Acts 3



1 “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer,

being the ninth hour.” Were going up for went up together, Authorized Version

and Textus Receptus Peter and John. The close friendship of these two apostles is

remarkable. The origin of it appears to have been their partnership in the

fishing-boats in which they pursued their trade as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.

For Luke tells us that the sons of Zebedee were “partners with Simon,” and helped

him to take the miraculous draught of fishes (Luke 5:10). We find the

two sons of Zebedee associated with Peter in the inner circle of the Lord’s

apostles, at the Transfiguration, at the raising of Jairus’s daughter, and at

the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (see also Mark 13:3). But the

yet closer friendship of Peter and John first appears in their going together

to the palace of Caiaphas on the night of the betrayal (John 18:15), and

then in the memorable visit to the holy sepulcher on the morning of the

Resurrection (John 20:2-4), and yet again in John 21:7, 20-21. It is

in strict and natural sequence to these indications in the Gospel that, on

opening the first chapters of the Acts, we find Peter and John constantly

acting together in the very van of the Christian army (here – vs. 1,3,11;

ch. 4:13,19; 8:14, 25). The hour of prayer; called in Luke 1:10, “the

hour of incense,” that is, the hour of the evening sacrifice, when the people

stood outside in prayer, while the priest within offered the sacrifice and

burnt the incense (see ch. 2:46, note). Hence the comparison in

Psalm 141:2, “Let my prayer be set before thee as incense, and the

lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”



Habits of Public Prayer (v. 1)


The Lord Jesus set the example of regular attendance on the synagogue

services; and both He and His apostles seem to have daily attended at the

temple at the appointed “hours of prayer,” when they were resident in the

“holy city.” Some illustrations may be given of the prayer-habits of both

Jews and Mohammedans; and the value, but also peril, of customs of

public prayer may be pointed out. We read in Scripture of three specified

hours of prayer, in accordance with which the psalmist speaks of his own

custom (Psalm 55:17). In like manner Daniel prayed ‘three times a day’

(Daniel 6:10). The hour of morning prayer was the third hour; and

Peter went up to the house-top to pray (ch.10:9) about the sixth

hour, which was noon; and the evening prayer was this to which Peter and

John were going up. We fix attention on the fact that, though the apostles

had the new personal “life in Christ,” they found public religious service

and duties still demanded their attention. Soul-life, spiritual life, still needs

for its culture “public prayer” and “united worship.”



public. Both are necessary. Each helps the other. Since men are not

isolated individuals, their personal and private devotions cannot satisfy all

their needs and claims. And since the individual can never be lost in the

crowd, public devotions can never adequately express the precise personal

needs. Our Lord taught us the duty and value of private prayer

(Matthew 6:6).




first to “personal culture.” In private devotion there is danger of morbid

introspection; public prayer fills our thought with God rather than man.

When alone the self-sphere may become too prominent; when we join with

others we are helped to forget self in common sympathies, desires, and

prayers. At home communion and petition are prominent in our prayers; in

the assembly of God’s people the prominent thing is intercession. Besides

this, in public worship we are influenced by holy sentiment, and swayed by

high emotions, and realize the joy of the Divine life. These things bear most

directly on healthy soul-culture. Further, it is our bounden duty to make

solemn public declaration of our belief in God, and submission to His

authority and rule. Such a declaration we make in the act of going to and

joining in public prayer and worship. Our “houses of prayer,” and our

“hours of prayer,” and our “millions of worshippers,” still attest America’s

belief in God; and every one should feel jealous lest the fullness and

clearness of that testimony should be in the least degree impaired. Deal

with modern neglect of worship, and the custom of half-day worshipping.



PUBLIC PRAYER. Herein we have the example of our Lord, of His

apostles, and of the saints through all the ages. It would be difficult to find

the case of one eminently holy man or woman, in all the Christian history,

who held lightly or neglected the public worship and ordinances of the

Church. (It just doesn’t happen – CY – 2016)  Such habits should be formed

and well watched over in early life.  Those united together as friends, as

husbands and wives, should help each other to maintain the habits. For they

bear good influence:


Ø      on family life,

Ø      on social life, and

Ø      on national life.


The constant association with Divine things has a gracious and hallowing

influence, and renews every earnest purpose to live the godly life. The

formation and maintenance of such good habits is, further, a sign of

self-mastery in the spirit of loyalty and obedience to God. And such

self-mastery is the very beginning and necessary foundation

of all HIGH MORALITY and VIRTUE.  It guarantees that effort will be

made to enthrone God and duty over bodily passion, and over all life-




come to share in worship “to be seen of men.” We may put the sensual (or

sensuous) above the spiritual. We may find our hearts satisfied with the

ceremonial. We may pride ourselves upon our regularity. Our very

familiarity with worship-forms may lead to repetition without thought or

feeling. The Judaism of the time of our Lord presents a painful instance of

how sadly the life may go out of a national religion, leaving only the formal

observance of ever-multiplying rites and ceremonies. And the

Mohammedan, dropping prostrate at the sound of the muezzin, and

incoherently muttering words of prayer, warns us of the insidious and fatal

peril of formalism in public religion.  The life we can put into

public worship must be the life which has been touched, quickened, and

cultured by God into strength, in our prayer-chamber at home. We cannot,

with any surety, get life at public worship; but we can always bring it with

us to the worship. The law works broadly, and it may be thus briefly

stated: The nourished and kept soul has life for worship. Then “forsake

not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is,”

(Hebrews 10:25) and see to it that you carry to the sanctuary of God

hearts beating high with love and reverence and trust.


2 “And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they

laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of

them that entered into the temple;” That was lame for lame, Authorized

Version; door for gate, Authorized Version.  Door. If any distinction is intended

between the θύραν thuran - door here and the πύλη pulaegate of v. 10

(which is not certain, as θύρα is often used for a gate), we must

understand θύρα of the double doors of the gate described by Josephus.

Perhaps the lame man leaned against one of the open doors. Which is called

Beautiful. It is not certain what gate this was. In the ‘Dictionary of the

Bible’ it is described as “the great eastern gate leading from the court of

the women to the upper court,” following apparently Josephus, ‘De Bell.

Jud.,’ 5. 5:3. But it is impossible to reconcile Josephus’s two accounts —

that in the ‘Bell. Jud.,’ 5. 5. and that in ‘Ant. Jud.,’ 15. 11. In the former he

says distinctly that there were ten gates — four on the north, four on the

south, and two on the east. In the latter he says there were three gates on

the north, three on the south, and one on the east. In the former he says

that fifteen steps led up from the women’s enclosure to the great gate,

exactly opposite the gate of the temple itself (ἄντικρυ τῆς τοῦ ναοῦ πυλῆς

antikru taes tou naou pulaes); in the latter he says very distinctly that women

were allowed  to enter through the great gate on the east. With such

discrepancies in the description of the only eye-witness whose evidence has

been preserved, it is impossible to speak with certainly. But it seems probable

that there were two gates on the east — one the beautiful and costly gate of

Corinthian brass, elaborately described by Josephus, through which the women

did pass; the other the greater gate, just opposite to and above the beautiful

gate ( ὑπὲρ τὴν Κορινθίαν hae huper taen Korinthian), leading from the court

of the women to the inner court; and that Josephus has confounded one with the

other in his descriptions. Anyhow, the beautiful gate was probably on the east.

Its correct name is said to be the gate of Nicanor. The temple. It must be

remembered that the whole platform, including the porches, and the courts

of the Gentiles and of the women, and the outer court and the court of the

priests, was called τὸ ἱερόν – to hieronsanctuary; temple; sacred place;

the actual house was called ναός – ho naosshrine; sanctuary; temple;

that part of the ἱερόν to which only Israelites were admitted, was called τὸ ἅγιον

to hagion - sanctuary.  Josephus also divides the precincts into the first, second,

and third ἱερόν. The description of this lame man laid at the gate of the temple

to ask alms is very similar to that in Luke 16:20 of Lazarus laid at the rich man’s

gate; only that the word for laid is Luke ἐπέβλητο epeblaetowas laid; had

been cast, and here is ἐτίθουν etithoun  laid; they placed.




The Kinship between Religion and Charity (v. 2)


From the exegetical portion of the Commentary materials for the

introduction may be obtained. Such introduction should treat of the

suffering poor in the East, showing how necessarily dependent they were

upon promiscuous charity. With their condition may be contrasted the care

for the poor in all Christian lands, and the provision of hospitals and

institutions for their relief. Some account may also be given of Herod’s

temple, and the position of the gate called Beautiful. Josephus says the

other gates were overlaid with gold and silver, but this one, which was

probably the gate on the east, which led from the court of the women, was

“made of Corinthian bronze, and much surpassed in worth those enriched

with silver and gold.” It may further be shown how this miracle, wrought

by the agency of Peter, resembles the gracious miracles of healing

wrought by our Lord Himself. The picture of this poor and hopelessly

suffering man suggests the following topics for meditation:




FAMILY. This, as a fact, may be variously illustrated, and it may be

shown, from our Lord’s teachings, that neither bodily infirmities and

disabilities, nor earthly calamities, are necessarily direct results of personal

sin or fault. They are oftentimes hereditary consequences of ancestral sin.

They are often products of circumstances and conditions of life, over which

the sufferer had no control. They may be regarded as the great sin-burden

lying on the race, and borne more evidently by some members for the sake

of all. So long as the race is sinful, it must have the character of its

sinfulness marked and impressed by manifest, painful, unsightly, revolting,

and apparently hopeless forms of “suffering” all around it. The “suffering”

as well as the “poor” we have always with us.




For, if we look upon them aright, we regard them as bearing the common

burden, and so bearing our burden. We might have been among the blind,

or dumb, or lame, or idiotic, or paralyzed; and it is never enough that we

thank God for our freedom from special disabilities; our thankfulness only

finds its natural and proper expression in caring for, helping, and relieving

the disabled and distressed. Sufferers, wherever they are found, should

touch our hearts with tender emotions. We should have such an open,

sensitive heart as can take them all in. It is well if we show special interest

in some particular class of sufferers — the orphan, incurable, lame, sick

children, deaf and dumb, etc. To take a higher ground, our Lord is the

great Sufferer, and so the head of all sufferers. Therefore, for His sake, and

as showing our tender sympathy and love for Him, we should take His

suffering brethren into our love and care. “Doing it to the least of the

brethren is doing it to him.”  (Matthew 25:40,45)  “He that loveth God

[his Father] should love his brother also.” (I John 4:21)




RELIGIOUS. It is a fact that systematic efforts for the welfare of the

naturally disabled are only found in lands where Christian thought and

feeling prevail. It may be illustrated and enforced:


Ø      That this connection between religion and brotherly charity is natural It

is the fitting impulse of “human kindness” that leads us to care for others,

but it is the special impulse of that new feeling that comes with personal

and saving relations with Christ.


Ø      That this connection is right. Urged as such by Divine command and

Divine example, as well as by the example of all noble and holy men.


Ø      This connection has been, in Christian lands, fairly well met. Show into

how varied spheres Christian benevolence and charity may now run. Ask

earnestly, and with direct applications — Is it true, individually for us, that

our piety has cultured into holy vigor our charity? If not, it is of little

worth to us or to others.



3 “Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an

alms.” To receive an alms for an alms, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus.

The Received Text has ἐλεημοσύνην λαβεῖν eleaemosunaen labein.


4 “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.”

Fastening his eyes (ἀτενίσαςεἰς αὐτόνatenisas eis autonlooking

intently….into him). Compare Luke 4:20, “The eyes of all were fastened upon

Him (ἤσαν ἀτένιζοντες aesan atenizonteswere looking intently);” and

ibid. ch. 22:56, “looking steadfastly.” Luke also uses the phrase in here in v. 12;

ch.1:10; 6:15; 7:55; but it is found nowhere else in the New Testament except

II Corinthians 3:7,13.


5 “And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of

them.” From for of, Authorized Version.


6 “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee:

In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  But for then,

Authorized Version; what I have that for such as I have, Authorized Version;

walk for rise up and walk, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. In the name

of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. What Peter meant by “in the Name,” he clearly

explains in vs. 12 and 16, where he shows that they did not work the miracle

by their own power or godliness, but that the lame man was healed by the

Name of Jesus, in which he believed. So our Lord said of Himself, I am come

in my Father’s Name” (John 5:43; compare ibid. ch.10:25) Observe the full

designation of our Lord as “Jesus Christ of Nazareth (τοῦ Ναζωραίου tou

Nazoraiouthe Nazarene), as in ch. 4:10, and compare Matthew 2:23. The faith

which was the condition of the healing (ἐπὶ τῇ πίστειepi tae pisteion the faith;

belief - v. 16) embraced the humiliation and cross of the Christ (as expressed in

the word the Nazarene) as well as His power and glory.



Spiritual Riches (v. 6)


“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee:

in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  The whole scene

suggestive on the subject of the state of man. The contrast between the man lying in

squalid misery at the gate of the temple and the splendors of the religious edifice.

What was that religion which could bear to see such sights daily, and had

no message for the poor? All gospels must be tried by this test: preach

them to the poor. The men who wrought the miracle had learned to cast

themselves on God for the things of this world. They were as poor as the

beggar, yet rich in the gifts of God. They had access to the Church’s

offerings, yet, with a very unpriest-like self-denial, could say they had

nothing. At the gate of the temple, at the hour of prayer, learn this great

lesson of Divine endowment and prosperity.


  • A great example of PERSONAL WEALTH. “Such as I have.” What

was it? The Holy Ghost filling all the nature. Consider the two men, Peter

and John. What wealth of knowledge, insight, power over the souls of

others! Even in external aspects, the results upon the life of the world

traceable to these two names, immeasurable; yet they were both fishermen

of Galilee. What they had had been given them by God. The endowment

which enabled them to heal one whom the world could not lift up. Surely

an infinitely greater gift to be able to work such works than any of those

distinctions of literary genius or artistic skill which the world so

extravagantly rewards. Such wealth is ours as believers, in greater or less

degree — a wealth which no man can take from us, which grows by prayer

and effort, which cannot die with us; “their works do follow them.” 

(Revelation 14:13)  The Church should seek this wealth of the Spirit,

not, as the false Church has done, the wealth that perishes, lest the money

should perish with it.


  • An impressive illustration of GOD’S METHOD OF LIFTING UP THE

WORLD from its ruin. Show that both CHURCH and STATE have failed.

