Summary: Peter heals the crippled beggar. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Acts chapter 3 verses 1-26.
The emphasis in Acts chapters 3 and 4 is on the name of Jesus:
• There are 8 very strong references to it;
• (3:6, 3:16, 4:7, 4:10, 4:12, 4:17, 4:18, 4:30)
• A name can be much more than identification;
• It can carry authority, reputation and power.
• If I gave signed my name to an order at 10 Downing Street (if I could get in),
• It would probably be ignored.
• But if the PM signed the order;
• Those who received it would be obliged to obey.
• My name has no official authority behind it;
• But Tony Blair being Prime Minister his name has authority behind it.
In this chapter Peter & John will not act on their own authority:
• Ill: Putting a band aid plaster on a severed limb (no good at all),
• So they will act in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (ultimate authority).
Notice the contrasts between chapters 2 and 3:
• Chapter 2: Peter the preacher;
• Chapter 3: Peter the personal worker.
• Chapter 2: Peter is working with great crowds;
• Chapter 3: He is working with one person.
• Chapter 2: Peter’s ministry results in blessing,
• Chapter 3: Peter’s ministry results in arrest and persecution.
(A). THE Healing (verses 10);
(1). The Place - The Temple (Verse 1):
“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer at three in the afternoon.”
• Acts 2:46 says that the Christians were meeting in the temple area on a daily basis.
• So it is not uncommon to see Peter and John going to the temple to pray.
• Remember for the new Christians this is a transition period; a learning curve;
• They were still observing many Jewish religious customs.
• It would take years before a clear distinction would form;
• And Christians would discover what in Judaism had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Now for devout Jews there were three special hours of prayer;
• 9a.m., 12 midday and 3p.m.
• Prayer for the Jew was always effectual;
• But they felt prayers in the Temple courts were doubly precious.
(2). The Person – a crippled beggar (Verse 2):
“Now a cripple man 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.”
There were nine gates that led from the Court of the Gentiles into the temple itself:
• ‘The Beautiful Gate’ was probably the Eastern Gate;
• That led into the ‘Court of the Women’.
• The Historian Josephus tells us that this gate was made of Corinthian Brass.
• It was plated with gold and silver, it stood 75 feet high and 60 feet wide!
It was a good place to beg:
• Religious people tend to give money:
• For some it is part of their penance; for others an act of kindness.
But outside a religious building then and now was a good place to beg:
• Jerusalem (Israel) today;
• Around every religious building you will find beggars.
• True not just in the Near east;
• I’ve seen it first hand in Mexico, Europe, Spain, Portugal & Italy.
The temple gate called beautiful:
• Was one of the most popular entrances into the temple;
• And thousands of people passed through it on a daily basis.