Acts Chapter Three, A Beggar &
In our study of Acts chapter three, we see how God uses the healing
of a beggar to provide an opportunity to share the gospel.
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of
prayer -at three in the afternoon.
The early church knew the value of prayer as we see here. They were
intentional about their prayer time. Are we as intentional? We do not have to go to a
temple to pray and in fact we have the ability to pray all through the day.
Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate
called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple
courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked
straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, 'Look at us!' So the man gave them his
attention, expecting to get something from them.
This scene is both familiar and different from our culture today.
We see, in the first part of this passage, that the crippled man was taken to the
entrance to the temple courts. He was carried there by people that knew that it was the
place where he would receive help. We have the same types of people with needs as the
early Christians did but, in many cases, the church has ceased to be known for
compassion for these people. Instead of the Christians of today helping people, the
responsibility has been turned over to the government. In the last part of the passage,
we see that Peter and John stopped and spoke to the man. We also see that the man
listened to them because he was expecting help. Do we, as individuals, do the same thing
as Peter and John or do we ignore the people and walk away? You see, we individually
have the responsibility as well as the church as a body. Yes, the man is expecting to
receive money but, as we will see, he ends up hearing about Jesus.
Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I
give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'
Can you imagine the look on the beggar's face? He must have been
stunned. There is a big lesson in this scripture for us today. In many cases today, we
will give money, food, clothing, etc. to those in need but that is all we do. Though
there are some things that people must have to survive, what good does it do them if
they don't know Jesus Christ? We should tell people about Jesus and be the example of
Jesus by meeting their needs. The two must go together to be an effective witness for
Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the
man's feet and ankles became strong.
Have you ever wondered why Peter took the man by the hand and
helped him up? You see, all Peter had to do is to heal the man through Jesus' name then
the man could have easily gotten up himself. The healing comes from faith in the power
of Jesus Christ but sometimes we must lend others a little bit of our faith. We need to
be an example as well as to say the words. Is your life a visible demonstration of the
power of Jesus Christ?
He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them
into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
This verse of scripture is a good model of what should happen in
prayer. After, this beggar was healed, he immediately went into the temple praising God.
It seems that we are quick to go to God with our concerns and requests but we often
leave out the thanksgiving and praise. Every day we have a reason to praise and thank
our God and it is not just because He has said yes to one of our requests.
Acts 3:9 & 10
When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they
recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called
Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to
These verses describe something that should happen to each of us as
we accept Christ and are healed from our sins. When that happens, people should take
notice of it and glorify God because of it. As this beggar was healed, the people knew
that he had been a cripple and then they saw him walking and praising God. They took
notice as it says "they were filled with wonder and amazement". Today, we get caught up
in all sorts of self improvement nonsense but we forget that God is the one who
transforms us. When we do the self help stuff, it is easily explained and usually people
don't even notice. But, when God does a work in and through you, people will wonder.
Then, you can glorify God just as the beggar did by praising Him.
Acts 3:11 & 12
While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were
astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. When Peter
saw this, he said to them: 'Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare
at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?'
How do you react when those around you are "astonished" about what
God has done in and through you? That is what these passages are showing us. You see,
all of the people noticed that the crippled beggar was healed and they started acting
like it was Peter and John that had cured him and not God. Immediately, Peter puts a
stop to this wrong thinking by letting them know that it was not by their power that it
was accomplished. We need to be prepared to give God the glory in every situation.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has
glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him
before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.
Now that the crowd is wondering how the crippled beggar was healed,
Peter puts the focus on Jesus and their role in his crucifixion. Peter points out that
the One who healed the beggar is the same one that they turned over to be crucified. Can
you imagine the thoughts going through the minds of the people in the crowd? You know
that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when you realize that you really
messed something up, that is what I picture the crowd coming to realize and the sinking
feeling they must have felt.
Acts 3:14 & 15
You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer
be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We
are witnesses of this.
Peter is still showing the crowd of Jews what they have done. He
points out that they even chose a murderer over Jesus. Then, he moves on to tell them
that God raised that same Jesus from the dead. We may think that these verses are harsh
but how many times do we choose things other than serving Jesus each day? Peter goes on
to tell them that John and him are witnesses of the fact that Jesus was raised from the
dead. At that time, there were many stories going around as to why the tomb was empty.
There were rumors that the body was stolen by the disciples as well as others but John
and Peter testify to the fact that Jesus had risen.
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was
made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this
complete healing to him, as you can all see.
It is hard to believe until you see with your own eyes and that is
basically what Peter is telling the crowd here. He reminds them that they have seen the
beggar and know him. He then explains how the man that they knew as a crippled beggar
was standing there before them. Peter tells them that the power only comes through faith
in Jesus Christ.
Acts 3:17 & 18
Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your
leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets,
saying that his Christ would suffer.
After pointing out how the crowd had been a party to the
crucifixion of Jesus, he now strikes a more conciliatory tone by stating that he knows
that it was done in ignorance. He then goes on to point out that God knew it was going
to happen and in fact Jesus came knowing that he would be rejected. Isn't it awesome to
know that God even uses our ignorance to fulfill his purpose?
Acts 3:19 & 20
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,
that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who
has been appointed for you- even Jesus.
After spending quite a bit of time reasoning with the crowd and
letting the Holy Spirit convict them, Peter now turns to the good news. He tells them
that, if they repent, God has appointed the same Jesus that they turned over for
crucifixion as their messiah. You see, the Jews believed in a messiah they just did not
believe that it was Jesus and they thought that the messiah would immediately usher in a
new Jewish kingdom. Peter tells them that this messiah would wipe away their sins.
He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore
everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Now that Peter has explained that Jesus is the Savior, he starts to
explain why the Messiah is not what they expected. You see, the Jews knew the Old
Testament and that the prophets had foretold the coming of the Messiah (Savior) but it
was not what they had expected. The Jewish people were expecting the Messiah to come and
immediately restore the earthly kingdom of Israel. This verse also contains a promise
for us today. That promise is that God is going to restore everything someday. The earth
will be made new and we will get to be with God just as Adam and Eve were in Eden before
Acts 3:22 & 23
For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet
like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone
who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'
Peter now goes back to using the Old Testament to get the crowd to
understand who Jesus is and what it means. He quotes Moses which the Jewish people
respect as the one who brought them the law. Peter points out that this same Moses
predicted that there would be a prophet after him that they must listen to. He goes on
to say that this prophet will come from the Israelite people. If you look at the
beginning of the Gospel account of Matthew, you notice that the first part is tracing
the lineage of Jesus back to the Israelite kings. After pointing out that, according to
Moses, the prophet would come, Peter then tells them that if they do not listen to him,
they will be cut off from among his people. That is also important to us in the world
today. It is popular today to say that there are many ways to have a relationship with
God. This passage of scripture goes back to the beginning and makes it known that Jesus
is the only way.
Acts 3:24 & 25
'Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken,
have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made
with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will
Peter continues on with the crowd by saying that not only Moses but
all of the prophets were talking about Jesus. Then, he reminds them of the covenant that
God made with Abraham in Genesis and that this promise had come true. That promise was
for us as well because it says that "all peoples" will be blessed and that includes us.
Isn't it awesome that, in the very beginning, God knew us and wanted us to be heirs and
When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless
you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.
Peter is reminding the crowd that God sent Jesus to them first. Do
you feel blessed to have turned from your evil ways? Peter is trying to tell them that
it truly is a blessing to turn from your sins. Many times, we may forget that it is a
blessing to be freed from our old ways but when we stop and remember that our old evil
ways take us further and further away from God then we can see the blessing of being