The temple may have beautiful gates, but be full of hideous idolatry and

shame. The State may abound in silver and gold, and yet present to the eye

such lamentable pictures of helplessness, revealing its own impotence, as the

poor beggar, daily passed by at the most public place and the most sacred place

of the city. The present aspect of both the professedly religious world and the

social condition of our great populations demand a confession of man’s

inability to produce a really happy society. Here there is:


Ø      The Name of Jesus Christ proclaimed as the new power that is wanted,

as a redemption of the world from sin, setting spiritual life at the root

of all other life, healing the miseries of men with compassion and

wonderful works, promising the entire renovation both of body and



Ø      The true Church holds the lever in its hand by which the world shall be

lifted up. We want the two apostles, the Petrine spirit of faith, the

Johannine spirit of love. We must speak clearly and without reserve,

in the Name of Christ, not in the name of ecclesiastical power and

ritualistic display, to the poorest, and without greed of filthy lucre;

and we must prepare to put forth such energy and gifts as we have,

all alike, and in the spirit of fellowship; then we shall fill the world

with praise, and the lame man shall leap as a hart, and the tongue of

the dumb sing (see Isaiah 35., as a prediction of the Church’s power

over the world). The message is individual to the rich and to the poor,

“Rise up and walk.” No life is true life which is not blessed of God.



Responsibility in the Possession of Power (v. 6)


Travelers tell us that one of the saddest things to be seen in Eastern

countries is the crowding of beggars in the approaches to Mohammedan

mosques, and at the gates of cities and large houses; many of them

presenting the most painful and revolting pictures of human suffering. The

stationing of beggars, especially maimed beggars, at the gate of the temple,

was evidently suggested by the persuasion that the feelings of those who

were proceeding to, or had been engaged in, an act of solemn worship,

would be more inclined to charity and benevolence than at ordinary times.

Notice the words actually spoken to the beggar by Peter, and consider


(1) The consciousness of power, and

(2) the responsibility of conscious power.


  • THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF POWER. “Such as I have give I thee.”

Peter felt that he had something. He knew that he could benefit and bless

the sufferer, if not in the precise way which the man anticipated. The

common power of “silver and gold” Peter had not; the far better power,

to heal, Peter had. What we so greatly need is to awake to the

consciousness of the power that we have in Christ Jesus; to believe in the

abundant and varied powers with which the Church of Christ and the

individual Christian are endowed. We should expect to see signs of power

in each other, as fellow-Christians. God never renews any man by His Spirit

without also endowing him with a gift, or talent, in trust. Powers differ in

different men. Each man has his own.


Ø      Wealth is a powera dreadful power, if it has not been first laid on

      the altar of Christ, and then taken up and used as His; a glorious power

      if, on starting life, the soul has made a great covenant with Christ, and

      solemnly vowed that whatever may be gained shall be consecrated to



Ø      Intellect is a power. Every man who knows a little more than his

      neighbor has a power. He can teach, he can enlighten, he can lead.

      But a man may have little money and little mind, and yet have the

      trust of that far higher thing — spiritual power. He may be

            able to lay hold of, and use for the blessing of others, the “great

            power of God.” That “spiritual power” lies dormant too often in us.

            We need something to work in us as in Peter, and waken the

            consciousness of our trust; something stirring in us mighty impulses,

            shaking us out of our apathy and selfishness, compelling us to say,


o       “A witness for Christ has to be made, and I must help to make it;

o       a work for Christ has to be done, and I must help to do it;

o       the world has to be won for Christ, and I must set to work to

      win the little piece of the world in which God has been

      pleased to put me!



to us are for our giving away to others. All God’s strength is for use.


Ø      If He makes an arm strong, it is for work.

Ø      If He makes a voice strong, it is that it may plead with others for Him.

Ø      If he makes a heart strong, it is that it may inspire others to nobler things.


     There is no Divine blessing that is intended to rest with us. All blessings that

     flow to us are to flow through us, gain force from us, and flow on in refreshings

     beyond us. If you are compelled to recognize the fact that you could:


o       you  could give,

o       you could teach,

o       you could sympathize,

o       you could cheer,


          then upon you rests a solemn responsibility. What you can do for Christ and

          for His brethren, you are bound, by all holy persuasions and considerations,

          to do. Such as you have, by gracious trusts from God, that you must be ever

          ready to give and spend and use for the service and the blessing of others.


Ø      Silver and gold I have and such I provide for you!

Ø      Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give to you!


7 “And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his

feet and ankle bones received strength.”  Raised for lifted, Authorized Version;

his ankle-bones for ancle bones, Authorized Version.  Luke’s medical knowledge

discerns the cause of the lameness — a weakness in the anklebones.


8 “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple,

walking, and leaping, and praising God.” And leaping up, he stood, and began

to walk, for and he, leaping up, stood and walked, Authorized Version; he entered

for entered, Authorized Version. Into the temple (τὸ ἱερόν). He passed through the

gate, and mounted the fifteen steps which led into the ἅγιον (see note to v. 2).


9 “And all the people saw him walking and praising God:”

10 “And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate

of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that

which had happened unto him.”  Took knowledge of him for knew, Authorized

Version. Wonder and amazement (θαμβους - thambouswonder; awe ); any very

strong emotion of awe, or admiration, or astonishment. It occurs elsewhere only in

Luke 4:36, where it describes the awe and amazement which came upon those who

witnessed the casting out of the unclean spirit from the man in the synagogue at

Capernaum. The verb θαμβέω thambeobeing awed -  occurs in ch.9:6 in the

Textus Receptus, and is rendered “astonished” in the Authorized Version, but is

omitted in the text of  the Revised Version; elsewhere only in Mark. 1:27; 10:24,32.

Ἕκθαμβοι ekthamboigreatly wondering; over-awed -  occurs once in v. 11 of this

chapter; and ἐκθαμβέομαι ekthambeomai - in Mark 9:15; 14:33; 16:5-6; ἔκστασις

ekstasistrance; ecstasy, an ecstasy, mostly used of a state of transport, as ch.10:10;

11:5; 22:17. But in the Septuagint (Genesis 27:33), Mark 5:42; 16:8; and Luke 5:26,

it is used, as here, for a violent emotion of astonishment  and amazement.



The Healing of the Lame Man (vs. 1-10)


  • THE ANTECEDENTS OF THE CURE. Peter and John were going up

in company to the temple at the evening hour of prayer. Here we see:


Ø      The fellowship of different orders of minds in Christ. None more diverse

in character and temperament than the impulsive Peter and the

contemplative John.


Ø      Prayer one of the bonds of this fellowship, as expressed in the beautiful

hymn, “How blest the tie that binds!”


Ø      An example of the profit of set times and seasons for worship. (See on

the three times of daily prayer — the third, sixth, and ninth hours —

Daniel 6:10 and Psalm 55:18.) And the good also of a fixed place

of prayer. The temple, the synagogue, the Church, or the meeting-house;

each has its hallowed and happy associations. How greatly devotion is

helped by the imagination, and the imagination how dependent upon

association, must be obvious to all.


Ø      The path of true devotion is often found to be the path that leads to

useful service to others.


  • THE SUFFERER. Lame from his birth, deprived of that power of

independent activity in which so much of the enjoyment of life consists, he

is the type of a deeply pitiable class. To have health is so great a blessing,

because it carries with it that of command over one’s powers, and

therefore freedom and independence. He was helplessly dependent —

borne by others. Such sufferings remind us of the presence of moral evil,

which can neither be explained nor explained away. But there are

compensations. The lame man had friends. Seldom does such misery fail to

stir up pity and enlist help. Outward evils are ever balanced in the Divine

wisdom by inward good. We never know the kindness of man to man till

sickness and sorrow reveal it. They carried him to one of the splendid

gateways of the temple, that he might be in the way of the charitable

droppings of alms from those that went in. The religious duty of almsgiving

was preached up by the rabbis incessantly and in the strongest way — even

to excess, as we may see from Lightfoot and other authors. One noted

saying was that God suffered the poor to exist that rich men might earn

heaven. Our theological and our practical views of the subject have

changed. But at least we have a good example here: we should exert

ourselves to place the sufferer within reach of help. The great problem of

true charity is to bring the supply and the need into practice. If the

intention be loving and good, something better often comes of it than is

hoped for, as in this case. The sufferer, intent upon the minor boon,

receives the higher blessing. So does a living Divine purpose shape our

actions to nobler ends than we designed.


  • THE CURE. There is human means with Divine agency.


Ø      The human means. The apostles fix their eyes earnestly upon the

sufferer. Thus his attention is aroused; his thoughts are collected; he is

brought into a concentration of thought and feeling. It is not to the

wandering mind that God reveals either His thought or His power. The eyes

must be lifted up to the quarter whence help comes. He who is conscious

of bearing God’s message to the souls of men may cry, “Look on me; listen

to me!” Faith is not passive; it is an energy, expressed by looking, listening,

coming, doing. Thus only can the electric chain be completed; the healer

and the healed be brought into vital contact. Directions must be complied

with as the first condition of physical healing and of spiritual salvation. The

best gift we have for our fellow-men is the gift of the head and heart. This

is lasting; others perish in the using. We cannot lose the memory nor the

blessing of good words. If we have no money to give in alms, we may

make our fellow-man rich from our heart. Intelligence and sympathy are

what all men want, and none are thankless for. We reap ingratitude where

we have not really shown our heart. The best spiritual gifts recognize the

worth of the recipient. Let us treat men as our equals — beings possessed

of will. There are possibilities before them; let us reckon upon them and

believe in them, thus inspiring them in their weakness with such healthy



Ø      The Divine power in the human means. We cannot command our fellowmen

except in the name of some authority which both he and we are

subject to. He who can rest his appeals upon the firm words, “By order,”

or “In the name of the queen,” or the like, has a might over wavering wills.

Really to govern means first to have obeyed. The “Name” here signified a

vast reality. “Jesus Christ of Nazareth!” It is the symbol of all power in

heaven and earth; supreme, unrivalled, purely loving and beneficent. As

ministers of Christ, we are servants of the Almighty, channels of charity,

agents of a kingdom that must prevail. This power will be felt both by

words and deeds.


    • The tones of Peter’s voice thrilled;
    • his bidding awoke the slumbering power of volition; finally,
    • his hand, joined with that of the sufferer, completed the union of

      the Divine agency to save with the sufferer’s will to be saved.


§         The weak feet and joints became firm;

§         the formerly prostrate one leaped up and stood;

§         from this proceeded to walk; and

§         finally went with the healers into the temple, exultingly

      to render praise to God.


            The thankful heart is the best sacrifice we can offer to God.

            Without it, the best crown of the blessing He designs to confer is not

            attained. If men see our state changed, but not our heart, God is

            defrauded of His glory and His due in us. The joy of the comforted

            heart is the best proof of the love of the Comforter. He means our

            freedom and our joy; what if we disappoint His thought, so that it

            flowers not and bears no fruit?




Ø      Popular observation. They identified the man. They compared his

present and past condition. Comparison is the foundation of our

knowledge of truth.


Ø      Popular reasoning. They argued that the change could proceed only

from one cause, and that Divine. The quality of changes points to the

quality of the cause. Extend this reasoning, and the best, as the most

popular, argument for Christianity is this:  THE CHANGES




Ø      Popular amazement and ecstasy. Such are the words of the historian.

Wonder is the reflection of the unusual and the unexpected in the mind.

And this passes into ecstasy or transport when through the sensuous the

supersensual, when through the natural the supernatural, appears. If all the

course of life were common and familiar, God would be forgotten. Were

wonders incessantly repeated they would become no longer wonders, and

their power were lost. God shows His hand now and again that the spell of

custom may be broken; hides it that we may reflect on what we have seen.

Mingled fear and joy ever attend Divine revelations; fear in the thought of

our utter dependence, joy in the thought that in that very dependence lies

our hope and our deliverance.



Helplessness and Healing (vs. 1-10)


In this interesting incident we have an illustration of the urgent spiritual

necessities of our race, and of the sufficiency of the gospel to meet them.

We have:


  • A GREAT AND SAD CONTRAST. They brought daily to the Beautiful

gate of the temple a lame beggar, who asked alms of all that entered (vs.

2-3). What a striking contrast is here! — the large, strong, handsome gate,

wrought by the most skilful workmen, intended to add beauty and

attractiveness to the magnificent temple, an object of keen, universal

admiration; and, laid down at the foot of it, a poor, ill-clad, deformed,

helpless beggar, fain to find a miserable existence by asking the pity of all

that passed through. Such contrasts has sin introduced into this world. If

we look on this whole fabric of nature as a temple in which God manifests

His presence, and on our earth, with all its loveliness and grandeur, as one

of its beautiful gates, then we see, in strongest and saddest contrast with it,

stricken, helpless, deformed human nature — man brought down to the

very ground, unable to sustain himself, the pitiful object of compassion: we

behold the fair workmanship of God with all its exquisite beauty, and we

see sinning, erring, suffering, fallen man by its side.


  • A PICTURE OF SIN IN ITS STRENGTH. What more forcible

illustration of this can be found than in a man lame from his birth (v. 2)?

One born to the heritage of mankind, viz. that of voluntary, happy activity;

of walking, running, moving, whithersoever he would, with free power of

motion, in all acts of duty, pleasure, affection; — this man doomed to utter

helplessness, his deformity or disease becoming more rigid and incurable as

the months and years pass by! What a picture, this, of our human spirit,

created to enjoy the heritage of a holy intelligence, viz. that of free and

happy activity in all the ways of righteousness, piety, usefulness; of moving

joyously along all the paths in which God invites His children to walk; yet,

from the very beginning, being utterly unable to walk in the way of His

commandments, to run in the paths of wisdom and of peace, incapable of

doing that for which it was called into being, and becoming more rigidly

and hopelessly fixed in its spiritual incapacity year by year.




Ø      It demands attention. Peter... with John, said, Look on us” (v. 4).

The gospel of Christ has a right to make this same appeal to all men. No

seeking, struggling soul has a right to be regardless of its offers. The

beneficent and mighty works of Jesus Christ; the profound spiritual truths

He uttered; the beautiful and exalted life He lived; the strange and wondrous

death He died; the message of love He left behind Him; the adaptation,

proved by twenty centuries of human history, of His system to the deepest

wants of human nature; — all these conspire to give to the gospel of God

the right to demand attention — to say, “Look on me;” see whether there

is not in me the help and healing which you need.


Ø      It disclaims certain offices. “Silver and gold have I none,” etc. (v. 6).

The gospel does not offer to do everything for man which it may be

desirable should, in some way, be done. It does not propose


o       to effect renovation by revolutionary social changes, or

o       to bring about immediate improvement in the outward conditions

of a man’s life, or

o       to guarantee bodily health or immunity from temporal trouble and

domestic loss. It tends to ameliorate the condition of mankind in

every way, and ultimately it does so; but its first promise, and that

by which it is to be tested and judged, is not of this order.


Ø      It offers one essential service. “In the Name of Jesus Christ rise up and

walk” (v. 6). It says:


o       to the stricken, wounded soul, “Wilt thou be made whole?”

o       to the soul burdened with a sense of sin, it offers pardoning love

and spiritual peace;

o       to the heart oppressed with care and fear, it offers a Divine refuge

in which to hide;

o       to the soul struggling with temptation, an almighty Friend;

o       to the weary traveler, a home of rest and joy.


Whatever is the one imperative thing, that the gospel of Christ presents;

but its offer is inward, spiritual, heavenly.


