Hopefully, when you read the title of this post, you immediately began to hum or sing the children’s song with the same title.
As our church continues to study through Acts, we’ve reached chapter 3. This chapter begins with Peter and John going to the temple for prayer around 3:00 p.m. While entering the temple, they pass a man who was born lame. The man was asking for alms. Instead of offering the man money, they instead offer him healing in the name of Jesus Christ. The man stands and enters the temple with Peter and John (walking, and leaping, and praising God… sing with me).
(Has anyone else wondered why Jesus didn’t heal this lame man when he went into the temple? According to Luke, the man would have been there, because people brought him to the temple daily.)
At this point, we get a good indication of what the apostles (and perhaps others?) did when they were at the temple. The crowd soon recognized the (formerly lame) man and were amazed that he was walking and jumping around the temple courts and praising God for healing him. The people soon gathered around Peter and John in Solomon’s Porch.
According to Josephus, Solomon’s Porch was a colonnade near the temple proper. It was part of the temple complex, but not part of the temple itself.
What did Peter and John do when the crowds gathered around them? They immediately began proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. (The combination of miracle/sign with gospel proclamation parallels Mark 16:20.) Their proclamation is another great example from the book of Acts. They begin in the worldview of their audience and even made a connection with the people (“The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers…” Acts 3:13 ESV). They then led their audience to Jesus Christ (“… glorified his servant Jesus…” Acts 3:13 ESV).
They returned to the miracle which had been the reason that the crowd had gathered in the first place. They told the crowd that the miracle was possible only because of faith in Jesus Christ (although it is unclear if they are referring to their own faith or to the man’s faith). (Acts 3:16)
The call to turn to Christ focuses on a proclamation that Jesus is the one foretold by the prophets beginning with Moses. (Acts 3:18-24) It’s interesting that Peter and John did not include a promise of heaven or a threat of hell in their proclamation. Instead, the proclamation focused on Jesus Christ. Why should the people repent and turn to Jesus? Because he was the one promised by the prophets and he is the one who can turn the people from their wickedness.
There is another interesting part of this proclamation. They said, “God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first…” (Acts 3:26 ESV) At this point, it seems that Peter and John recognize that the gospel was going to be proclaimed to both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). While they remained in and near Jerusalem for some time, they at least understood that God sent Jesus to the Jews first, but was also sending him to the Gentiles.
What would you add to this quick summary of Acts 3? Do you think we can learn about proclaiming Jesus from this passage?