IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH
Key Verse: 3:6
"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'"
In the previous passage all believers were united in prayer and the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. Peter gave a wonderful sermon on Jesus' death and resurrection. Three thousand people accepted his message through their repentance and the Jerusalem church was born. The fellowship of the believers in the young Jerusalem church was beautiful because they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, and to prayer. Today, we will study how Peter heals a crippled beggar and uses this miracle to proclaim the power of Jesus’ resurrection. Peter urges the crowds who saw the miracle to repent and turn to God so that they may receive the forgiveness of their sins and the times of refreshing of their souls. Let’s have faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth so that many spiritually crippled students may begin a new life. I pray that God may use us to proclaim the power of Jesus’ name to all students. May the Lord bless us to become powerful witnesses of Jesus in our campuses!
PART I. PETER HEALS THE CRIPPLED BEGGAR (1-11)
Look at verse 1. "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer-- at three in the afternoon." For the Jews, there were 3 special hours of prayer: 9 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m. To them, prayer was the most precious time to meet God very personally. The apostles still kept up the custom of prayer. In the past they slept when Jesus asked their prayer support. (Mark 14:37) Now they became men of prayer. They prayed together to serve the work of God. Their human competition disappeared and they became prayer partners. They began to love one another. They found strength in prayer and they became more faithful to prayer than eating. The Holy Spirit enabled them to cowork together as a team. They received the power from the Holy Spirit. They were fearful to enter the temple in the past. Now their favorite fishing place was the temple.
Look at verse 2. "Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts." This man was crippled from birth. He seemed to be one of the most fatalistic men. His life was not beautiful though his job place was located near the gate called “Beautiful.” He had never been able to walk. As a boy, he could not play basketball like Samuel Chang. He could not play volleyball like John and David. So he was isolated and despised. Now, as a man, he could not get a proper job. Instead, he begged for charity from others. Fortunately, he was given a special privilege to beg at the temple gate. It was the best begging spot in Jerusalem. Since he could not walk, he depended on others to get a ride. As usual he asked money from Peter and John, "Excuse me, sirs, alms for the crippled? Alms for the crippled?" According to Acts 4:22, he was over 40 years old. He remained in the same condition of begging for 40 years.
Usually, people want to avoid direct eye contact with a beggar. They just threw their coins to the beggar’s cup. If a beggar approaches to our car, we wish that the traffic light be turn to green soon. But Peter and John were different. Peter said, "Look at us!" Then the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. The beggar thought, "Wow, this is the day I was waiting for. Maybe they will give me a 20-dollar bill. Go ahead! Make my day." Nobody called him before and now someone called him. He was excited. Of course, he had asked for money; he expected money. He did not dare to beg that his legs be made whole, since he had no hope that they could do this.
How did Peter help him? Look at verse 6. "Then Peter said, `Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'" We learn two things from Peter here. In the first place, Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have.” In reality, Peter did not have silver or gold. He did not give him silver or gold. Why? He knew what this man needed most. Peter had a spiritual insight. He did not help the beggar according to the man's expectation. Silver or gold was a temporary solution because he remained as a beggar though people gave him silver or gold everyday. Silver or gold perpetuated his beggar’s mentality. They made him a permanent beggar. As long as people gave him money, people kept on carrying him to this temple gate. Then this man developed his dependent spirit and this caused him to be crippled not only physically but also spiritually. Now Peter saw his deep spiritual problem. Though he received silver or gold, he remained as a crippled beggar for 40 years. Silver or gold would not solve this man's fundamental life problem. Though human help looks good, it has human limitation. S. Bruce H. said, “Human help is temporary.” What he needed most was healing from crippled condition. He needed to walk. He needed healing from his beggar's mentality. Peter wanted to solve this man's life problem from the root. That’s the reason why he did not give him silver or gold. So Peter did not give him what he asked for. Instead, he was ready to give him what he really hoped for throughout his life. This man needed Jesus.
In the second place, Peter gave this man the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Peter did not have silver or gold, but he had something to give the beggar. As a servant of God, Peter had Jesus. Peter met the risen Christ. Peter had faith in Jesus’ power. Peter could help the man walk in the name of Jesus. He could solve the man's life problem. Of course, it was not Peter, it was Jesus working through him who did this. Peter could help a crippled beggar to walk by faith in the name of Jesus. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, Jesus was working through Peter. It was Jesus who could heal the man. The transformation of Peter was remarkable. Once Peter was a man of many wows because he did not have faith in Jesus. But when he received the promised Holy Spirit, he became a man of faith. He could say to a crippled beggar with full conviction, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Here we learn that God’s servant must not depend on silver or gold but depend on Jesus’ name in order to help spiritually crippled sheep. Our first priority is faith in Jesus not silver or gold when we help others. M. David Yun reached a human limitation when he helped S. Shannon Smith because he remained in the same condition for a long time. At that time M. David believed in the name of Jesus and said, “I cannot change but Jesus can change.” According to his faith in Jesus, Shannon was changed from a fatalistic person to a man of vision.