  • THE BLESSED ISSUE. (vs. 7-10.) This was:


Ø      Healing to him that had been helpless.


Ø      Gratitude showing itself in praise.


Ø      Interested attention on the part of those outside: “They were filled with

wonder and amazement;” they were in a state most favorable for the

reception of the truth. When we make an appeal to Christ, we are not to be

satisfied until we have found spiritual recovery; until our souls are filled

with the spirit of thanksgiving; until our restoration has told upon our

neighbors as well as on ourselves.



The Apostles Workers of Miracles (vs. 1-10)


General introduction. The witnessing vocation of apostles required

miracles — as signs of the kingdom of Christ; as attestations of apostolic

authority; as appeals to the world, and to the Jewish people especially, to

accept the new doctrine; as corresponding in some measure to the miracles

of our Lord, and so perpetuating the blessing of His ministry which He

Himself promised in His last discourses, “Another Comforter, that he may

abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). Consider the miracle itself.




Ø      Purely benevolent. Performed on a beggar, helpless, miserable,

altogether unconnected with the new society, unable to reward his



Ø      Conspicuously real. At a public spot — the temple; at the ninth hour,

when worshippers would throng to the place; on one well known to the

whole city; daily laid as a public object of pity; helped by no one before,

but now helped through Christ; born lame, therefore not laboring under

merely temporary infirmity; not even asked for by the sufferer, but

offered freely by the apostles, as by a sudden impulse of the Spirit.




Ø      Upon the man himself. It raised him up physically and spiritually at the

same moment. God often thus speaks to the soul through the body, both

by afflictions and by visitations of mercy. It turned his wail of misery

into songs of joy. Take the description of the work upon the man as

typical of the course of gracious work, the bestowment of a new life

and strength, first putting us on our feet with sudden leap of heartfelt

gladness, of faith; then beginning, to walk,” feeling the new limbs

like a child; then walking forward into the temple; then “walking and

leaping and praising God,” the conscious participation in blessings

making us the ministers of joy to others, filling the temple with praise.


Ø      Upon the apostles and through them on the Church and on the world.

The important place of the miracle as evidence of the Divine mission of

the messengers. They themselves could scarcely have known what they

could do until, by impulse of the Spirit, they put forth the energy. The

believers who were sharers with apostles of the gifts of the Spirit would

henceforth expect great things. Jerusalem must have been startled into

attention and incipient faith. “The people saw him,” etc. (vs. 9-10).

Although miracles regarded alone would never convert the world, yet

in connection with the Word of God they powerfully arouse the minds

of men. “Wonder and amazement” are God’s agents in awakening the

soul and preparing the ground for the seed of eternal life. Another great

effect of the miracle was corrective and didactic (instructive). No one

could doubt that the apostles were no self-seekers, no fanatics, no

ambitious founders of a new sect but simply heralds of the gospel.

What they did was “in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”

They began their work upon the poor, they appealed to the

impotent and the helpless, they proclaimed their own poverty, and yet

invited men to riches such as the world knew not. They showed

themselves the sympathizing brothers of all mankind, ready to give

such as they had to give, without money and without price, a pattern

of simplicity and spirituality.


11 “And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the

people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly

wondering.” He for the lame man which was healed, Authorized Version and

Textus Receptus. The words of the Textus Receptus are thought to have crept into

the text from the portions read in church beginning here, which made it necessary

to supply them. Held; by the hand or otherwise; not have to in the spiritual sense.

The porch that is called Solomon’s. Josephus tells us that King Solomon built

up with masonry only the eastern side of the temple enclosure, and that

upon the artificial foundation thus formed one στοά - stoaportico; porch, or

covered colonnade, was built, the other sides of the temple in Solomon’s time

being naked and bare of buildings, but that in process of time, and by an

enormous expenditure of treasure, the ground was filled up, leveled, and

made firm by the masonry of huge walls all round, and then the circuit of

buildings was completed. This eastern στοά, or colonnade, was called

Solomon’s porch (see John 10:23). Greatly wondering; ἔκθαμβοι

(over-awed - see note on v. 10).



The Unexpected Gift (vs. 1-11)


In one of those rapturous passages in which Paul tries to make human language

express adequate thoughts of God, he speaks of God as “able to do exceeding

abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).  In saying so he

does but mark, in one aspect, the distance between the finite and the infinite, and

show how far the bounty of the infinite Giver outruns the desires of those who

receive His gifts. (“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my

ways higher than your ways” – Isaiah 55:9) The whole revelation of God’s

dealings with mankind is A CONTINUAL ILLUSTRATION OF THIS TRUTH!   

How could it ever have entered into the mind of Abram to ask to be made the

father of many nations, to be the father of the faithful in all ages and in all

countries, to be the head of God’s elect people, and to have his life and his

words and his deeds handed down to the posterities through endless time?

How could it ever have entered into the mind of Israel in Egypt to ask to

be led dry-shod through the Red Sea, to be fed in the wilderness with bread

from heaven, to receive the Law from Sinai, and to be put into possession

of the land of Canaan? Or how could it ever have entered into the thoughts

of a rebellious and fallen world to ask that the only begotten Son of God,

their Maker and Lord, should be incarnate and expiate their guilt by dying

for their sins upon the cross? The section before us supplies another

instance of this exceeding grace of God. A poor cripple, lame from his

mother’s womb, had for upwards of forty years lived in hopeless and

helpless infirmity. In the merry days of youth, while his companions and

equals in years were sporting and gamboling in all the freeness of joyous

spirits and supple, elastic limbs, he was bound down to his pallet, like a

bird confined in a cage, or a dog chained in his kennel. In early manhood,

while others went forth to their work and to their labor, earning their daily

bread by honorable industry, he was reduced to be a beggar, living in

constrained inactivity upon the precarious bounty of others.

And so it was at the present time. Every day he was carried by some kind

hands and laid at the Beautiful gate of the temple, in the hope that those

who passed to and fro to the house of God would look with pity upon his

misery and minister to his wants. They must have been sad and dreary

hours passed in expectancy and frequent disappointment; watching the

countenances of the passers-by; overlooked by some, turned away from

with proud contempt by others; sharply refused by this well-dressed but

hard-hearted Sadducee, and occasionally receiving a mite or a farthing from

that ostentatious Pharisee; doubtful whether he would carry home enough

to supply his daily meal and his necessary raiment. On this occasion he saw

two men about to go into the temple. Perhaps their aspect awakened the

hope that there were kind, loving hearts beneath their humble garb. Or,

maybe, he merely uttered the usual monotonous prayer like that of the

Italian beggars, “Date qualque coea per l’amor di Dio.” Anyhow, we may

be sure that his utmost hopes did not go beyond receiving some small coin

at their bands. But when, in answer to the words from Peter’s lips, “Look

on us,” he had looked up and probably stretched out his hands to receive

the expected alms, instead thereof he heard the words, “In the Name of

Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” And in an instant he was

whole. No longer a cripple, no longer chained down to his bed, no longer a

prisoner, he sprang to his feet, he walked, he leapt, he danced for very joy,

and, singing praise as he went, he entered the holy courts. Here there was

an instance of God doing unto men exceeding abundantly above all that

they ask or think.  Here we have a type of the exceeding riches of God’s

grace, resulting in unlooked-for mercies to the children of men. Let us take

note of it, and frame our estimate of God’s character accordingly. Nothing

more elevates the tone of a man’s religion than a worthy conception of

God’s goodness. It stimulates his love, it kindles his adoration, it raises his

hopes, it intensifies all his spiritual emotions. Low conceptions of God’s

nature beget a low standard of love and service. There is nothing like a true

view of the infinity of the love of God, and of the unsearchable riches of His

grace in Jesus Christ, to lash all the sluggish emotions of the heart into a

holy and healthy enthusiasm. “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it,” (Psalm

81:10) is another mode of expressing the same blessed truth; and “Thanks be to God

for His unspeakable gift,” (II Corinthians 9:15) is the language of those whose

experience coincides with the revelation which God has given of Himself in His holy



12 “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of

Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as

though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?”

At this man for at this, Authorized Version; fasten ye your eyes for look ye so

earnestly, Authorized Version; godliness for holiness, Authorized Version;

him for this man, Authorized Version. The him at the end of the verse requires

that the man should have been previously mentioned. The Authorized Version

felt this, and so, having taken ἐπὶ τούτῳ - epi touto -  on this - as at this, they

rendered αὐτόνautonhim - by this man, as if Peter had supplied the

want of the verbal mention by pointing to him. Fasten ye your eyes. (For

the use of ἀτενίζετε atenizete - ye are looking intently, ye are stretching;

look ye so earnestly - see note on v. 4.)


13 “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our

fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and

denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let

Him go.” Servant for Son, Authorized Version; before the face for in the presence,

Authorized Version; had for was, Authorized Version; release Him for let Him go,

Authorized Version. The God of Abraham, etc. The continuity of the New Testament

with the Old Testament stands out remarkably in Peter’s address. He speaks to the

“men of Israel,” and he connects the present miracle with all that God had

done to their fathers in days gone by. He does not seem conscious of any

break or transition, or of any change of posture or position. Only a new

incident, long since promised by the prophets, has been added. “He thrusts

himself upon the fathers of old, lest he should appear to be introducing a

new doctrine” (Chrysostom). God... hath glorified His Servant Jesus.

Servant is manifestly right. It is the constant meaning of παῖς pais - in the

Septuagint; son is always υἱός huios - (see v. 26; ch. 4:27, 30).

In Matthew 12:18 the Authorized Version has “servant.” (For the Old Testament

usage, see Isaiah 42:1; 52:13; 53:11). Delivered up; παρεδώκατε paredokate

give up  different from the ἔκδοτον ekodotongiven up  of ch.2:23 (where see note).

The word is applied to the action of Judas in delivering up Jesus into the hands of

the chief priests (John 19:11), and to the action of Pilate in sending Jesus

to execution (Luke 23:25; John 19:16). Here it is spoken of the whole

action of the Jews in procuring the death of Jesus. Denied before the face

of Pilate. The reference is exact to Luke 23:13-23. To release Him. There

is a verbal agreement with Luke 23:16-17, 20.


14 “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to

be granted unto you;” Holy and righteous One for Holy One and the Just,

Authorized Version; asked for for desired, Authorized Version.


15 “ And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead;

whereof we are witnesses.” Raised for hath raised, Authorized Version.

The Prince of life; a remarkable title here given to our Lord, to bring out the

contrast between him whom they preferred and Him whom they rejected.

Barabbas was a murderer, one who took away human life for his own base ends;

the other was the Prince and Author of life, who was come into the world,

not to destroy men’s lives, BUT TO SAVE THEM!  This title, taken in connection

with the preceding declaration, “God hath glorified His Servant Jesus,” seems

almost to be a reminiscence of our Savior’s prayer, “Father,… glorify thy Son,

that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given Him power over all flesh,

that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him” (John

17:1-2). Jesus Himself in very many places dwells upon His own great

prerogative of giving life:


  • “I am come that they might have life, and.., have it more abundantly”

      (John 10:10);

  • “I am that Bread of life;” (ibid. ch. 6:48)
  • “I am the living Bread ... if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for

      ever;” (ibid. v. 51)

  • “I give… my flesh for the life of the world;” (ibid.)
  • “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life;”  (ibid. ch 5:40)
  • “They that hear shall live;” (ibid. v. 25)
  • “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to

      have life in Himself;” (ibid. v. 26)

  • “The Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should…

      have eternal life;” (ibid. ch. 3:14-15)

  • “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water

            springing up into everlasting life.” (ibid. ch. 4:14)


The word ἀρχηγόν archaegonprince; inaugurator - applied to Christ is

found also in ch. 5:31, and in Hebrews 2:10; 12:2, rendered the

Author or Captain of their salvation,” “of our faith.” Whereof we are

witnesses (see ch.2:22, note). The marginal rendering of whom is

equally literal, and may be defended by reference to ch. 1:8; 13:31;

but the rendering whereof is in accordance with the more frequent phrases

(ch. 5:32; 10:39, etc.). The meaning is practically the same.



The Apostolic Witness to Christ (vs. 13-15)


Our Lord distinctly appointed the apostles as His witnesses (ch. 1:8;

Luke 24:48).  In these their early sermons or addresses, we may find

the points which they considered were specially entrusted to them to

declare. They would be sure to give first the basis or foundation facts on

which the Christian system rested, and then gradually unfold the various

doctrines which were embodied in those facts. Their central, foundation

fact was their Lord’s resurrection. (“And with great power gave the apostles

witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus:  and great grace was upon

them all.” – ch. 4:33).  It even seems that, at first, the Resurrection stood out more

prominently before the apostles’ minds than the sacrifical death. The precise

proportions and relations of the Christian truths became matters of later adjustment;

and, indeed, we are still trying to get them complete and satisfactory. Very many of

the modern doctrinal controversies and sectarian disputes are occasioned by a failing

sense of the proportions and relations in the whole of truth; some things are

exaggerated and some underestimated; men fight hard for pieces of truth,

as if they were the whole. The true work, worthy to engage all our thought

and heart, is the fair estimate of all the various pieces, and the skilful

setting of each in its fitting place. In the early preaching of the apostles may

also be noticed how they seem to stand aside, so that CHRIST, THEIR LORD

AND MASTER, ONLY, may be seen and honored. In this following the example

of that Master, for He seemed ever to be stepping aside in order THAT MEN

MAY FULLY SEE THE FATHER! And in this also showing to us what is

the essential spirit of all Christian preaching. The preacher’s self must never be

prominent; we may only set forth “Christ Jesus the Lord.” The scene in

“Solomon’s porch,” or portico, may be described. It was on the eastern

side of the temple, and consisted of a double row of Corinthian columns,

about thirty-seven feet high. It was, like the porticoes of all Greek cities, a

favorite place of resort, especially as facing the morning sun in winter

(John 10:23). In this same portico Jesus Himself had taught. The

prominent points concerning the Lord Jesus presented by Peter are:



word Son would be better Servant, and then the passage (Isaiah 42:1),

“Behold my Servant, whom I uphold,” is at once brought to mind. In

addressing the Jews, it was necessary to show that no claim was made for

Jesus Christ as a new and independent God; the teaching of His divinity was

consistent with both the teaching of the Divine Unity, which was the Jews’

great truth, and the teaching of the Divine Trinity, which is the great

Christian truth. To the Jew a new God must be a false God, for Jehovah is

one. Messengers of Jehovah they could receive. Manifestations of Jehovah

they could accept. The conception of the “Son of God” was not to them an

impossible one. And therefore our Lord so earnestly pressed that the

Father God had sent Him; and the apostles urge that Jehovah’s seal of

acceptance rested on Him and on His work. This truth is needed still. We

cannot rest in the salvation wrought by Christ unless we can fully see that

IT IS GOD’S SALVATION!is God’s (see <430316>John 3:16).



