20 April 2015Acts 3:11-19
“To this we are witnesses.” (v. 15)
Psalm: Psalm 140
In the previous verses Peter and John had healed a crippled man (Acts 3:1-10); the passages over the next few days recount 'what happened next'.
In today's passage the action takes place in Solomon's Portico. This was a covered walkway that ran down the eastern side of the Court of the Gentiles, within the Temple precincts.This court was a very busy area and was as far into the Temple as Gentiles, non-Jews, were allowed to go.
The man, who had been lame from birth and who was well known, clung to the two disciples while other visitors to the Temple ran towards them to see what had happened. It is not hard to imagine that this healing event caused a great deal of commotion with everyone trying to catch a glimpse of the healed man and of those who seemed responsible for his healing. There would have been much conjecture as to how he had been healed.
Peter explained to the people that the man had not been healed because of their power or magic (verse 12), but by God through the power of the name of Jesus and through faith in him. Peter pointed out that this is the same God that they worshipped, the God of their ancestors (verse 13). He also pointed out that this is the same Jesus whom they had chosen to have crucified, allowing a convicted murderer to be released instead (verses 13-15).
In the ancient world it was believed that someone's name carried their authority. Peter made it clear that Jesus' name had the full authority of God. Peter is also clear that, although Jesus had been killed, God had raised him from the dead and that he was still active in the world.
Peter also said that in crucifying Jesus the Israelites had acted in ignorance (verse 17) and that Jesus' death had been foretold in their Scriptures, the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament (verse 18).
The offer of forgiveness from God for all their sins is held out, all that they needed to do was to "repent" (v. 19), to turn again, back to God.
- Peter is quick to make sure that God gets the credit for the healing and not himself. How do you ensure you give all the glory to God?
- Peter says that they are witnesses of Jesus' resurrection. How easy or difficult do you find it to be a witness to what you know of Jesus? What helps or hinders you?
- Have you consciously repented of something and turned back to God? What helped you to do this? How did you feel afterwards?
Bible notes' author: The Revd Ros Watson