Sermon: In the Name of Jesus…Leap! Acts 3:1-10

In the Name of Jesus…Leap!

Acts 3:1-10

Introduction

We have just finished Acts 2.  If you remember, in Acts 2, the day of Pentecost was a day like no other in the life of God’s people.  The Holy Spirit descended and the disciples began to speak in other languages.  Their message was the mighty works of God through Jesus Christ.  In answer to the questions and comments from the crowd Peter preaches a sermon explaining what all this means.  He calls them to repentance and 3000 souls are saved.  The New Testament Church is born.  Like in Acts 2, there was an event, namely, speaking in tongues and Peter’s explanation of the event.

Acts 3 is comprised of an event and Peter’s explanation of that event as well, in the form of a speech or a sermon.  The event is the lame man being healed in Jesus’ name and the explanation is Peter’s sermon preached in the temple.

Primary Claim of the Text

Jesus Christ gives the faith He requires to believe on His name in order to receive His gift of salvation.

Human Condition Met By the Text

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, I’m sure you can think back to those days when you were simply trying to figure out the basics of what it means to be a Christian.  We all had preconceived ideas of what it would be like to be a Christian or after you became a believer, what it would be like to be a follower.  I’m also reminded that things rarely ever work out the way we think.  God takes you places in your Christian life you never thought you’d go or do.

Please hear God’s Word…

Acts 3:1-10 (ESV)
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.
3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.
4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”
5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God,
10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

1. Asking for Money

1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.
3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.

Today’s passage is about a man who had grown accustomed to a certain way of life.  He was lame.  The text tells us something else he was lame from birth.  This man had never in all his life walked.  As we think about our church’s infants who are beginning to walk and what joy it is as parents see their children take their first steps, this man never did that.  His parents had to do things for him because he had never learned to walk because his legs were deformed.

When he sees Peter and John that day, I’m sure he thought he knew what would take place that day…it was a day like all the rest as far as he was concerned.  He would be carried to the gate of the Temple and as worshippers would come and go, he would ask them if they could spare a quarter or two for a lame man.  He had gotten good at asking/begging for money.  It’s all he’d ever done; it’s all he could do.

He thought money was his greatest need in his life.  He thought he would be on that mat for the rest of his life.  He thought things would always be like they are now.  He never gave other things much thought because laying on that mat was all he’d ever known.

Sometimes we make the mistake in thinking that, If I only had more money my life would be much better.  The truth is, money isn’t our greatest need, it wasn’t his greatest need.  Our greatest need is to have a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.  Today, our text introduces us to a man who thought what he needed most was for someone to give him money.  What he received, namely, Jesus Christ and healing was far greater than anything he had ever received.

If you ever find yourself thinking, If I only had more money, then I would be happier.  Use that thought to quickly remind yourself that there is something wrong with my thinking, we don’t need more money, we need more Jesus.

These verses open with Peter and John going to the Temple to pray.  Even though Jesus had declared Himself to be the Temple, the place where man can access God the Father, His disciples still have not disengaged their practice of regular prayer.  As they are going to the 3:00pm prayer meeting held in the Temple they are motioned over by a lame man.

3:00pm or the ninth hour was the time for the sacrifices to be made.  This was a perfect time to be in the Temple reflecting upon the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

This man as he motioned them over began to ask them for something.

This passage as we’ll see in a minute, indicates that this man was a regular at the Gate called Beautiful.  He had been there many times before.  He may have been there when Jesus walked by on one of the days He had been to the temple.  He had probably seen the disciples before as they had regularly gone in and out of the Temple.  But this day would be different than all the rest…

2.  Expecting Money

4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”
5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.

Here, the lame man fully expects to receive a spare coin or two.  He probably has his hand out in expectation thinking Peter or John or both will drop in a coin out of pity for this man’s condition.

Sir, we are not going to give you money today.  We have something far more important for you.  I’m sure at this point the lame man sitting on his mat begins to look away, perhaps for others who might be more favorable than these two men who, it doesn’t seem are going to give any money.

“Look at us.”…

Peter’s emphatic request is so the man will pay attention and hear them clearly.

So, we’re told that the lame man fixed his attention on them but still expected to receive alms…notice what he did receive.

3.  Receiving Faith, Health, and Life

6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
Peter begins by stating that he does not have any money to give.  Probably, Peter and John had less money with them than this beggar had.  Does the work of God depend on money?  Of course not.  Peter tells this man that he does possess something else.  He possesses something of much greater value.  This commodity of infinite worth is free for all who have faith.

