Summary: One man delivered into the grace of the Risen Saviour can make a great difference in the advance of the Faith.

“Seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.” [1]

God has no secret agents. Throughout the pages of the New Testament are found multiple accounts of men and women who received the Christ as Master. In every instance, those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah were changed, and they quickly sought to identify openly with Him. Philip, astounded at the knowledge this Jesus of Nazareth displayed concerning him blurted out, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God” [JOHN 1:49a]! Nicodemus, attempting to discover for himself whether this Jesus of Nazareth could be more than another religious teacher, was confronted by his own need to be born from above. Because of his faith in Jesus as the Son of God, Nicodemus would be compelled to stand openly against the injustice of evil and unbelief, ultimately demonstrating his true loyalty [see JOHN 7:50-51; JOHN 19:38-42].

After Jesus’ victory over the tomb, the Apostles were emboldened to stand boldly in His Name. Doing the work He commanded and which was expected of disciples, they witnessed many turning to faith in the Risen Lord as people heard the disciples declaring Jesus to be the Messiah. At Pentecost, those who heard the disciples declaring the Word of the Lord were pierced to their hearts, and they cried out in their grief and confusion, “Brothers, what shall we do” [ACTS 2:37]? The answer they received was that they were to repent and be baptized [see ACTS 2:38]. And many who were present on that Day of Pentecost responded by repenting and by being baptised.

From that point a division was witnessed between those who were genuinely converted to Christ and those who were merely attracted to Him. Those attracted sought to attach themselves without accepting the inconvenience that would surely attend identifying with the Risen Lord. And make no mistake, there would be a cost to identification with Jesus as the Master over life. Nevertheless, those who were converted sought to identify quickly with Him Whom they called Lord. One example of this bold identification is witnessed through an incident that receives little comment in the Word; but it is an incident which, upon study, appears as of great importance. Let's study the verse carefully to discover whether God would instruct us through the courage of one man newly converted to the Faith.

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY – The first disciples were Jews and even after the descent of the Holy Spirit they quite naturally continued their observance of Jewish religious custom. The Apostles continued to attend the services of the Temple. On one occasion while Peter and John were attending the afternoon prayers at the Temple, they were confronted by a man crippled from birth. Perhaps they had seen the man before without being particularly aware, as is so very common for healthy individuals. This man had long been carried by compassionate individuals to the gate called Beautiful so that he might beg alms of the pious worshippers entering the Temple.

On this day his appeal somehow penetrated the casual oblivion of Peter and John. Somehow the Apostles heard more than a well-practised appeal for monies as the beggar pleaded. They saw this man as more than a nuisance as they actually paused to look at him. Perhaps you recall how Peter spoke those thrilling words, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you” [ACTS 3:6]. The words are thrilling precisely because we know they presage a gift that is more precious than mere metals, no matter how precious those metals may be in our estimate. This man was about to receive a gift that could never be bought with mere wealth—he was about to walk.

Having spoken the words recorded in our text, Peter reached out his hand to grasp the crippled man by the hand, and that strong fisherman lifted the man to a standing position. We can see this man stand there swaying slightly and momentarily unsure of what had just happened. Aware of a strength that he had never experienced in his entire life, the man began to walk—first, one unsteady step with his hands extended as if to balance himself, then another step, and another. Could it actually be? He was walking; he was moving under his own strength on legs that had only moments before been useless pieces of flesh that were attached to his body.

Things began moving at breakneck speed as the man realised that something momentous, something too wonderful to be true, had just taken place. He was walking! It was not sufficient that the man should simply walk about, however, for the text informs us that this man now was keeping pace with the Apostles as they continued on their way and were about to enter into the Temple. The text tells us that this once crippled man was “walking and leaping and praising God” [ACTS 3:8]. People don’t go to the House of God and run about, leaping and dancing and shouting! It just doesn’t happen. And yet, here was this man leaping and praising God.

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