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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
Acts 3

 

 

Verses 1-26

In this great work the apostles were not dealing only with large numbers. As Peter and John went to the temple, not to speak, but at the mid afternoon hour of prayer, they contacted a man lame from his birth, laid at the gate of the temple, who begged from them. Drawing the man's attention to them, Peter tells him he has no silver or gold, but will give what he has. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth the man is healed immediately of his lameness, and not only healed, but given strength to use limbs that had not before been so used. Of course this was absolutely miraculous, the man leaping up, standing, walking, entering with them into the temple, walking, leaping and praising God.

Notice, Peter had not called a healing meeting: it was a matter done personally outside, yet visible to all. The people too were well acquainted with the former condition of the man, so there could be no deception: they were filled with amazement.

When Peter healed the man, he doubtless had no thought of gathering a crowd by this means, but people gathered spontaneously, wondering at what had happened, and Peter took advantage of the occasion to speak to them, first of all disabusing their minds of any thoughts of exalting Peter or John. Admirably He speaks of "the God of Abraham, and of Isaac and of Jacob" (to whom all Israel gave highest respect) as having glorified His servant Jesus, whom Israel had been guilty of delivering up to death in spite of Pilate's having pronounced Him innocent. They knew Pilate's strong objection to condemning the Lord to death, and that they, the Jews, had demanded this.

They had denied the Holy and Just One, Israel's Messiah, and had chosen a traitor and murderer instead. But having killed the Prince of life, now they are faced with the fact that God has taken solemn issue with them in raising Him from among the dead. Of this the apostles were bold, decided witnesses.

Further proof that He is living, though absent, is the fact that His name has been the power by which the lame man had been healed, a man they knew. Peter, by faith, had used that name with such amazing results. It was not in Peter, but in the name of Jesus that tho power was. The man was presented, not only healed, but strong and in perfect soundness of health before them all.

When Peter voiced verse 17 he no doubt had in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). For sins of ignorance there was a sacrifice available for Jews (Leviticus 5:14). In fact, that sacrifice was accomplished by their Messiah at the very time they were guilty of crucifying Him. God had before declared this by His prophets. What they needed therefore was faith in this gracious Substitute, the one sacrifice to take away their sins.

In repenting of their former attitude toward the Lord Jesus, they would be converted to Him, having their sins blotted out. The verse ends with a promise, however, not "when," but "so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and He may send Jesus Christ, who was foreordained for you" (J.N.D.trans.). Jesus had returned on high because rejected by the Jewish nation. Yet if the nation itself would repent and be converted to Him, God was ready to send Him back to introduce the times of kingdom refreshing. Of course, this promise was given in perfectly good faith, yet at the same time God knew that the nation as such would not change their mind concerning Christ. However rebellious Israel was, God would give them full opportunity to repent. This is seen throughout these first chapters in Acts until Chapter 7, when the Spirit's testimony through Stephen is publicly and absolutely rejected by the nation. The heavens must receive Christ until the times of the restitution of all things prophesied throughout the Old Testament. How little did Peter, or those who heard him, realize that this might be delayed for about 2000 years!

The time of the restitution of all things of refers to "the world to come," the millennial age; but in the meanwhile Israel has continued in unbelief and the Gospel has spread out to nations the world over, adding great numbers to the church of God. God has overruled Israel's rebellion for the blessing of hosts of Gentiles.

In verse 22 Peter quotes Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) as telling that God would raise up a prophet of the Jewish nation, similar to Moses, but having such authority that His words would allow no ignoring of them. Anyone who would not hear that prophet would be destroyed from among the people. This could apply to no-one but Christ. Leaders in Israel knew of that scripture, and had John the Baptist questioned if he were that prophet (John 1:21); but John bore witness to the fact that the Lord Jesus was far greater than he (John 3:31-36), and the evidence of Christ's own life and ministry was transparently clear. John did no miracle, but the miracles of the Lord Jesus were tremendous in number. In fact, Israel knows that neither before nor since has there been such a prophet.

More than this, all the prophets from Samuel onwards testified of Christ and the time of His advent, foretelling many circumstances attending this great event, things that were undeniably fulfilled.

Now Peter appeals to the people on the ground of their being the children of the prophets as well as children of the covenant God made first with Abraham. He does not speak of the covenant of law given by Moses, but of God's unconditional covenant of promise to Abraham and his seed. His quotation "in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed" finds its answer only in Christ, the one seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), by whom alone blessing could come and will yet come to all the kindreds of the earth.

We may not be certain as to how fully Peter understood that this prophecy was broadened to include Gentiles, but his own words have this implicit in them, for he says, "unto you first God having raised up His servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning every one of you from his iniquities." Later it was a difficulty to Peter to think of even entering a Gentile home, so that he required a clear and convincing revelation from God to do so (Acts 10:28).

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Acts 3:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/acts-3.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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