Summary: The Church experiences the miraculous to validate the message.
"FIRSTS” IN THE CHURCH. The Book of Acts is the record of the “first” experiences of the Church. We have studied the first Gospel sermon preached by Peter, the first invitation given, the first salvations experienced, the first baptisms, and the first commitments of the Church. All of this is being accomplished in and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the first believers, in accordance to God’s perfect purposes in the earth, as they continued the ministry Jesus began during His earthly ministry.
As we turn our attention to the third chapter of the Book of Acts we are going to find the first detailed miracle of the early Church. In the previous message from Acts 2:42-47 we find that many signs and wonders were being done by the Apostles and I believe that Luke’s intent as he records this encounter is to give light as to what some of these “signs and wonders” he spoke of previously actually looked like.
Peter, John and the 9th Hour The Church, mainly comprised of Jewish people at this point, has not completely separated itself from the religious practices that took place at the Temple. This is why we see John and Peter going up to the Temple for the 3:00pm time of prayer. Many have wondered why it was that Luke included the particular time they were going up for prayer and some have noted that it was at the 9th hour (3:00pm) when Jesus cried out “It if finished!” from the cross and breathed His last. Maybe this hour was special to the early church as they recalled all that Jesus endured on that Cross knowing that it was all necessary should forgiveness of sins be experienced so it very well could be that the early church held dear the 9th hour of the day and devoted themselves to worship through prayer at the same time of day that Jesus died to accomplish the victory over sin.
The Lame Beggar. As Peter and John made their way to the Temple for prayer they encounter a man who had a need that they could meet. Notice some of the details provided for us by Luke about this man. First, do not overlook the irony that this man was placed at the gate called Beautiful to beg for money. This gate was called Beautiful and the man who was placed here that day would have been considered the “ugly” of society because of his condition. Those born with physical conditions like this were considered to be under a curse by God and living under the consequences of some sort of sin their lives. Secondly, it is revealed to us that this man did not sustain an injury that resulted in his present condition but this is the way he had been his entire life. Thirdly, he had accepted his condition as his reality. It is revealed that every day he was brought to the path that led to the Temple in order to ask for money from those who were passing by. It is probably the case that he had tried the various medical professionals and therapists and it was determined that nothing could be done to help his situation so he had succumbed to his situation and accepted it as “all that would ever be” in his life. It is clear that he had determined in his heart and mind that this was all that he would ever be because rather than seeking prayer from those passing by he was simply asking for money.
Eyes to See. Peter and John would have likely been two among a crowd of people making their way to the Temple for prayer. It is noted by 1st Century historians that the 3:00pm prayer service was the most popular among the Jewish people of the day. The lame man was used to people avoiding making eye contact with him so he did not even seek to look at the crowd as they rushed by him. He simply sat there with a downcast countenance asking for “alms” (money). For some reason, however, it is noted for us that he noticed Peter and John amidst the crowd and directed his begging towards them. By the time Peter and John get to him his gaze is focused on the ground again as he simply asks, “Alms for the poor?” as Peter and John approach. Unlike the many others who probably looked the other way in order to avoid eye contact with the beggar, Peter and John not only see the man in need but take notices of him. Unlike many others as well Peter and John are moved by his situation and rather than pass him by stop. Peter and John stand out from the crowd in the sense that their hearts are different than others because they are not comfortable to simply pass by one who is in need but seeks to see what it will take to meet the need.