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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Acts 3

 

 

Verses 1-21

Acts 3:1. Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

Peter and John seem to have been linked in closest friendship. Peter had been brought back by John when he was almost despairing after having denied his Master. John lovingly found him out, and made him his associate; and now they “went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer.” Observe, here, how very sweetly the Old Testament dispensation melts into the new. The Temple was no longer what it had been before; the type was of no further use now that the great Antitype of the Temple had come; yet these apostles still went up to it at the hour of prayer. There are some men who are great at destroying. It will be time to destroy the old when the new is quite ready; and even then, it may be very possible to let the darkness gradually melt away into a twilight, and so the day shall come with no great gap, no marked surprise. So Peter and John went up to the Temple at the same hour as others went. It is folly to he singular, except when to be singular is to be something more right than others.

Acts 3:2-3. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms eye them that entered into the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

This seems to have been the custom about the Temple gates, as it is about the doors of many churches on the Continent. For instance, you could not approach the door of a certain church in Rome without being solicited, perhaps, by a score of beggars. I do not suppose that it was so in Judaea in its prosperous days; but when religion does not prosper, beggars are sure to be multiplied; and now that the very spirit of godliness had gone, almsgiving was done in public, and hence the beggars appeared in public.

Acts 3:4-7. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give to thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

The man had never stood upon his feet in all his life, and was so unable to move that he had to be carried to the Temple gates to beg; and yet, at the mention of the great and glorious name of Jesus, his feet and ankle-bones immediately received strength.

Acts 3:8-11. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: and they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

You are not at all surprised that he held Peter and John; it was but natural that he should follow them wherever they went, for he owed so much to them, and they were the best friends that he had ever had. He was filled with reverence for them because of what they had wrought upon him; and now, lest they should go away, he held them; and “all the people ran together unto them, greatly wondering.” He who was healed by Christ’s wonderful name was wondering, and the people who saw him healed were all wondering. I suppose that wonder mingles with all true worship. All wonder is not worship; but where there is adoration of God, and a sense of his great goodness and of our unworthiness, there seems always to be a large amount of wonder. We shall even-

“Sing with wonder and surprise,

His lovingkindness in the skies.”

Acts 3:12. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

Peter could well see that the people attributed to himself and John more than was right, so he thus had an opportunity of preaching the gospel to them, and you may be certain that he did not miss it.

Acts 3:13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus;¾

Or, rather, as you have it in the Revised Version with more correctness, “hath glorified his Servant Jesus,” for his Son may be said to he glorified already. But Jesus had taken upon himself the form of a servant, and God had “glorified his Servant Jesus;” —

Acts 3:13-15. Whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

I want you to note here how Peter will have it that the God of the gospel is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. I do not hesitate to say that the god of a large number of professors now is not the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and the reason I say so is this, — that they often treat the Old Testament as if it were an altogether secondary volume, and speak about the imperfect ideas of God which the Hebrews had, and the imperfect revelation of God in the Old Testament. I believe that Jehovah — that very Jehovah who clave the Red Sea, and drowned the Egyptians, — the terrible God of the Old Testament — is the same God who is the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and we are to take the Godhead as it is revealed, not alone in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament also. There are some who would pick and choose that part of Scripture which they like best, and construct a god for themselves out of those chosen texts. These be they who have other gods before Jehovah; and these be they who make unto themselves an image which, if it be not graven upon stone, is yet made out of their own imaginations, which they set up, and worship in the place of the one living and true God. “The God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied.” See how plain-spoken Peter is, — how boldly he presses home upon the crowd around him the murder of Christ, — the rejection of the Messiah! It took no small amount of courage and faith to speak like that, and to speak so to persons who were full of admiration of him before, and who would be pretty sure to be filled with indignation against him directly. A man can speak boldly against those who are his enemies; but, when people begin to flatter you, and admire you, a softness steals over the bravest heart, and he is inclined to be very gentle. I admire Peter that he puts it thus plainly: “Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”

Acts 3:16. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: —

“You see him now, and you know what he used to be; there is no question about the identity of the man.”

Acts 3:16-17. Yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, —

How like his Master does Peter now speak! Instead of drawing his sword, as he did when he cut off the ear of Malchus, he puts the truth thus mildly: “I wot that through ignorance ye did it,” —

Acts 3:17-21. As did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.


Verses 11-26

You remember, dear friends, how Peter denied his Lord in the time of his trial. Now notice what a change was wrought in him after the Holy Spirit had fallen upon him on the day of Pentecost. We have often read the story of the man healed at the beautiful gate of the temple; now let us see what followed:

Acts 3:11. And as the lame man, which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

It is always easy to draw a crowd, but there was really something wonderful to be seen that day. The apostle was careful to turn to the very best account the curiosity of the crowd. See how quickly he carried their thoughts away from the man before him to the greater Man, the Divine Man, the Son of God whom they had rejected.

Acts 3:12-23. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise my unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.

Hear this, then, you who have heard Christ, through his Word and through his servants, and have heard him preach,— ay, scores and hundreds of times. Let me read this text to you again; and as I read it, may it sink into your hearts. “It shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”

Acts 3:24-26. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

They were to have the first proclamation of the gospel; from among them would be gathered many of the first converts. The preacher did not know immediately what result this sermon produced; it was not like the sermon preached at Pentecost, for he did know what happens after its delivery. This is quite as good a sermon every way, and we have every reason to believe that as many were converted by it. The Spirit of God was with Peter; yet even the Spirit of God, does not always work in the came way upon men. You see, the apostles had no opportunity to have a talk with the people afterwards, and to find out what had been done, as they had on the day of Pentecost.

This exposition consisted of readings from Acts 3:11-26; Acts 4:1-4; and 2 Peter 3

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Acts 3:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/acts-3.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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