Peter gives the fact that Jesus was “delivered up;” and the aggravation of

the fact — the clamors of malice actually overcame the natural sense of

justice in the Roman governor. In reminding the people of this, Peter

declares the Moral character of their act; and charges home upon the

people the guilt of the judicial murder of no less a person than the national

Messiah. For the actual denial of Christ, see John 19:15; and for the

purpose of Pilate to release Christ, ibid. v. 4. The fact of the denial is

made the basis of the appeal for repentance. The fact of the crucifixion is

urged as the guarantee of His actual death. Such enemies as they were

would never leave their work imperfect.



GOD. (v. 14.) The personal innocence of Jesus aggravates the iniquity

of those who secured His death; but it also bears directly upon the work of

redemption that He wrought. Had He to bear the true burden of penalty for

His own sins, He could not be the efficient Burden-bearer for others. Had He

spot, stain, or blemish, He could not be the acceptable sacrifice for humanity,

which must be the “Lamb without blemish.”  The personal innocence

and perfect virtue of the Savior is related in Hebrews 7:26 – Who is  “holy,

harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the




LIFE. (v. 15.) For the term “Prince of life,” see ch.5:31; Hebrews 2:10; 12:2.

It means, “He who is the source whence life and salvation flow.” The chief

thought in Peter’s mind is that of the Resurrection. He who conquered death

is “Prince of life,” and has power to give life. John also says, “In Him was

life, and the life was the light of men”  (John 1:4).  Our Lord Himself said,

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (ibid. ch. 14:6); “I am come that

they  might have life” (ibid. ch. 10:10); “I give unto them eternal life.”

(ibid. v. 28)  The worthy apprehension of what Christ is, and can do, makes

the Jewish denial and crucifixion of Him a most hateful crime; and our

long neglect of Him our unspeakable shame (Hebrews 2:3-4).




RESURRECTION. (v. 15) There are important inferences to be drawn

from the fact of the resurrection, and especially this one:




            Therefore to Him every knee should bow, and to Him every sin -burdened

heart should seek. So it is seen that the apostles were true preachers, model



Ø      they set Jesus forth, and

Ø      they bid all eyes look to Him.


            (I highly recommend Spurgeon’s sermons:


o       Life for a Look;

o       Sovereignty and Salvation;

o       The Life Look


          all from Isaiah 45 – this website – CY – 2016)


16 “And His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong,

whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given

him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

By faith in His Name hath this for His Name through .faith in

His Name, Authorized Version: the order of the words is changed from that of

the Authorized Version, to bring it into accordance with the order of the Greek,

but with a great loss of force in English; behold for see, Authorized Version;

through for by, Authorized Version. Yea, the faith; rather, and the faith. The two

propositions are not the same. The first affirms that it is the Name of Jesus which

has given him strength, objectively; the second that the faith (subjective) which

is through or by Him hath given him perfect soundness. There is some obscurity in

the exact meaning of πίστιςδι αὐτοῦ - hae pistis hae di autou - the faith the

through Him. Some compare I Peter. 1:21, and make God the object of the faith

of His witnesses, Peter and John. Others understand that the faith in the Name of

Christ was wrought in Peter and John by or through Christ’s ministry and

resurrection. But it is much more consonant with other passages (ch.14:9; 16:31, etc.;

Matthew, 15:28, etc.) to understand the faith to be that of the man who was healed;

and then the phrase, “which is through Him,” will denote naturally that it was

through Jesus Christ that the man’s faith brought him into contact, so to speak,

with God who healed him. In the same spirit we read that the lame man “praised God”

(vs. 8-9) for the cure effected through the Name of Jesus Christ; and Peter says (v. 15),

“Whom God raised from the dead. The interpretation of the phrase  δι αὐτοῦ -

hae di autouthe through him -  depends upon whether we supply an active or a

passive word. The faith which acts, or works, or moves through him is one way of

understanding it; the faith which is wrought or produced through him is the

other. The first is preferable. This perfect soundness; pointing to what

they saw with their own eyes while the man was leaping and dancing

before them (ὁλοκληρίανholoklaerian -  perfect, unimpared soundness, used

only here in the New Testament; it is a medical term).



The Power of Faith (v. 16)


“And His Name,” etc.




Ø      His personal merit as Redeemer. He Himself worked miracles; not as

a mere instrument in the hands of God, but as Divine. When He left the

world, He appointed His apostles to be His representatives, giving them

all power in heaven and earth in His Name. He ascended to the right

hand of God as an accepted Savior, and from thence sends down the



Ø      His royalty as Head of the Divine kingdom. The sufferings of the world

belong to its state of ruin, though not caused by the sin of the individual.

The kingdom of Christ is set up in the midst of the fallen race to bring

about “the restitution of all things.” The heavens are opened. The light

comes down into the darkness.


Ø      His Name as an object of faith. The spiritual draws up the lower world

into itself. To believe is to lay hold of the hand which exalts us. As Peter

laid hold of the lame man by the right hand and raised him up, so the

representatives of Christ lay hold of a dying world; and whosoever

believeth in Him shall not perish, but rise with him into a new life.




Ø      From the Church upon the world. By listening to the world’s cries, and

directing the souls of men to the true Help. By taking the sufferers by the

hand and calling down upon them the blessing of God. By proclaiming

everywhere the gospel of “perfect soundness,” in lieu of the world’s

false gospels of imperfect remedies, and as a free gift of God to man.

The Church should not rest satisfied while there is little manifestation

of the power of faith in the works accomplished. Why are we content

to go to and fro to the temple, and see the wretchedness of fellow-

creatures, without attempting to remove it? Why is any enterprise

reckoned impossible? No limits to the successes of the Church when

she is filled with faith. We want to lead the world “leaping and

praising God” into the temple of his truth. We shall do it, not by

argument, not by ritual, not by excitement, but by the putting forth 

of the power of the Holy Ghost.



The Power of Christ’s Name (vs. 6,16)


The Revised Version, in its rendering of v. 16, sets the Name forth even

more prominently than the Authorized Version. It reads, “And by [or, ‘on

the ground of’] faith in His Name hath His Name made this man strong.”

This represents the actual order of the Greek words. The incident is so

graphically described by Luke, that a suggestive picture of the scene may

be given as introduction. The point of difference between this and our

Lord’s miracles which needs attention is this: Our Lord required signs of

faith before He wrought His miracles Peter did not wait for such signs in

this object of the healing power. Two reasons may help to explain the

difference. Peter had to show the faith which he and the other apostles

had in Christ. Signs of their faith were just then the important thing, rather

than signs of the man’s faith. As our Lord acted directly, and not as an

agent, He could give entire attention to the receptivity, of the

objects of His power. And we may also say that the miracle was wrought

rather for the people’s sakes than for the man’s. It was a call to them to

give heed to the apostles’ witness; and therefore Peter was, properly,

more concerned about the influence of the miracle on the people than even

about the moral condition of the lame man. Peter acted on a sudden

impulse of the Holy Ghost which dwelt in him, and it was fitting that he

and the rest of the disciples should keep themselves open to the Spirit’s

leadings, ready to follow and obey the inward inspirations and monitions.

Compare Paul’s response to Divine direction, in ch. 16:6-10. We

need, in these days, to recover our lost faith in the presence and lead of

God the Holy Ghost, and to win the attitude of watching for His gracious

guidance. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of

God.  Peter s explanation of the miracle is that it was wrought in the

“power of Christ’s Name.” This we endeavor to understand.



A name should be the expression of what a thing is, or what a man is.

Nowadays names of persons are conventional and without significance;

they are fixed by accident or by sentiment. In olden times they held

meanings, and were appropriate to individuals; so a name was an

explanation or revelation. In sympathy with this it is said that the redeemed

are to have a “new name” on their foreheads.  (Revelation 22:4)  It will

gather up into an expression their privilege and their joy as the fully redeemed.

F. W. Robertson, in his sermon on ‘Jacob wrestling’ (First Series, p. 41), says,

“In the Hebrew history are discernible three periods distinctly marked, in

which names and words bore very different characters. In the first of these

periods names meant truths, and words were the symbols of realities. The

characteristics of the names given then were simplicity and sincerity. The

second period begins about the time of the departure from Egypt, and it is

characterized by unabated simplicity, with the addition of sublimer thought

and feeling more intensely religious. The third period was at its zenith in

the time of Christ — words had lost their meaning, and shared the hollow,

unreal state of all things. Jacob lived in the first age, when men are sincere

and truthful and earnest, and names exhibit character. To tell Jacob the

Name of God was to reveal to him what God is and who.” “The use of

Name as the equivalent of power is very Jewish. It grew out of such

passages as Psalm 106:8, ‘He saved them for His Name’s sake.’ In the

literature of the Jews great power was attributed to the Name of God, even

when only inscribed, e.g. as it was said in tradition to have been on the rod

of Moses.” The Name of “Jesus of Nazareth stands, therefore, for His

Messiahship, His mission, His infinite worthiness, His accepted work, and

His present power. Or, we may say, it stands for Him, and sets Him forth as

the present Redeemer, “able to heal and to save unto the uttermost.”

          (Hebrews 7:25)



would be a familiar association to the Jew.


Ø      God was in the bush, but Moses only had His Name.

Ø      God delivered Israel from Egypt, but Israel knew Him present with

      them only in His Name.


          They worshipped a God whom they never saw, and only could “exalt by

          His great Name, JAH. And so Jesus Christ was gone out of the sphere

          of the senses. Really, however, present still, spiritually present, and working

          gracious and mighty works through faith in His Name. This is all we have of

          Christ — His Name. And yet for us too it is the grasping of the spiritual

          reality of His presence.


  • CHRIST’S NAME CAN HEAL THE SICK. Because He is present in

the Name. “The Name did not work as a formula of incantation; it

required, on the part both of the worker and receiver, faith in that which

the Name represented — the manifestation of the Father through the Son!

The most striking illustration of the apostle’s faith in Christ’s Name, i.e.

Christ’s actual presence and power to heal, is found in the recovery of

Aeneas (ch.9:34). Peter spoke as if he saw Christ there, saying,

AEneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.”



outward and material healings are but illustrations of what Christ is now

doing in moral spheres, in our hearts and lives, if we will, by faith, open to

Him. And what is called faith is simply this: soul-opening to the living

Saviour, who, in His Divine power and grace, can come in, and heal, and

cleanse, and save. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,”  (Revelation

3:20)  Are you open to Christ?  In all healing and saving work, man may be

the agent, but the power lies in the Name, which gathers up for us

a present living Savior.


17 “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did

also your rulers.”  In for through, Authorized Version. I wot that in ignorance, etc.

Mark the inimitable skill and tenderness with which he who had just wounded by

his sharp rebuke now binds up the wound. All sternness and uncompromising

severity before, he is all gentleness and indulgence now. They were only

“men of Israel in v. 12, now they are “brethren.” He has an excuse for

their grievous sin. They did it in ignorance (compare Luke 23:33; I Timothy 1:13).

Only let them see their error and repent of what they had done, and their

forgiveness was sure.


18 “But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all

His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.”

The things for those things, Authorized Version; foreshowed or before had

showed, Authorized Version; the prophets for his prophets, Authorized Version

and Textus Receptus; His Christ for Christ, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus;

He thus fulfilled for He hath so fulfilled, Authorized Version. He even excuses their

ignorance by showing how the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God was

brought about through it (compare Genesis 45:5).



Man’s Ruling and God’s Overruling (vs. 17-18)


Peter admits that the rejection of Christ was done through ignorance,

but he does not allow that this is a sufficient excuse. Ignorance has many

degrees, and may arise from many causes. It may be willful. It may be a

consequence of cherished prejudices, and then it is guilty ignorance. The

Jewish multitude were ignorant from want of teaching, their rulers from

mental perverseness in looking only on one part of the prophecies

concerning the Messiah. For the treatment of the relation of “ignorance”

to “guilt,” compare Paul’s teachings in ch. 17:30; I Timothy 6:13.

The point which Peter dwells on in these verses is, that in the

rejection and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, men appeared

to act on their own will and to carry out their own plans; but the deeper

fact was that they accomplished the Divine purposes and fulfilled the

divinely given prophecies. Scripture writers do not discuss the harmony

between Divine sovereignty and man’s free-will; but they show us man

acting freely, and then draw aside the veil, and show us God’s purpose

accomplished by that very action that seemed to be so free. And the

explanation is this — that all God’s plans are formed upon perfect

consideration of all that will occur; and this includes the Divine knowledge

of how men will act, in their free will, in particular circumstances. To Him

who knows man altogether, the precise way in which every man will act,

under every set of possible circumstances, must be fully anticipated. On

this we may further dwell, and gain some apprehension of the Divine order.



motive. He may be moved by differing motives. He will act upon that

which seems to be strongest. The strength of a motive greatly depends on

the disposition and character which it urges. There appear to be a vast

multitude of motives. Probably they could be greatly reduced by

classification. The complexity and difficulty of knowing how a man will act

in given circumstances does not arise from our inability to estimate his

motives, but from our inability to judge how particular motives will

influence him. We can tell by what considerations the Sadducees,

Pharisees, and priests were moved to secure the death of Jesus. It is this

acting of men on motive that gives moral character to their acts, and so

brings on them the possibility of guilt.



CHARACTERS ARE KNOWN TO GOD. The circle of motives that can

possibly appeal to man’s moral nature God completely spans. The precise

circumstances under which motives urge in any given case, He fully knows

and accurately weighs. The force which, under every set of circumstances,

every motive will gain on every particular character and disposition, He

perfectly estimates. And, though it is an almost impossible conception, we

must conceive of God as looking down the long “stream of time,” leaving

His creatures free to act in all situations, and yet knowing beforehand the

decision of every free will in every conceivable case. This is the marvel of




ESTIMATE. Especially apply to the redemptive plan. In view of what

would happen, and what men would do, the plan of redemption in the slain

Lamb was formed before the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)

Man worked out his own prejudice and passion in the crucifixion of

Jesus of Nazareth, and God worked out His plan of saving the race by


know of this overruling, the prophecies of Messiah were given. So we

see how man’s guilt remains in his freedom to act on motive; and yet

God’s purposes remain unchanged by all men’s willfulness,

since the willfulness was all foreknown and estimated.


19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,

when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

Turn again for be converted, Authorized Version, with no difference in sense;

that so there may come seasons of refreshing for when the times of

refreshing shall come, Authorized Version. Turn again. The turning to God is the

consequence of the change of mind (μετάνοησατε metanoaesaterepent ye).

That so there may come; rightly for the Authorized Version. “when,” etc., which

the Greek cannot mean.  What Peter conceives is that if Israel turns to God at once

in the faith of  the Lord Jesus Christ, then there will come AT ONCE those times of

refreshing, those blessed days of righteousness, and peace, and rest, and

universal joy, which are the characteristics of Christ’s kingdom as foretold

by the prophets. Those days are delayed by THE UNBELIEF OF ISRAEL.

