HEALED BY FAITH IN JESUS’ NAME [ACTS 3:11-26]
Peter’s first two sermons in the “Acts of the Apostles” (Acts 2:14-40; 3:12-26) follow immediately on two significant events. The first event was the day of Pentecost, when the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit swept into the upper room and transformed everyone gathered there into bold witnesses of the Gospel. The second event seems less significant in the great sweep of history, but it also demonstrates the work of God. Peter and John met a lame beggar at the temple gate who asked them for alms. Instead of gold, however, Peter gave him the ability to walk. The man followed Peter and John into the temple “walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:8).
This healing naturally drew a crowd of people, and Peter took the opportunity to speak again about Jesus the Messiah. Reaching into the tradition of God’s promises to His people, Peter said that it was “the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob,” working through His Son Jesus (Acts 3:13), who had performed this miracle. He reminded them that when Moses gave the law, he had promised that God would raise up “from your own people a prophet like me” (Acts 3:22; Deuteronomy 18:15). Jesus was that promised prophet, and the miracle they witnessed attested to this truth.
Peter proclaimed that the man was healed by faith in Jesus’ name (Acts 3:16), and this faith was available to them. When he called them to “repent, therefore, and turn again” (Acts 3:19), Peter was inviting them to turn from sin and embrace Jesus in faith, accepting baptism in His name. If only they would repent and convert, they too would be filled with the Spirit and transformed just as Peter and the lame man had been.
Peter said further that God wanted to pour out “times of refreshing” through Jesus (Acts 3:19). This promise remains true for us, the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). Jesus is the promised Messiah, and when we turn to Him and receive Him in our hearts, we too are refreshed by the wind of the Holy Spirit as we receive and experience all the promises God has made.
Jakarta, 24 April 2014
A Christian Pilgrim