Peter and John went up into the temple (v. 1). This marks the first recorded visit by Peter and John to the temple following their being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. With the filling of the Spirit, Peter and John received understandings which they did not formerly possess and they were empowered to perform many wonders and signs (Acts 2:43).
It was the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. It was the time of the evening sacrifices, a time which might be viewed as an holy hour. It is a time which the most devote followers of Judaism might choose to go up to worship. It was also the time at which a man, lame from birth, was placed at an entrance to the temple such that he might receive alms of those who entered in.
The miraculous healing that followed is comparable to healings which Jesus performed. The gospels do not record many miracles of Jesus within Jerusalem. The gospel of John does record two such miracles of healing by Jesus (Jn. 5:1-9, 9:1-7). In John 14:12, Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.” Peter and John most certainly believed. The miracle recorded in verses 1-8 should be attributed to both the belief of Peter and John. Both Peter and John were filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Both Peter and John fixed their eyes upon the lame man. Both believed on the Lord Jesus and were empowered. The miracle was a manifestation of their belief.
Peter commanded the man to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and the man did. Peter invoked the name of Jesus and declared Him to be the Messiah. God the Father caused the man’s feet and ankle bones to receive strength. God responded to their faith.
The man walked, leaped and praised God and entered into the temple with Peter and John. “And all the people saw him walking and praising God” (v. 10). The people saw and wondered. Their wonderment set the stage for Peter to address all who had gathered for prayer at the temple. Peter had just healed a lame man in the name of Jesus Christ and the man continued to hold on to Peter in gratitude. The man who had never walked was well known to the people. They had passed by him daily as he asked for alms at the temple gate. The people now gathered about Peter and John in amazement.
When the people gathered about Peter wondering how that he was able to perform the miracle, Peter set them straight. Peter told them that they were looking at the wrong person. They should not be looking at him. They were not looking at that which was done by human power. They needed to look to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of their fathers because He had glorified His Son Jesus. Peter declared Jesus Christ to them and many believed (see Acts 4:4).
The book of Acts records the acts of the apostles. Their acts are a recorded of what God did. Because God did what He did, a lame man who had never walked was made whole and about five thousand men repented and believed Jesus was the promised Messiah. God glorified His Son. Peter was the agent of God’s choice to make His works known to men. God empowered Peter by producing a setting in which thousands were eager to hear his words. God gave Peter to words to say. Let us look at those words.
Peter declared Jesus to be the Holy One and the Just whom the people had rejected. There were some, perhaps many, who had called out to the Roman governor Pilate to release Barabus, a murderer, rather than release Jesus who had done no wrong. Peter stated that God raised Jesus from the dead and that “we” (Peter and John) were witnesses of His resurrection.
In verse 16, Peter stated that faith in the name of Jesus had made the lame man strong. Note that those gathered about Peter did not know God in the manner that Peter and John knew God. Peter and John knew the resurrected Jesus, the Holy One of Israel. The people did not know the Jesus whom that they had called for Pilate to execute. They had seen a miraculous healing but they did not know God the Father who gave His only begotten Son to die upon the cross in their place until after Peter declared Christ raised from the dead.
God reached out to those who had called for the release of Barabus by empowering Peter because He is not willing that any should perish. The people believed because they witnessed God’s power in Peter. May the lost witness His power in us.