Seasons of refreshing. The Authorized Version  “times of refreshing” is manifestly

right, though there is no article in the Greek. “Seasons of refreshing” seems very

vague and vapid, note the phrase καιροὶ ἐθνών kairoi ethnonseasons, eras of the

 nations, the times of the  Gentiles (Luke 21:24).  Compare the παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ

paraklaesin tou Israelconsolation of Israel -  of ibid. 2:25, and so in v. 21 here,

χρόνων ἀποκαταστάσεως chronon apokatastaseos -  times of restoration.



Conversion (v. 19)


“Repent ye therefore,” etc. The universal requirement. Rulers and people.

Ignorant and educated. Near the kingdom, or far off. The end to be aimed

at by all Christian effort and enterprise. The application of all mighty

displays of Divine power. The real beginning of individual spiritual life, and

of a true Church.




Ø      Spiritual change. Not a mere ritualistic sensation, or educational

development of the character, but being “born again.” Repentance,

change of mind, on the ground of facts acknowledged and promises

received. The announcement of the gift of God prepared the way for

the call to repentance. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, therefore

repent; pass through the gate into life.


Ø      Man’s co-operation with God. “Repent and turn again” (Revised

Version), “that your sins may be blotted out,” etc. No amount of feeling

is conversion; no enlightenment of the mind, or even devoutness of spirit,

supersedes the change of life. The sins and guilt are blotted out by the

blood of Christ, their burden is removed from the conscience, the heart,

and the life (“no more conscience of sins” Hebrews 10:2), when

repentance and faith introduce the sinner into the state of grace. What

the apostle appealed for was a real coming out of the old state into the

new. We must not be satisfied with mere religiousity, instead of

decided confession of Christ before men. Direct the Word to the

individual: “Repent ye. The participation of privilege as children

of Abraham, as members of the favored nation, no release from the

obligation to repent. The Church itself needs revival and change.




Ø      The great fact. Conversion is a reality, already seen.

The Spirit of God is already poured out. The beginning of the new life

is before our eyes. Others are changed, why not ye?


Ø      The offered blessedness the blotting out of sins. The sense of pardon

is the spring of the new life.


Ø      The promised future. “Seasons of refreshing.” Return of Jesus Christ.

Restitution of all things.


20 “And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:”

And that He may send the Christeven Jesus for and He shall send Jesus Christ,

Authorized Version; who hath been appointed (προκεχειρισασθαι prokecheirisasthai

to fix upon beforehand,  ch. 22:14; 26:16) for you for (προκεκηρυγμένον 

prokekaerugmenonbefore was preached; one having been heralded before) which

before was preached unto you, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. Who hath

been appointed, etc. Jesus is already designated and appointed and made (ch. 2:36)

both Lord and Christ, but His glorious presence with His Church is deferred for a time,

during which He is in heaven (v. 21). The Revised Version is surely very infelicitous

here, as if there were several Christs, one of whom was appointed for Israel.


21 “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things,

which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world

began.” Restoration for restitution, Authorized Version; whereof for which,

Authorized Version; spake for hath spoken, Authorized Version; His for all His,

Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. Whom the heaven must receive. This is

clearly right, not as some render it, who must occupy heaven. The aorist δέξασθαι

dexasthaito receive seems to point to the moment when, at the Ascension, He was

carried up into heaven (Luke 24:51). The restoration of all things (ἀποκαταστάσεως

πάντων apokatastaseos pantonof restoration of all things). This must be the

same operation as our Lord speaks of in Matthew 17:11: “Elias truly

shall first come, and restore all things” (ἀποκαταστήσει πάντα apokatastaesei

pantashall be restoring all things ); and from the words of Malachi (Malachi 4:5-6)

it would seem to be a moral or spiritual restoration preparatory to the coming of

the Lord. If so, the time of restoration is not exactly synchronous with the times of

refreshing, but preparatory to them; preparatory, too, to that restoration of

the kingdom to Israel of which the apostles spake to the Lord (ch.1:6). Probably,

however, Peter includes in his view the immediately following times of “the presence

of the Lord,” just as in Mark (Mark 1:1) the preparatory mission of John the Baptist

is included in the phrase, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Whereof God

spake. The antecedent to “whereof” is “the times” (v. 24).



The Human and the Divine (vs. 11-21)


Human and Divine elements are here crowded together, as indeed they are

in most if not all of the events of our life. We look at:




Ø      Excitement. The man who had been lame, in the excitement of joy and

gratitude, “held Peter and John” (v. 11), and “all the people ran

together… greatly wondering” (v. 11). In the region of the Divine is

calmness, serenity, peace; in that of the human is agitation, disturbance,



Ø      Instrumentality. (v. 12.) We do not effect anything of ourselves; we

are co-workers with God. We depend on His Divine assistance, on the

cooperation of forces that are acting around and within us, in virtue of His

energizing power, for the accomplishment of our humblest undertakings.

How much more emphatically is this the case in the sphere of sacred

usefulness, in the communication of spiritual life! There should be, there

must be, as in the case of Peter and John, fitness for the work and

obedience to the word and will of Christ; but after all it is not “our own

power or holiness” that “makes any man to walk” in the ways of God.


Ø      Guilt qualified by ignorance. Peter charges his hearers with positive and

terrible crime (vs. 13-15); he does, indeed, make the abatement which is

due to ignorance (v. 17): they did not “kill the Prince of life,” knowing

that it was He whom they were crucifying. But they remained in guilty

ignorance of His origin, His character, and His mission; and their ignorance,

if it palliated, did not excuse their crime. We also often “know not what we

do” when we wrong the innocent, when we sin against ourselves, when we

rob God of the glory due to His Name. Our ignorance is not left out of the

account by the Holy and the Just One; nevertheless He adjudges us to be

verily guilty, and He condemns us.


Ø      Penitence. (v. 19.) We are to be changed in our mind, and be

converted or turned from our evil ways to those which are right, pure,



Ø      Faith. (v. 16.) Peter says that “faith in the Name” of Jesus Christ had

given the lame man that “perfect soundness” which they all beheld. He

does not say, or is not reported as saying, that these “men of Israel” must

believe in Him whom they had guiltily slain, but that was either implied or

expressed in his address to them. “Repentance toward God, and faith

toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” is the testimony borne by apostles “both to

the Jews, and also to the Greeks” (ch. 20:21).




Ø      Overruling wisdom. (v. 18.) What God had shown beforehand needed

to be done, He had, in the ordering of His holy providence, caused to take

place. Through all these things which happened at Jerusalem, in which the

hand of man had so large a share, there ran a thread of Divine agency; so

that purposes of heavenly love and wisdom were after all fulfilled. He still

“makes the wrath of man to praise Him.”


Ø      Glorifying the Just and Holy One. (vs. 13, 15.) God is bringing many

sons unto glory, as well as the “Captain of our salvation.” He will ensure

the ultimate acquittal and honoring of those who are reviled and wronged.

“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.”


Ø      Restoration. (vs. 12, 19-21.) It was the Divine hand, and no human

magic, which healed this lame beggar (v. 12) It is the hand of God which

gives such blessed recuperative power to our bodily system, and which

raises the sick man from the bed of suffering, weakness, acute disease, to

newness of physical life. It is God who grants to the condemned but

penitent spirit restoration to His loving favor (“that your sins may be

blotted out”), and it is He who will one day grant to a renovated world

“times of refreshing,” the reappearance of Jesus Christ in His heavenly

power and glory (vs. 20-21). There is a sense in which:


o       there is much that is marvelous in the working and outworking

of God; it is so far beyond our finite understanding. But there is

also a sense in which

o       there is nothing surprising in any acts of restoration or renovation we

witness. It is only what we should ask for and expect of Him. “Why

marvel we” at that?



Times of Refreshing and of Restitution (vs. 19,21)


These two words refer to the same time. Without doubt the Apostle

Peter, as well as all the disciples, and the whole apostolic Church, regarded

the coming of Christ as near at hand, but still always as something future.

This ‘coming of Christ’ is to be conceived as coinciding with the ‘times of

refreshing,’ and His sojourn in the heavenly world closes with His return to

the earth for the completion of His work. The conversion of men, therefore,

and the diffusion of faith in Christ, are the conditions of the speedy

approach of that blessed time” (compare II Peter 3:9-13).  Respecting the

sense of the term ‘restitution of all things,’ no doubt can arise if we keep

steadily in view the relation of the Redeemer to this sinful world: Christ is

the Restorer of the fallen creation, and therefore the word ‘restitution’

derives from His redeeming power its peculiar meaning, viz that of bringing

back to an originally pure condition. The Revised Version materially

improves the reading of these verses: “Repent,… that so there may come

seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” “These times or

seasons of refreshing, and those ‘times of restitution or (restoration) of all

things which God hath spoken,’ both seem to refer to the same great hope

of the Church, and are connected with the second sending forth of Jesus

Christ from heaven to earth.” Peter had clearer ideas of the Messianic

kingdom, but he was still hampered by the national and temporal figures

under which it had been prophesied. His purpose evidently is to urge the

audience to an immediate acceptance of Christ, as the way to bring on the

establishment of the long-promised and glorious Messianic time. And the

point of impression for us is this — Man’s penitence, obedience, and faith

prepare the way for the coming of Christ’s kingdom, and the fulfillment of

all the Divine promises.  The faster Israel turned to Jesus, the sooner

would Jesus return to Israel.  By this consideration we are still urged to

preach the gospel, and persuade men to repent, at home and abroad.



HAND. God is ever “waiting to be gracious,” as it were watching for

opportunities of giving men His rich spiritual blessing. Revivals are always

close by, when men’s hearts are made humble and open and seeking. Does

an individual soul set itself upon humiliation and prayer? the “times of

refreshing” are at hand for it. Does a Church unite in confession and

supplication? the “times of refreshing” will come in response to its cry.

And this assurance should act as a moral persuasion, and urge men to seek

for higher and better things. “We are not straitened in God.” He would

bless us more abundantly if we were more truly ready for the blessing. He

is able to make all grace abound,” (II Corinthians 9:8). Taking “times of

refreshing” as seasons to be realized now by the soul and by the Church, we

may obtain illustrations from the Old Testament history, especially instances

occurring in the later years of the national decline, such as the reformations

under Hezekiah and Josiah. Or from the New Testament, especially dealing

with Pentecost. Or from the Christian ages, noticing that such “times” take a

variety of form and character. Sometimes they are prominently intellectual,

as illustrated in the revival under Luther and the Port Royalists; sometimes

they are prominently practical, as illustrated in the revival under St.

Bernard; sometimes they are prominently emotional, as illustrated in the

revival under Whitefield, and in the Scotch and Irish revivals of recent

times. Such “times of refreshing” are necessary to the proper culture of our

spiritual life. Under present conditions, the maintenance of good is so

difficult. Oftentimes even holy purpose wanes, and we become weary in

well-doing. So in all departments of life we need revival times. Such are

our summer restings, our sabbaths, birthdays, etc. If we will but set

ourselves in proper attitudes of humility and seeking, we shall find God’s

“refreshing times” ever at hand.  The grace is ready, waiting for you if you

will TURN!  Forgiveness is ready. The door of the new kingdom is open

ready.  ETERNAL LIFE IS READY!  God waits but your up-look to come

in, and save, even you.  (Revelation 3:20)  Repent, that the good times may

come for you.



We should get some fitting ideas of the great plan for the recovery of

the fallen race of man. Unquestionably the world is a fallen, disordered,

ruined world. But God has gracious purposes concerning the “restitution,”

or setting right, “of all things.” And OUR LORD’S DEATH began the

restoration of all things. Our Lord’s present spiritual work in the heavenlies

— the moral and spiritual spheres — is the presidency of the restoring work.


when the  Divine plan and purpose shall be FULLY ACCOMPLISHED!

We can only gain very imperfect and unworthy ideas of what that day will be;

but we may gain deep impressions of our own relation to its on-coming, and

of our own duty to hasten the glorious time (II Peter 3:12), by seeing to it

that the work of restoring grace is fully wrought in our hearts, lives, and

spheres, and that the gospel of the living Savior is so widely preached

that “every knee may be brought to bow to Him.” There is a true sense

in which we may hasten the day when the Redeemer “shall see

of the travail of his soul, shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11) and shall

“deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father.”  (I Corinthians 15:24)

We may give ourselves to Christ, and make one more sinner won. We may

speak of Christ to others, persuade them to repent and believe, and so help

to multiply the number of the saved, who shall be acknowledged in that

great day.


22 “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord

your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him

shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.”

Moses indeed said for Moses truly said unto the fathers, Authorized Version and

Textus Receptus; the Lord God for the Lord your God, Authorized Version and

Textus Receptus; from among for of, Authorized Version; to Him shall ye hearken

for Him shall ye hear, Authorized Version; speak for say, Authorized Version.

Moses indeed said. Peter now verifies his assertion about the prophets in the

previous verse by quoting from Moses, and referring to Samuel and those that

came after. A prophet, etc. The quotation is from Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

That this was understood by the Jews to relate to some one great prophet who

had not yet come, appears from the question “Art thou that prophet?” (John 1:21),

and from the saying of the Jews after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, “This

is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world” (John 6:14; 7:40).

Peter here teaches that that prophet was none other than CHRIST HIMSELF

who was like unto Moses in the fullness of the revelation given

unto Him, in His being a Mediator between God and the people, in being the

Author of a new law — the law of faith and love, in building a new

tabernacle for God to inhabit, even the Church in which HE WILL DWELL

FOR EVER AND EVER!  (see Hebrews 1:1-2).


23 “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that

prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”  Shall be for come to pass,

Authorized Version; shall not hearken to for will not hear, Authorized Version;

utterly destroyed for destroyed, Authorized Version. Utterly destroyed.  The Greek

ἐξολοθρευθήσεται exolothreuthaesetaishall be being utterly exterminated –

occurs frequently in the Septuagint for the Hebrew phrase, “cut off from his people”

(Genesis 17:14); but in Deuteronomy 18:19, the phrase is quite different, “I will

require it of him.”  Peter here gives the sense, not the ipsissima verba, and thereby

marks the extreme gravity of THE SIN OF UNBELIEF!   (see  John 3:18).


24 “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after,

as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.”

Them that followed for those that follow, Authorized Version: they also told

for have likewise foretold, Authorized Version. From Samuel, etc. Samuel and

οἱ καθεξῆς hois kathexaesthose that follow - seems to denote what the Jews

called “the former  prophets” — the authors of the historical books. The whole

phrase, therefore, comprehends “all the prophets” (of whom Samuel and

οἱ καθεξῆς were the first), to whose testimony concerning Himself our Lord

appeals (Luke 24:27, 44).



