Presenting Jesus as our ultimate healer (3:12 – 26), by Rev. Dr John Kwasi Fosu

Introduction

This study on Acts 3:12-26 is a continuation of our previous studies on Peter and John’s healing of the crippled man at the Beautiful gate. As we learned from the previous chapter, Peter used the healing experience to preach the gospel. In this light studying Peter’s sermon in this chapter always presents us with four major aspects including current issues at stake as part of the introduction, presenting of Christ, Scripture and making relevant application of the message to the practical life of the audience.

Peter’s message was a response to a current issue and observation (Acts 3:11-12)

Peter used this healing as an opportunity of the experience to present Jesus and offer forgiveness to the nation. Miraculous events are to be regarded as opportunities to present the gospel. Worth noting here is that genuine manifestations of the Spirit are to be interpreted in the light of scripture.

Peter acknowledged Jesus as the subject of the healing miracle

In presenting the Gospel after the healing event, Peter directed the attention of the people to Christ as the subject of the miracle and not to himself. Peter did not regard himself as the bearer of numinous power but Christ (Acts 3:12). To Peter, the man was healed only through faith in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:16). It is worth noting that, although Peter and John served as human agents, they did not regard themselves as people having power within themselves to do a miracle.  

For Peter preached Jesus to them in recognition of his limitations that he had denied Jesus three times just a few weeks ago. Yet, because he confessed his sin and made things right with the Lord (John 21), Peter was able to forget his failure (Romans 8:32 – 34). How does this scenario inform you about contemporary miracles and the disposition of some men or women of God?

Peter’s message was scripturally based

In the sermon, Peter used the opportunity to discuss scripture which mainly revolved around God’s forgiveness of the nation Israel as recorded in the Old Testament. In this regard, Acts 3:17 is most important, for there Peter stated that Israel’s ignorance caused them to commit the awful crime of crucifying Christ. Ignorance is no excuse, but it does affect the penalty handed out. This is why Jesus prayed — “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). God was now giving Israel one more opportunity to receive their Messiah. Peter promised in Acts 3:19 – 20 that if the nation would repent and receive the Lord, He would blot out their sins (Isaiah 43:25 and 44:22 – 23).  He would send the Messiah to them and give them “times of refreshing.” These “times” were described in Jeremiah 23:5, Micah 4:3 and Isaiah 11:2 – 9, 35:1-6 and 65:19 – 23. Peter was not describing individual salvation here so much as the blessing that would come to the nation if they would but repent and believe. Of course, national salvation depended on personal faith.

Heaven would receive and hold the Messiah until Israel would repent.  Then the “times of restitution” would come. This refers to the kingdom Jesus will set up when Israel turns to Him and believes. Peter states in Acts 3:21 that this event was spoken of by the prophets.  This proved that he was not talking about events of the church. The “mystery” of the church was not revealed to the Old Testament prophets. The prophets spoke of Israel’s future kingdom, and that kingdom would have been set up had the rulers and the people believed Peter’s message and repented.

What about the Gentiles? Peter answered this in Acts 3:25. The Jews were children of Abraham and of God’s covenant, and God would keep His promise to Abraham and bless the Gentiles through Israel. “And all the peoples of the earth shall be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3 and 22:18). God’s program in the Old Testament was to bless the Gentiles through a restored Israel and Peter and the other Jewish apostles knew this. They realized that God promised to bless the Gentiles when Israel was established in its kingdom. This is why the apostles could not understand why Paul went to the Gentiles after Israel had been set aside. They did not realize then the “mystery program” that God would reveal to Paul.  This “mystery program” was that through Israel’s fall the Gentiles would be saved (Romans 11:11 – 12). This program was a “mystery” hidden in Old Testament day but revealed through Paul (Ephesians 3). When the nation killed Stephen and committed that “unpardonable sin” against the Holy Spirit, God’s prophetic program for the Jews ended. From that day, Israel was set aside, and the church took center stage.

How did the nation respond to Peter’s invitation? Many of the common people believed and were saved, but the rulers had the apostles arrested. The Sadducees, of course, did not believe in the resurrection and rejected Peter’s message that Jesus had been raised from the dead. The Pharisees hated Jesus because He had condemned them (Matthew 23). The persecution that Jesus promised the apostles in John 15:18 – 16:4 began to take place as we will see in the next chapter.

Peter applied the message to the needs of the audience and invited them to make a decision (Acts 3:17-20)

As a characteristic of Peter in presenting the Gospel, Peter invites his audience to decide for Christ. He called them into repentance so they would be refreshed. Here too, Peter drew their attention that true repentance and life change comes from God

Questions and Areas for discussions

  1. After healing the cripple man, Peter used the opportunity to preach Christ but not Peter’s own abilities. How can we compare that to the contemporary “prophets and miracle workers” in their comments?
  2. Regarding Acts 3:16, explain the major pre-requisite for experiencing miracles?
  3. Who is the subject of genuine repentance – the preacher or God? Discuss

Power to heal and save (Acts 3:1-11), by Rev Dr John Kwasi Fosu

Introduction

Acts 3 presents Peter and John’s healing of a man born cripple at the beautiful gate. The fact remains that God works through us. Thus, we are partners with God in touching lives especially in saving souls. This lesson looks at the scriptural significance of the passage and to illustrate what it means to live without Christ and to live after encountering Christ.

Historical and Scriptural significance of the miracle

The fact that Peter and John still attended the temple and kept the Jewish customs is evidence that the first seven chapters of Acts are Jewish in emphasis. No believer today who understands Galatians and Hebrews would participate in Old Testament practices.

Peter performed this miracle, not only to relieve the man’s handicap and save his soul, but also to prove to the Jews that the Holy Spirit had come with promised blessings. Isaiah 35:6 promises the Jews that Israel would enjoy such miracles when their Messiah was received.

Life without Christ illustrated

The crippled man of Acts 3 is a vivid illustration of a life without Christ.

  1. He was born lame, and all are born sinners.
  2. He could not walk, and no sinner can walk so as to please God.
  3. He was outside the temple, and sinners are outside God’s temple, the church.
  4. He was begging, for sinners are beggars, searching for satisfaction.

Life after encountering Christ illustrated

The man’s conduct after the miracle shows how every believer ought to act. The man entered the temple in fellowship with God’s servants and praised God. His walk was new and different, and he did not run from persecution. His was such a testimony that the officers had no explanation for what had happened.

Conclusion and application

In an unexpected and extra ordinary way, the crippled man met the two apostles and was healed. As believers of God we are to learn to be ever ready to do something for God. The best opportunities to do God’s work often comes in an unexpected way. Peter and John did not plan to heal the beggar. In the same way, the beggar did not plan to be healed. Yet, God was pleased to use both. How ready are you to work with God as a soldier of Christ? Worth noting here is that those who have needs will cross our paths. The man was in pain not only of physical ailment, but spiritual as well. In all Peter and John met his needs.