35:7, was in Peter’s mind as he spoke about “the times of refreshing,” we cannot say, but it does seem as if it must have been in the mind of the Spirit who was speaking through him. When “the lame man” shall “leap as an hart,” then, “in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” But all this refreshing predicted by Isaiah is for “the ransomed of the Lord.” and for no others. Hence only repentance and a complete turning round would bring such times; if that took place God would send Jesus Christ to bring them to pass.

The term, “restitution of all things,” has been misused in the service of the idea that God is going ultimately to save and restore everybody—even the devil himself. But the passage reads, “the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken...” It is things, not persons, and things which from the outset He had spoken by His prophets. God is going to make good every word, and to establish in Christ everything which has broken down in the hands of men. That time will not come till Jesus Himself comes, and since He is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke, all things will be brought to an issue when He does come, and everyone who disregards Him will be destroyed from among the people. There will be a time of blessing established, the like of which has not been since the world began.

In these words, then, Peter made the definite offer on God’s behalf that if at this point there was repentance and turning to God on a national scale, Jesus would return and establish the predicted times of blessing. In the last verse of the chapter he also added that, whatever their response was, God had raised up Jesus to bless them in turning them from their sins. These two things we all need: first, the judicial blotting out of our sins; second, to be turned away from our sins, so that they lose their power over us.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Acts 3:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/acts-3.html. 1947.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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