Moses’ Witness to the Christ (vs. 22, 24)


The first reference of Moses in the words used (Deuteronomy 18:15)

should be carefully noticed. The higher Messianic references of the Old

Testament usually underlie an immediate relation to historical events or

individuals.  As the words stand, taken with their context, they seem to

point to the appearance of a succession of true prophets, as contrasted with

the diviners of Deuteronomy 18:14; and, even with Peter’s interpretation

before us, we may well admit those prophets as primary and

partial fulfillments of them.  It seems that the Jews were fond of comparing

the promised Messiah with their great prophet and lawgiver, Moses. Of

this one specimen may be given from the rabbinical writings. “Rabbi

Berakhiah says, ‘As was the former redeemer, so shall the latter redeemer

be.’ While of the former redeemer it is said (Exodus 4:20), ‘And Moses

took his wife and his sons and set them upon an ass;’ so of the latter, for it

says (Zechariah 9:9), ‘He is lowly and riding upon an ass.’ And while

the former redeemer brought down manna, as it says (Exodus 16:4),

‘Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you;’ so the latter redeemer will

bring down manna, for it says (Psalm 72:16), ‘There shall be abundance

of corn in the land.’ And as the former redeemer caused the well to spring

up (see Numbers 21:17); so the latter redeemer shall also cause the

waters to spring up, for it says (Joel 3:18), ‘A fountain shall come forth

of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.’  Moses

dwells upon the fact that the coming Messiah should be like him. This

comparison may be opened in the following particulars : —


  • MESSIAH WAS TO BE “OF THE BRETHREN.” Our Lord was born

of Jewish race. And He was, as a fellow-man, able to understand and to

sympathize with those whom He led. He was a man of like passions; “in

all points tempted as we are; able to succor them that are tempted.”

(Hebrews 4:15; 2:18)  The importance of the actual humanity of our Lord

in the theological systems of Paul and John should be fully unfolded. And

the additional interest of His being a Jew may be pointed out. The history

of the Jews shows that they have a singular power of adapting themselves to

all climes, languages, nations, and societies; and that which is true of them

is true of our Lord’s gospel, as bearing, so markedly, the Jewish stamp. It can

adapt to all the conditions of mankind, and be preached to every creature.


  • MESSIAH WAS TO BE A REDEEMER. Like Moses in this, He was

to bring a people out of bondage, deliver them in a glorious and Divine

manner, and lead them until their full redemption was complete in the

possession of Canaan. This comparison may be made more minute. And it

may be urged that, as the Redeemer, our Lord asks the same surrender to

Him, in trust, that Moses asked.


  • MESSIAH WAS TO BE A LAWGIVER. This was the great work of

Moses. He took the entire person, life, and relations of the people into his

regulations, settling rules for their moral, social, national, and ecclesiastical

conditions. And so we come “under Law to Christ,” who covers with His

“new commandments” the whole of our lives and associations. “One is our

Master, even Christ.”  (Matthew 23:10)


  • MESSIAH WAS TO BE A TEACHER. This is the permanent idea of

the term “prophet” — one who comes between God and the people, as

instructing them in the Divine will. Both Moses and the Lord Jesus taught

the people concerning:


Ø      God,

Ø       sin,

Ø      duty,

Ø      salvation,

Ø      character, etc.


  • MESSIAH WAS TO BE A JUDGE. This Moses was presiding at the

chief national tribunal. And God has “committed all judgment to the Son.”

He “shall judge the quick and dead.” “We must all appear before the

judgment-seat of Christ.” “He that despised Moses’ Law died without mercy

under two or three witnesses: of how much Sorer punishment, suppose ye,

shall he be thought worthy, WHO HATH TRODDEN UNDER FOOT THE



GRACE!  (Hebrews 10:28-29)


25 “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God

made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall

all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”  Sons for children, Authorized Version;

your for our, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; families for kindreds,

Authorized Version. Ye are the sons of the prophets, meaning that they

inherited all the promises made by the prophets to their fathers. Just as in

ch. 2:39 he said, “The promise is unto you and to your children”

(compare Romans 9:4; 15:8). He thus enforces the solemn obligation of

giving heed to what the prophets had said concerning Christ and His

kingdom. In thy seed (see Galatians 3:16). This covenant, into which

God entered with Abraham, with an oath (Genesis 22:16, 18), and

which was a repetition and amplification of the covenant and promise

already recorded in Genesis 12:1-3; ch. 15; 17:1-8, was made πρὸς τοὺς

πατέρας – pros tous paterastoward the fathers, with a view to, in the

direction of, the fathers, so as to include them and their children after them.

It was now fulfilled to those whom Peter was addressing, as is set forth in the

next verse.



The True Importance of Ancestry — What It Is (v. 25)


These words were some of those addressed by Peter to a crowd of

wondering and admiring spectators, and of attentive hearers also. These

were gathered for him by the fret of the man whom he had delivered from

his lameness resolving to cleave as long as he could to the side of his

deliverer. The “common people” did on this occasion gladly hear Peter, as

formerly they gladly were wont to hear his Master and their own. We are

grateful to be able to recall these circumstances and this connection of the

text; because on certain other occasions Peter, Stephen, and Paul, and

many a time Jesus himself, had to refer to the ancestry of the Jews in order

to point severest reproof and condemnation unrelieved. But it is not so

now. Reproof and condemnation are only partly aimed at here. We have




reminding may seem but an humble one. But how true the friend

sometimes who undertakes it — who waits not for some grand occasion of

instructing, of informing you of what you did not know, or of charming

you with the latest discoveries of science or applications of art, but who

simply brings afresh to your thought what you had long known!


Ø      Conscience is such a friend when we will listen to it. It does not teach

what is new, but does remind and remonstrate. God’s Holy Ghost is

such a Friend when you will listen to Him. He both reveals the new

and brings to remembrance the old, specially those dear old words,

of priceless value, of Jesus.


Ø      The written and spoken Word of God is such a friend. How many of

its messages are but the pronounced repetitions of your own reason,

experience! They are your own judgment and observation, now ushered

in with all the added impressiveness that comes from the “endorsement”

of the Divine page and pen.


And now Peter tells his hearers no new thing.  They had long ago known it, and

had built much upon it. They built, though too ignorantly, large part of their

hopes of salvation upon their being the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Their trust was in the covenant God made with Abraham. Their great charter

was “Moses and the prophets.” But had it not often come to this, that they

eagerly remembered their boasted rights but kept a poor memory for their

duties? They would enforce their claims, ignore the correlative demands upon

themselves, long more than due! “We have Abraham to our father,” was

their ever-ready cry; yet they had “killed the prophets,” and “stoned them

that were sent to them,” and had “crucified the Prince of life.” “Of Him,

says Peter, all the prophets spoke,” from Moses the greatest, and Samuel

the second greatest. And surely you won’t forget that “you are the children

of those prophets,” and won’t consent to act unworthily of that

relationship! Was not this a word of reminding in due season? And was it

not put very kindly by Peter to his congregation? Perhaps all the same tone

of thought, all the same suggestion for memories, awake enough at the

point of rights and claims, but that fade at the point of duty and

responsibility, characterizes to a very large degree the present day. Men do

not forget they are Englishmen; they do not forget to boast their freedom.

Are they touched in one of these or the like respects, they resent it as

though the apple of their eye was touched. But they forget they are the

children of those who got these things for them “through much

tribulation;” who fought, suffered, died, for their privileges. They forget

they are the children of Reformers and Protestants, who “resisted even

unto blood,” and for conscience’ sake were burned at the stake; that they

are children of those who loved, spake, and did the truth, cost what it

might. It was a very effective point which Peter made when, viewing it as a

kindly reminder, he said, “Ye are the children of the prophets.”



at all necessary to construe the text as the language of stern rebuke, yet it

may imply some rebuke. And this deserves rebuke, when men are so

willing to touch human life at all its points of contact with pleasure, self-

interest, honor, privilege, but are so very shy of it at its points of contact

with duty, effort, sacrifice. With the many, the strongest bent, deepest

inclination of their life is still but what they can get and have, what they can

say or think to the advantage of themselves. The choice is a mournfully

sorry one, when it is considered to what it comes:


Ø      for its one-sidedness it earns rebuke.

Ø      for its cowardice it earns rebuke.

Ø      for its certain unprofitableness it earns rebuke.


And not least does it earn rebuke because of its higher opportunities forfeited,

and nobler passions and principles wasted and alienated. The harvest is too

surely reaped, of disappointment, vanity, and vexation of spirit, or self-stricken

darkness itself. But let some one begin life from the diametrically opposite

standpoint. Let him accept the theory that life is for duty, that it is responsible

for the vaster advantages with which it began than those with which it was

begun by preceding generations, that it calls for work more strenuous, and

sacrifice more willing, and self-surrender more entire by very virtue of the

honor and advantage it has drawn from its own forefathers; and that life

is shaped for high ends. It will not fail of real fruitfulness; it will not expire,

a sorrow and a shame. The gentle suggestive rebuke couched in the text

touches the essential difference between two such lives. You are not the

children of possession, and of ease, and of the “rest and be thankful”

school; you are the descendants of a nobler strenuous, solemn race. They

had large brains, they had bone and muscle about them, sinew and nerve

were firm and firmly tied, and their heart was capacious. Ay, to other sort

men oft-times prefer to trace their lineage; but to this sort, the kindly rebuke

of Peter, of the Word and Spirit of God, of His providence, and of our own

conscience, should oftener turn us and our ambition.




be granted that the Jews were such a people. Yet, with all their honor and

splendor, their unique religious privileges, and their preeminent political

prestige, it must be allowed that they show but a faint type of ourselves.

They rose to a pinnacle of national greatness, and GREAT WAS THEIR

FALL but it was no mystery. The beginning of it was plain, the course of

it was plain. It was often pointed out by priest, prophet, preacher, and by

that man of the people themselves, who “was an Israelite indeed.” Yet they

wrought their own downfall, and cruelly undermined their own proud position,

because they lost ear, heart, and pride for that which was their glory, and to

its announcement greatly preferred to sound their own trumpet. But were

there ever heirs like ourselves? Was there ever an heritage like ours? Of

what prophets are we the children, when we think of the accumulations of

knowledge, of conviction, of attestations of God’s existence, providence,

government, revelation, which the stream of time has been bearing down,

richest freights to our shores? In such sense we are children of no obscure

parentage, “citizens of no mean city, owning to a history of unsurpassed

significance. Ages and centuries of the past bend their surprised gaze upon

us; they compass us about with CLOUDS OF WITNESSES (people at the

Judgment).  And when the gentle reminding is passed, and the suggested rebuke

seems to fail, one thing only remains — impassioned appeal, a summons that

must wake all but those who are securely dead. Live we, then, worthily of our

antecedents, mindful of our responsibilities as heirs of such a past. Let us flee

from unfaithfulness, and scorn the seductions of ease and luxury. Let us purge

ourselves from vanity, perverseness, and self. Let us pray for a divinely

opened eye, mind, heart. And show by God’s grace that we have not

forgotten, but on the contrary do make it our business to remember, whose

“children we are.”


26 “Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to

bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

Servant for Son Jesus, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; your for His,

Authorized Version. Unto you first. In virtue of the covenant, the first offer of

salvation was made to the Jews (see ch. 1:8; 13:26, 46; Luke 24:47; Romans 2:10,

etc.; compare Matthew 15:24). His Servant (as in v. 13). As regards

the phrase, “having raised up,” however natural it is at first sight to

understand it of the raising from the dead, the tenses make it impossible to

do so. Nor could it be said that God sent Jesus to bless them after His

resurrection. We must, therefore, understand ἀναστήσας anastaaesas

raising as to be equivalent to ἐξαγείραςexageiras - , and to mean

“having appointed,” set up, raised up (as the English word is used, Luke 1:69;

Romans 9:17). In this sense God raised up His Servant by the incarnation, birth,

anointing, and mission to be the Savior. To bless you; to fulfill to you the blessing

promised to Abraham’s seed. In turning away, etc., deliverance from sin

being the chief blessing which Christ bestows upon His people (so ch. 5:31,

repentance is spoken of as Christ’s great gift to Israel). So closed the

second great apostolic sermon.



The Two Judgments (vs. 12-26)


“The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward

appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (I  Samuel 16:7). “That

which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God”

(Luke 16:15). “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is

become the head of the corner”.  (Luke 20:17)The above passages, with

many others, call our particular attention to the frequent contrariety

between the judgment of men and the judgment of God. The section before

us gives two striking examples of this contrariety.


  • The first is the contrariety between the judgment of the men of Israel as

to the cause of the healing of the lame man, and the truth as declared by

the apostles. The men of Israel thought that Peter and John had healed him

by their own power or holiness. Their blind, carnal mind could not see

beyond what lay just before them. They mistook the instrument for the

cause. They could not see the power of Jesus Christ in heaven working

through the hands of His servants on earth. And this is a type of a widely

extended human error or false judgment. In the judgment of carnal men,

however sharp their intellectual sight may be, everything is material, and

the visible matter has no invisible spirit behind it. Famines, pestilences,

earthquakes, are in their view natural phenomona with which the hand of

God has nothing to do. Success or defeat in war, prosperity or adversity to

the individual or the nation, are owing exclusively to the wisdom and

prowess of men, not to the blessing or chastening of God. And it is even so

in the Church. They see only the outward visible signs, and they ignore the

inward spiritual grace. Holy baptism is a sign, a ceremony, a rite. It has,

maybe, a certain significance, a certain admonitory or teaching power in

their eyes, but they ignore the active, quickening energy of the Holy Spirit

in the sacrament. The bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper are emblems,

symbols, tokens, but they apprehend not the body and blood of Jesus

Christ “which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful” at

the Lord’s table. Sermons, if eloquent, able, and stirring, are things of

natural power in their estimation, but they do not take into account the

effectual working of the Holy Ghost accompanying the Word preached,

and making it the power of God unto salvation. And so it is throughout,

both in the world and in the Church. The carnal judgment of men takes into

account only the natural and the material; those who have the mind and

judgment of Christ recognize the supernatural and spiritual agency of God.


  • The other example furnished by this section of the contrariety between

the judgment of man and the judgment of God is that which is so pointedly

put by Luke, both here and in his Gospel: the preference given by the

Jews to Barabbas over Jesus Christ. “Ye denied the Holy and Righteous

One, and asked for a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed the

Prince of life; whom God raised from the dead.” Here, then, we have the

Lord Jesus, the well-beloved Son of God; in whom He was well pleased;

who always did those things that pleased Him; to whom He said, “Sit thou

on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool;” whom God exalted

far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name

that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; to

whom he has given “a name which is above every name; that at the name of

Jesus every knee should bow… and that every tongue should confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” That was the

judgment of God. Now let us see the judgment of men concerning this

same Jesus. He was in the world, in all the simplicity of His spotless

righteousness, in all the dignity of His sinless humanity, in the majesty of the

Son of God; the fullness of wisdom, of love, and of pure goodness beamed

forth in His every word and work, but “He was despised and rejected of

men.” He was reviled as a blasphemer, as one that had a devil, as a

gluttonous man and a winebibber, as a friend of sinners, as a seditious,

turbulent man, as one that was not worthy to live. So He was brought

before the judges of the earth, accused, arraigned as a criminal; smitten,

buffeted, scourged, spit upon, condemned; led forth to execution,

numbered with the transgressors, nailed to the cross, left to die amidst the

jeers and taunts of His murderers. And when Pilate himself offered to

release Hhim, the offer was met with the cry, “Not this man, but Barabbas;”

and Barabbas was a robber. That was the judgment of man. And have we

not here a type of the frequent contrariety between the judgment of men

and the judgment of God? The things, the persons, the characters, that God

approves, find no favor with a corrupt and perverse world; the things, the

persons, the sentiments, that God disapproves, receive the praise of men.