I hope we can see the contrast here…What the man thought he needed (gold or silver) is contrasted with what he really needed (what I have).  The apostles had no money with them on this occasion[1]

What was it that Peter and John had that they were willing to give this man?

They had really two things.  First, they had Jesus.  Here it is in the name of Jesus that this man would receive the second thing Peter and John possessed namely healing.  We must be very clear here.  It is not Peter and John who heal this man but from the throne room of heaven, Jesus Christ heals this man…

I want to show you something that I think is very important.  In our initial passage we are not told the behind-the-scenes details.  But when Peter explains the account a little later he shares them with us…

We did not heal anybody…

Acts 3:12 (ESV)
12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?

Jesus healed him and even gave him the faith to be healed…

Acts 3:16 (ESV)
16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
Do you understand what Peter is saying?  By faith in the name of Jesus given by Jesus has given this man perfect health.  Jesus gave him the faith and gave him the health.  He believed in his name with Christ given faith…

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Peter adamantly opposes the idea that it was in any way their doing.  God healed this man.

Isn’t it so good of God to save us and even give us the faith He requires?  Beloved by ourselves we could not ever produce the saving faith required for anything.  So, God in His goodness gives us the gift of salvation which includes the gift of faith.

4.  Walking, Leaping, and Praising God

7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God,
10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Here’s a man who on those special nights dreamed wonderful dreams about have healthy legs.  I’m sure in his dreams he was walking and running and leaping, only to wake up and realize it was just a dream.

Here God had done something entirely unexpected.  Now the day had come that God had determined to heal this man physically and as usually accompanied physical healings that require faith, so too this man trusted Christ for much more.

Here are some similarities between this first apostolic healing and the way Jesus often healed.

One might recall the way Jesus took Peter’s mother-in-law by the right hand and helped her to her feet.

Mark 1:30-31 (ESV)
30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her.
31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

Another thing we must not overlook is the word immediately.  Remember from the Gospel of Luke how when Jesus healed someone they were healed in a split second…immediately they were made whole.

Luke 1:64 (ESV)
64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.

 

Luke 5:13 (ESV)
13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Luke 5:25 (ESV)
25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.
It’s the exact same thing with the Apostles.  They are carrying out Jesus’ ministry of teaching and healing.  Along the way God is working miracles to accompany their ministry so that the people will believe.

This man was the one everyone saw over and over again out in front of the Temple.  This was the one people felt sorry for but rarely ever did anything to help.  This was the man that when the worshippers saw him, crossed over on the other side.  This was the one who would at best receive a small coin or two but never anything else.  This was the man who had written off any hope of ever having a life any different than what he was currently living…

This man was touched by God, given faith and healed…never the same again.

The first thing he does with his new legs is leap in the air praising God.

and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood

God repaired his deformed legs gave them strength and taught him to walk all on his way up!

9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God,
10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms.

They realized that when they came into the Temple they walked past him and the recognized him as the man who always laid their hope for a coin or two…now he is jumping, running, standing, leaping and giving God all the credit! Perhaps we had better listen to Peter and John.

One more thing…

I think there is more Luke is saying here by the specific words he uses, by the sheer concentration of very rare Greek words, and by the way he forms this narrative.

Luke is recording a second event that proves the Last Days have begun.

Again, just as Jesus performed miraculous healings that were called signs and wonders, so too Jesus continues this through the Apostles…

Acts 4:22 (ESV)
22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
What was this healing pointing to?  How was it a sign?
For the answer, we go to the original language and discover two instances where Luke uses the same word sozo which literally means saved.

Acts 4:9 (ESV)
9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,

Acts 4:12 (ESV)
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
When this man is healed he becomes a picture of the future restoration of all things.  He becomes the first-fruit of all creation that will be restored when Jesus Christ no longer restores from heaven but actually returns and sets up the consummated Kingdom.

Isaiah 35:5-6 (ESV)
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;

When Luke reports that this lame man leaps he is choosing his words very carefully to convey the fact that the Last Days have been ushered in and this man’s healing is a picture of the future healing and restoration of all things when Christ returns.

There will be a day coming when all creation is restored to perfect health, in the name of Jesus…leap!


[1] Acts of the Apostles from The Pillar New Testament Commentary by David G. Peterson

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