The opinions of the day, the voice of the multitude, the prevailing tone of

thought amongst men, are no safe criterion of worth and truth. We must

ever remember that there are two judgments, the judgment of man and the

judgment of God, and that these are often diverse the one from the other.

It should be our constant prayer that God’s Holy Spirit may give us “a

right judgment in all things;” so that, on the various questions of interest

which engage the thoughts of our own generation, we may be found in

harmony, not with the conceits of men, but with the all-seeing mind of




The Greatness of Jesus Christ (vs. 22-26)


These verses may be regarded as attesting the unapproachable greatness of

the Lord Jesus Christ; they invite us to think:





Ø      A greater Legislator than Moses, for His laws should last as long as time



Ø      a better Man, for He was absolutely without sin;


Ø      a worthier Leader, conducting out of a harder bondage into a truer freedom,

      and unto a land of greater promise.




be ignorant of some human teachers is to lose a valuable heritage, a

precious treasure, excellent and elevating enjoyment; but to refuse His

friendship, to reject His service, is to cut ourselves off from the source of

eternal truth, is to abandon ourselves to the course which ends in spiritual




SCRIPTURE. (v. 24.) “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Rightly read, “all the prophets” testified of Him, and pointed on to those

days in which He lived, suffered, died, and rose again.



BLESSING. (v. 26.) What would we give to those whom we would fain

serve? Health, fortune, power, fame, human love? Jesus Christ blesses by

“turning away every one from his iniquities.” What a transcendent blessing

is this! Consider:


    • How much it involves; viz. the removal of the penalty and the power of

sin from each individual soul.

    • How much it implies; viz. the restoration of each soul to God (for to

fear Him, to love Him, and to strive to please Him, is the only way to

escape from a state of sin), and entrance upon eternal life (for the sphere

of sin is the region of death, and to be delivered from the former is to

enter the kingdom of life, the life which is spiritual and eternal).

    • By what means it is effected; viz.


      • by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26), and
      • by attracting us to Himself and His service (John. 12:32;

1 John. 3:5-6).




(v. 25-26.) They to whom Peter spoke were “the children of the prophets;”

but they had “denied the Holy One and the Just,” and “killed the Prince of

life.” Yet to those who had so shamefully abused their privileges the

apostle said, To you first, etc. Jesus came to “call sinners to repentance,”

to restore those who had fallen the furthest, to cleanse the most leprous, to

raise the spiritually dead, to win those most utterly estranged and most

bitterly opposed to Himself. So great a Conqueror is He.



Witness of Peter to Jesus (vs. 11-26)


A great congregation, in the mood of wonder and prepared to listen, is

before him. He who had once denied his Master in a moment of weakness,

is now enabled with great power to give testimony of Him.



APOSTLES. The note of a genuine mission. The false prophet and the

magician neglect nothing that will enhance their supposed supernatural

character. The apostles insist that they are but men, have no power of

themselves, are the agents merely of a higher will. So, too, peculiar piety

on their part is disclaimed. They did not aim at the reputation of saints;

they refused to encourage the natural delusion that they must be better than

other men. This was not the way to popularity, but the simple course of

honest witnesses for God.




Ø      God is the faithful God, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God of their

fathers; these were dear and time-honored appellations. With these is now

connected that of Father of Jesus. Thus the recent is united with the most

ancient past. One unfailing bond of Divine constancy and love knits the

ages into unity, and makes history the unfolding of an increasing purpose.

(“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.”

 ch. 15:18))


Ø      His love is illustrated by the contrast with human hate. They had

repudiated the Holy and Just One, and had begged the life of a murderer in

His stead. Blindly they had hurried the “Author of life” to an ignominious

doom. But who can contend against God, His power, nay, rather, His love?

The purpose of life is victorious over human passion, and God will not

suffer men to work out their suicidal intents to the full. The Resurrection,

be it insisted, then, is the crowning proof of indefeasible constancy and will

to save men in their own despite.


Ø      The energy to heal ever flows from THE RISEN CHRIST!  Faith is the

condition of being blessed. It is the movement of the whole soul towards

the Divine Benefactor. It is the junction of the human with the Divine will,

and is the one principle of salvation.


  • DEDUCTIONS FROM THE PAST. History, and every portion of it,

contains a Divine logic. Every study of it is idle which does not end with

the question — What is the meaning for the present?  (“Now all these things

were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

I Corinthians 10:13)  What resolve is to be taken? What duty now to be

discharged? The paths of experience converge towards one goal.


Ø      The crucifixion of Jesus had been an act of ignorance. They “knew not

what they did;” neither people nor rulers. It was a mitigation of the crime,

and divinely recognized. The acts of wrath are blind, and just judgment

distinguishes between the evidences of passion and the evidences of

ingrained perversity in man’s acts.


Ø      It was at the same time a fulfillment of prophecy. God permits evil

means to work out holy ends. The happiest revolutions have often sprung

from momentary ignition of wrath and resentment. The feeble human heart

expends its little explosive force, and silently makes an opening for the

march of a higher purpose. It was necessary that Christ should suffer.

Every pleasure is the reaction from a pain; every birth proceeds from

travail; there is no deliverance without spiritual struggle. The most

spiritual, the most living personality, must agonize and suffer most. This is

the law. In the suffering of the “Leader of life” it finds its highest

expression. Thus did Divine will confront human freedom, and the futility

of resistance is shown. The very efforts of blind passion to defeat that will

serve only to elicit its meaning. Like blows upon a vibrating substance,

human sins draw deeper music from the heart of God.


  • PRACTICAL DIRECTIONS. “Change your mind and turn.” If we

cannot influence the fixed course of things, it is wisdom to be influenced by

it. If the Divine purpose is not to be bent aside for us, we must bend before

it. We cannot change the course of fate, but we can change the course of

our thoughts and actions. To persist in discovered error is like fighting

against the stars in their courses.


                “If I willfully keep my conscience in darkness and continue

                                in errors which I might easily know to be such by a little

                                thought and searching of God’s Word, then my conscience

                                conscience can offer me no excuse,  for I am guilty of

                                blindfolding the guide which I have chosen and then,

                                knowing him to be blindfolded, I am guilty of the folly

                                of letting him lead me into rebellion against God.



Sin, is only unforgivable when it is persisted in as sin. The constant promise

of the gospel is that sin shall no longer be reckoned to a man, i.e. viewed as

a fact of his life, when it has been corrected by the will. Our deeper thought

teaches us that there is no time for God. Our “now” and its self-determination

is the question. One solemn moment of decision converts the error of the way

into the direction of truth and right.




Ø      They are of indefinable grandeur and attraction. We cannot fully

analyze the contents of any Divine promise. Its riches exceed definition

and thought. At the same time, every promise has leading hints to guide

faith and expectation. Here “times of refreshing” and the “sending of

Jesus” form such hints.


Ø      They point to a goal of history. “The times of the restitution of all

things.” The golden age of paganism was in the remote past; that of

Israel and of the gospel lies in the distant future. It rests, like all our

good, upon nothing less sure than DIVINE WILL and is the subject of

prophetic oracles.  To define is to limit and to narrow and to impoverish

our noblest ideals.  Let us be content, as Peter teaches elsewhere, to

accept prophecy as a “light shining in a dark place, until the day dawn.”

                        (II Peter 1:19)


Ø      They are designed to guide conduct, not to explain the future fully. The

prediction in the Law cited by Peter received many changing

interpretations in the long course of its existence. The actual highest

fulfillment was not recognized when it came. God ever fulfils Himself

unexpectedly. Meanwhile the delay of fulfillment keeps thought and

hope awake.


Ø      The growth and increasing emphasis of prophecy. The sound dies not,

but gathers in volume as it goes, filling the earth. Do we heed its sound

now? Is there no voice of God for us in the instruction and warnings of

the greatest spirits of our time? Every teacher who bids us strive and

aspire towards the ideal, the kingdom of God in the spirit, is a prophet,

and is charged with a measure of oracular power for his generation.


  • THE INHERITANCE OF THE PRESENT. We too are “sons of the

prophets.” God has spoken to us. Behind us lies the past, with its

wonderful lore, its yet unsatisfied yearnings. We too are included in the

DIVINE COVENANT of blessing. The process of events set in motion by

the eternal Cause continues itself in us. The seed of His loving thoughts

becomes fertile anew in the spirits of each succeeding generation, and

appears in new blossom and fruit. Till “all countries of the earth” shall thus

be sown and impregnated with the thoughts of God, the process shall

continue. Away, then, with a dead theology which seeks for inspiration

only in the fulfilled, not also in the fulfilling and the to be fulfilled. Let us

believe in God, not merely because we know that He stirred in men’s souls

in days of yore, but because we feel Him stirring in our own souls now.


  • ORDER IN THE DIVINE PURPOSE. Israel first, next through

Israel the nations are to be blessed. Spiritual force, like other force, must

be concentrated that it may be diffused. Other nations have had light, but

Israel the intensest. It is the moral consciousness which makes humanity;

and in the turning from sin, men are in the way of all good, of growing

good; the negation of evil is the affirmation of the principle of the spirit.



A Great Sermon to a Wondering Multitude (vs. 11-26)




Ø      Different from that previously gathered, which was made up of devout

men chiefly, who were interested in the strange phenomenon of the

tongues. This was a mingled multitude, partly of temple worshippers,

partly of passers-by, including, therefore, many who were present, at the

Crucifixion, who had shouted “Crucify Him!”


Ø      Their state of mind. Greatly wondering, ready to be taught, gazing

inquiringly at the apostles, almost worshipping them. Strange that they

should be so affected after having beheld the miracles of the Lord.

Probably already deeply touched and filled with remorseful feelings

by the Crucifixion, beginning to believe in the Resurrection, and so

filled with alarm lest they had incurred the righteous wrath of God.

Peter saw it,” that is, the signs of an awakened mind and softened

heart. He “answered,” perhaps cries of astonishment and inquiry.


  • THE SUBJECT OF DISCOURSE. Not the miracle as a miracle, but

THE MESSIAHSHIP OF JESUS as proved by it, and its practical bearing

on those present.


Ø      The facts of the gospel are set face to face with the words of Scripture.

The agency of man is shown to be entirely under the control of an

overruling Providence, “the determinate counsel of God.” Thus the

greatness and graciousness of the faith is at once clearly revealed. The

miracle falls into its place as a sign of the Divine working. It is the

Name of Christ to which all is to be ascribed. As the multitude were

unconscious agents in fulfilling the prophecies, so the apostles are

simply ministers proclaiming the gospel, inciting their brethren to



Ø      The nearness of the kingdom of God is made the ground of an earnest

call to repentance and faith. The tremendous responsibility of such a

time is declared. If God has been working, how can He pass by

the willful disobedience and neglect of those to whom such a

message is sent?


Ø      The day of grace is heralded. While the guilt of a Savior’s crucifixion

      is boldly pronounced, the gate of life is flung wide open. Peter uses his

      key well. Times of refreshing and gladness will come if impenitence

      does not hinder them. Jesus has been sent to bless you, not to curse

      you;  to offer up the blood He shed on your behalf, not to call it down

      upon your heads, as you did in your blind passion. It was an appeal from

      fear to faith. Behold the power, but understand that the power is not

      death, but life. Believe and live. A truly gospel message.




Ø      Thoroughly pervaded by the spirit of faith. Look, not on us, nor on the

healed man, but on Christ. The power and the holiness (or “godliness,

Revised Version), is not ours, but God’s. We are mere earthen vessels.

The excellency of the power is God’s.  (II Corinthians 4:7)  The firm

persuasion which gave boldness to the preacher was not mere natural

eloquence, or physical strength, or temporary elevation in the eyes of

the multitude; but a scriptural faith, which rested on THE FULFILLED

PROMISES OF GOD which saw the facts in the light of eternal truth,

which grasped the hope of the future — “the restoration of all things.”


Ø      Directness of appeal. They were not afraid of their faces. They spoke to

their consciences. The guilt of the crucifiers is charged home upon them.

We succeed best with men when they feel our hand grappling their

conscience; if only they believe in our sincerity and faithfulness. Yet

the apostles could not know how such a charge would be taken. Wonder

might be changed in a fickle multitude into self-justification and rage

against the prophet who said, “Ye are the men.” Compare in this

respect the New Testament prophets with those of the Old Testament.

(Nathan – II Samuel 12:7).


Ø      Sympathy and love to souls. Nothing like inhuman pressing the charge

or denunciation. They are “brethren” still. They did it “in ignorance.”

They can yet be blessed and saved. There is “perfect soundness” for

them if they will have it.


Ø      Inspired wisdom and heavenly skill. They were taught of God” how

      to speak. The startling message comes first, “Ye are guilty;” then the

Scripture exposition leading on to the loving appeal at the conclusion.

Our last note should always be love.  (“But speaking the truth in love”

Ephesians 4:15)  Yet the golden thread of gospel faithfulness must run

through all.  The model of preaching is to make Christ the beginning,

middle, and end.   But let it be Christ the Savior from sin; not Christ

the mere Teacher, or Example, or Mystery of God; but the Messenger

of peace to dying souls. The sermon, doubtless, is given only in

rough sketch, for it probably occupied some time, as the miracle was

wrought about three o’clock in the afternoon, and the sermon was

interrupted in the evening. There was time for a discourse of more

than an hour, so that we may suppose the facts and arguments

considerably amplified in the delivery. It would seem that some two

thousand were converted between the day of Pentecost and the close

of Peter’s sermon in Solomon’s porch. It is, therefore, likely that a

large proportion of that number owed their conversion to this sermon;

and they were many of them of the populace. Their identification with

the Church would, therefore, give great weight to the message, which

would be remembered and repeated in substance through the city, and

hence handed down to the writer of the Acts. We cannot do better than

study such models of simplicity and earnestness, if we would be blessed

with similar success among the people.



The Mission of Jesus Christ (v. 26)




God raised up His Son (Servant); God sent Him.


Ø      The twofold aspect of the Divine character thus presented to us.


* Love desiring to bless;

* righteousness requiring the putting away of iniquities.


ALL is from the Father.




Ø      The whole gospel must be preached, or its true success cannot be

realized. The mutilated Christianity of our time is proving itself



* We must lead the hearts of men to a person;

* we must teach them dependence on a power;

* we must call them to newness of life, a life already

   made manifest through Christ, both in His history and in the

   history of His people.



Peter’s Second Sermon and Its Results — One Evening’s Good Work

(v. 1-ch. 4:4)


The history contained in the Acts of the Apostles continues to be a record

of Peter’s lead. This great honor is bestowed on the active, earnest,

impetuous disciple of the days of Jesus’ flesh. And it must be accepted as a

certain proof that his repentance had been deep and sincere. The name of

his loving companion and old brother disciple John is now introduced. But

nothing that he may have either said or done is noticed with any

particularity as yet. That he did contribute something in both of these sorts,

however, is evident from the language of vs. 3 and 11 in this chapter, and

ch. 4:1,13,19. The continued happy and hearty co-operation

of the two is meantime worthy of notice, and tells its own tale; and if a

conjecture is to be hazarded at all, none but the most natural need be

repaired to — that John was feeling the quiet and reverent way to a service

which he loved with his whole heart, and willingly yielded the precedence

to another, Peter, whom he saw, ever since the issue of the race of the

sacred sepulcher, if not before, to be a born pioneer. The really central fact

of this portion of Scripture is another sermon from Peter, with its occasion

so significant and its results so gladdening. Let us notice:



discoursing on the description of what had been were not yet come. Peter

founds his discourse on something to which he literally pointed his hearers,

saying, “Ye see and know” it. Nor has Peter now the hard task of exciting

attention and interest. These are abundantly excited. Deeds have gone

before words, certain practice has gone before doctrine. The subject is

invested with life and reality all round, and Peter undoubtedly has the

grand advantage of speaking to ears that want to listen, because mind and

heart are inquiring.  Four general observations respecting the miracle as a

whole should be made.


Ø      This miracle is the first recorded as wrought by the apostles in the new


Ø      It most distinctly professes to be wrought “in the Name of Jesus Christ

of Nazareth.”

Ø      It created a widespread interest, and awakened prompt and close


Ø      It is characterized by certain among the whole number of those who

considered and investigated it as “a notable miracle,” and one which

they “could not deny,” though with the very best wishes to deny it.




Ø      It is a large and evidently altogether miscellaneous assembly.

Ø      It is an assembly who immediately look as though they attributed the

miracle to “power” or to “holiness,” or both.

Ø      It is an assembly who, in their wonder, excitement, and probably, also,

genuine gratitude, are ready to attribute that “power” and “holiness” to

two fellow-men.

Ø      It is an assembly guarded and corrected upon this matter without an

unnecessary moment’s delay.


  • THE SERMON ITSELF. No picture ever brought out more faithfully

or forcibly some figure in the landscape, no portrait some feature of

countenance, than does this once spoken, now written, sermon bring out

forcibly and faithfully certain truths. Note:


Ø      The grand subject of it. “Jesus Christ” (vs. 13, 18, 20). And


o       the transcendent relationship belonging to Jesus is with

unqualified emphasis now asserted. He is the “Son of the God

of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob.” He is the “Son of

the God of our fathers.” Before the death of Jesus, Peter had

boldly borne most unequivocal testimony to his own faith in

the “Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:17;

John 6:69), and, it may be supposed, to that of his fellow-disciples

at the same time. And Peter had been in that act blessed with the

great reward of hearing his Lord’s own estimate of the special

grace bestowed upon him. “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona:

for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father

which is in heaven.” Be this so, it is equally certain that this

generation” of the “Son Jesus” had not only not been publicly

preached to the people, but had in a sense been suppressed.

Far otherwise now. Jesus has suffered, risen, ascended. And His

right and dignity in this most cardinal respect is to be



o       The names to which Jesus has entitled Himself by character,

by sufferings, and by achievements are boldly spoken. He is

“the Holy One and the Just… the Prince of life, whom God

hath raised from the dead;” and He is “that Prophet.”


o       His treatment at the hands of men, and even of those who were

at the moment the hearers of Peter, with all the aggravations

of it, is enlarged upon. It is not only the fearless fidelity of Peter

that is worthy of note here.  Beyond and below this, the method

itself is to be noted, which consists in going to the very root of

the disease, probing it to the core. Thus Peter, looking at thee

guilty in the face, says, “Whom ye delivered up, and denied

Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to

let Him go. But ye refused the Holy One and the Just, and

desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and ye killed

the Prince of life.” And yet it is “His Name… that

hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know… and

given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

There is in all this no slurring over of the guilt, of the

aggravations of it, or of the fact that those who were there

and then listeners were the abettors of it or accessories to it.


o       His very contrary treatment at the hands of His Father, God, is

brought into prominence. “God… hath glorified His Son Jesus,

… God hath raised Him from the dead… and to you first hath

sent Him to bless you.” This all, involved the vital point. The

Jew who could have brought himself to believe that God was thus

“well pleased” in Jesus, would have been the first to condemn

himself; and with swift force is this, therefore, brought

down upon him, in that incontestably he ought to have believed

and seen long ago. The Jew is answerable for his guilt and folly,

let them be mixed in whatever proportions. Let his “ignorance”

bear what proportion it may to the sum total of his fault, his

ignorance was his own look out, was not necessary, was

inexcusable, and the smart of the consequences of it he

must now become acquainted with and must wince beneath it.

Peter sees the door opened for him, and he enters in. He has

his hearers now. The link that often seemed missing to them,

who had no eyes to see aught except a negation, is found, and

Peter is determined that eyes shall no longer pretend being shut

to it. With such crushing effect betimes do circumstances prove

providences, and the sudden glorious crisis at the Beautiful gate

that evening at nine o’clock crowds with conviction and

humiliation and shame many a conscience, many a heart.

Things are rapidly reversing now. This is the hour of Jesus.

Peter now puts on his head one crown of glory — the crown

of thorns in the past!


o       Lastly, the inherent force of Jesus is asserted. His is a Name —

there can, there shall be no denial of it, no mistake about it —

above every name.  With a certain power of repetition, which

is not “vain repetition,” does Peter state it: “And His Name

through [by-the- method of] faith in His Name yea, the faith

which is through Him,” is what hath given this man

“this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” In which

grand and emphatic statement these two gospel axioms may

be found,


§         that Christ is the one Object on which faith may try her

virtue — “My faith would lay her hand on that dear head

of thine:” and,


§         that Christ is the one Object whose virtue — “for virtue

      went out of Him” — it is worth faith’s while to try.

There is unsurpassed virtue in Christ, and the access to

that virtue, the method of drawing upon it, is by faith.

So there is unsurpassed virtue in faith also. Christ, and

Christ alone, meets, and meets abundantly, the want of

man, of any and every man.  Faith, and faith alone, brings

Christ and man so together that the one imparts and the

other receives all that can be needed, asked, desired. This

must be called the kernel of the apostle’s sermon now.

And it is the kernel of Christianity. This is the essence

and distinctiveness of Christianity. And beyond a doubt

this it is that constitutes its unwelcomeness to a proud

world’s heart, its inexpressible welcomeness to an humble,

stricken heart, that only asks one thing — if now at last

its unfathomed depth and unceasing craving may be

worthily, sufficiently filled.


Ø      The appeals that follow upon it. Peter is, indeed, all the while earnestly

appealing to the people; but this appeal is no mere declamation, either

vague or impassioned. It is grounded, firmly grounded, upon other



o       The first appeal is to events quite recent — to a history within the

actual knowledge of all the nation, but most of all of the city of

Jerusalem.  The “holy” character of Jesus, his “just” conduct,

His betrayal and repudiation by “His own,” His suffering,

resurrection, and glorification, at least in so far as the

Ascension was concerned.


o       The second appeal is to their own “oracles,” and the prized stores

of their own treasured prophecies. Peter well knew the just

purchase he gained in confronting his audience with quotations

from their prophets (vs. 18, 21-22, 24-25).


o       The third appeal is one made to their own conscience. This

consisted not only in the plain and uncompromising manner in

which Peter brought to their remembrance their most recent

offences against their own conscience, partly under the cover

of ignorance in their crucifying of Christ, but beside this in

his direct naming of them as sinners. He exhorts them not as

“the ninety and nine” “which needed no repentance,” but

emphatically as those who needed to “repent,” needed to

be converted,” needed “the blotting out of their sins,” needed

the “sending of that very Jesus Christ” who had been “preached

unto” them, though hitherto in vain; needed the warning of that

terrible prophecy, that said, The soul that heareth not shall be

destroyed from among the people;” needed to be reminded that

they were the “children of the prophets” and of a most

venerable “covenant;” and needed to be reminded, withal, of

the last highest touch added to their privilege and their

responsibility, in that to them first God had sent his risen Son,”

to offer them first the fullness of that richest “blessing,” which

consisted in the “being turned away each from his iniquities”

glorious diversion indeed! There is not a sentence but was a

message to the conscience. Not a sentence but what must have

“pricked the heart.” And not a sentence but what would have

been a winged barbed arrow, except for the mercy that each

time took the aim, and which mercy was as “purposed” as the

arrow’s aim was deliberate.  Such a marshalling of allegation

against hearts and consciences, and the living men to whom

they belonged, rarely had been, rarely has been. But

when it has, true it is that it is in part material that it has

occurred — in the matter of men’s treatment of Christ and

of their own souls. Withal Peter did not distrust the influence of:


o       the appeal to hope. Through all the faithfulness of plain speaking

and the severity of naked truth, kindliness seems to betray itself,

and to wish to make its deeper existence felt. The prompt

disclaiming of any special and superior power or holiness in

himself and brother apostle was a happy beginning on the part

of Peter, and tended to put to sleep envy and the spirit of a

comparison that would all have added to the smart of the reproof

for conscious wrong-doing. Again, Peter does himself (v. 17)

mitigate in some degree their sin, by the suggestion of their

“ignorance” and of that of their “rulers;” and in the same breath

addresses them as “brethren.” His allusion to the fulfilling of

prophecy amid all the stern facts of the “suffering” of Christ

had also the germ of hopefulness in it. The “blotting

out of their sins,” and the whisper of “the times of refreshing

from the presence of the Lord;” the inspiring quotation of the

“Prophet to be raised up from among their brethren, like unto”

Moses; and the fixing of the fact that it was on these very existing

days that the whole ranks of “prophets from Samuel” downwards

had concentred prophetic attention; and, last of all, the rehearsing

of the old promise to Abraham, clenched by the assertion

of its being now in course and act of fulfilling; — surely all this

was ground thickly sown with the seeds of hope. So absent was

the tone of disparagement and depreciation, when the lips of

Peter spoke most stinging truth! Great is the recuperative

energy of souls, when there is any room for hope left. But

depreciation is a cruel foe to hope, if it take effect;

and if it do not take effect, it is sure to make more irreconcilably

active the spirit of self-defense and of opposition. Nor can we

doubt, nor would we wish to doubt, that the sermon of Peter

showed one grand fulfillment of the promise, that it “should be

given in that same hour what they should speak” to those who

were called by the Spirit to speak for Jesus.


  • THE FIRST EFFECTS OF THE SERMON. The first effects were a

plain augury of what occurred very often in later times. These first effects

are not all discomfiture. Nor are they results that count half and half, with

no clear balance either of gain or of loss. To count nothing on what may

succeed them, the first results show the preachers Peter and John bound,

the Word they preached not bound.


Ø      The apostles, who preached, are imprisoned — for what length of time

the sentence discreetly left unsaid. The apostles were laid hands on by

ecclesiastics, committed by self-interest to endeavor to maintain the

status quo in the Church and the world — by one official and by a

few self-styled theologians, driest of the dry and most erring of the

erring (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24, 27).


Ø      The doctrine they had been preaching was not imprisoned. “Many” who

had heard it “believed.” Fresh wings were given to it to fly abroad.

Either the additional, or more probably the total, number of believers

was now “five thousand” And the imprisonment of Peter and John

is certain to have had these two consequences upon them, viz. that

fresh thought would be stirred up in every one of them, and fresh

utterance of the mouth of every one of them be provoked. Thus it

is very far from being a case of all loss.  The “Name of Jesus Christ

of Nazarethwrought great things this day, and truth made great




Christ’s Mission to the Jews (v. 26)


Peter had been speaking of our Lord’s resurrection, and it is natural to

connect the expression of the text, “having raised up His Son Jesus,” with

that resurrection. The idea, however, seems to be more general — God

having provided, prepared, given, set forth. Matthew Henry gives the

complete thought: “God, having raised up his Son Jesus, appointed and

authorized Him to be a Prince and a Savior; and, in confirmation of this,

raised Him from the dead, sent Him to bless you, in making tender of His

blessing to you. God raised up Jesus when He constituted Him a Prophet.

Some refer the raising of Him up to His resurrection, which was the renewal

of His commission.” This is Peter’s direct appeal to the Jews, and

declaration of the particular mission of Christ to the Jews. To them the

gospel was first to be preached. Their former Divine revelation was a

gracious preparation of them for the reception of the new revelation. But

the new blessing would not come to them merely as a nation; it would

come to each individual, and to the whole only through the individual, and

depend upon the openness and acceptance of faith. Apostles were to

“begin at Jerusalem.” The points made prominent by this simple appeal are,


(1) God is the Savior

(2) He saves by His Son Jesus;

(3) the essence of that salvation is the turning of men away from

     their iniquities.


  • GOD IS THE SAVIOR. The apostles always kept to the idea that Christ

is the Medium of the salvation, and God the source. Sometimes the

exigencies of theological systems have led to the practical neglect of this

important distinction. God saves men. God’s love is THE FOUNTAIN

OF REDEMPTION!  God’s wisdom fashions the redemptive plan.

(Revelation 13:8)  God’s Son executes the redemptive purpose.

GOD IS ALL IN ALL and God must be glorified in all. No apostle puts

this more plainly than Peter. Compare his very forcible language in I Peter 1:21,

“Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave

Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.


  • GOD SAVES BY HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. Whom He sent to the

earth, and whom He raised from the dead. THIS IS GOD’S WAY OF

SALVATION!  IT IS THE ONLY WAY!  By both considerations we






LORD JESUS CHRIST but that is ever regarded as displaying and proving,

in a very impressive manner, THE FALLEN AND RUINED CONDITION

OF MEN!   It was such a display of malice, prejudice, and hard-hearted

willfulness, as revealed THE UTTER BADNESS AND CORRUPTION

OF HUMANITY!  The root-cause of evil in man is SELF-LOVE, SELF-


From them we can only be turned by:


Ø      the love of another,

Ø      the seeking of the good of another, and

Ø      the enthronement of the will of another.


           Therefore Jesus Christ is set forth, we are bidden to:


Ø      look at Him,

Ø       know Him,

Ø       set our love on Him, and

Ø      enthrone Him in our hearts and lives.


       He can work a mighty saving work in every heart and every life that is

turned towards Him and opened to Him. And penitence and faith can open

our heart-doors. The way and the means to secure “Divine forgiveness,”

“blotting out of sins”, and “times of refreshing, are that repentance and

turning again” to which the apostle has been exhorting the people. This is

urged first upon the Jews, but IT IS THE CONDITION FOR SALVATION

for Jew and Gentile alike.



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