Upon hearing Peter's words, the crippled beggar must have been surprised saying, “Are you talking to me?” At first, he didn't walk. But Peter did not waver in his faith in Jesus’ power. Peter had confidence in Jesus. He needed some help. So Peter took him by the right hand and helped him up. Then, "...instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk" (7). When the Holy Spirit worked in this man, his feet and ankles became strong in an instant. Though he had never walked, he could jump to his feet and walk. He needed some physical therapy to walk. But he did not need it. It was a miracle by the name of Jesus. He made a dunk shoot. Maybe, he could join in the dancing or tae-kwon-do team. His lifelong handicap was healed in a moment by the name of Jesus. He was also healed spiritually. He went into the temple courts praising God (8). Before, he used his mouth to curse his fatalistic human condition. He used his mouth to complain when people did not give what he wanted. He used his mouth to complain about his parents. He was bitter about his life and had a beggar's mentality. Now he was in the temple giving praise to God. He might be a good candidate for our Praise Him bands. Praising God and giving something to God is the act of a spiritually healthy person. In addition, he became a witness of God’s great work. He did not leave Peter and John but stayed with his shepherds after healing to support Peter’s message. He was thankful for his healing. He was a good sheep.
When God's people depend on the name of Jesus, great work of God is done through them. M. Ruth Kim is struggling to survive in America. She did not have silver or gold but she has Jesus’ name. By faith she invited Maryland students and God blessed her to have first 1:1 Bible study with Benjamin. M. Sarah Chang told one young man in the name of Jesus, “You can park here if you study Bible with me.” He said, “yes.” Now she is studying with him. S. Tony and Grace M. did not have silver or gold but they have Jesus’ name. They help Elaine to grow as a woman of faith. When I came to America, I had $100 in my pocket. So I did not have silver or gold but I had the name of Jesus. My English was poor but I had Jesus. So I gave Jesus’ name to David and Bruce. They were healed from their crippled spiritual condition and became great men of God. What America needs most is the name of Jesus. There are so many spiritually crippled young people though they have abundant silver or gold. This crippled began represents our life in the eyes of God. Each of us carries one crippled condition in our life. We are crippled due to our past sins. We are crippled due to our fatalistic human condition. We are crippled due to our constant failure in job or family. We are crippled due to our fear. We are crippled due to our human pride and selfishness. When we remain in the same condition for a long time, we want to give up any hope. I pray that you do not give up. At that time we need Jesus’ name. Jesus’ name can heal our crippled condition. We can jump and praise God. Spiritually sick people do not know what their real problem is. In their misery of sin, they easily become beggars for love or recognition. One young woman is pretty and intelligent. She can do great things for God. But she has been crippled by the desire for a young man's love. This young man cannot satisfy her soul. Only Jesus can truly satisfy her soul. Only Jesus can heal her and make her a mother of prayer for America. Only Jesus can raise young Americans as a short term or a long term missionaries to the end of the earth. May God help us to learn Peter's faith in the name of Jesus.
"When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him" (9-10). There is power in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth a crippled man was healed physically and spiritually. After this man was healed, people who saw him recognized him, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (10) When this man crippled from birth was healed, everyone was truly happy. In truth, there is no greater joy to all mankind than to see a crippled man made whole in the name of Jesus.
PART II. PETER WITNESSES TO THE NAME OF JESUS (11-26)
All the people who had seen this miracle were astonished and came running to them. Peter and John became very popular. People did not see God behind them; they only saw Peter and John. All the attention was given to Peter. It was a great temptation to Peter and John to claim their power. But Peter and John were not at all swayed by the tempting situation. They began to witness to the name of Jesus. In their witnessing we learn two things.
First, "It is Jesus' name." (12-16) Look at verse 12. "When Peter saw this, he said to them: 'Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power and godliness we had made this man walk?" Peter said to the people that it was not they who had healed the man. He declared that it was divine power to heal him. Peter does his part, and yet it is Christ that does all. Of course, Peter's role is important to bring this healing power. But we have to remember that the source of miracle comes from the name of Jesus. No one can replace the name of Jesus. There is no substitute in Jesus' power. In that situation, Peter could have claimed his power and enjoyed his soaring popularity. But he did not steal God's glory. He was very humble before God and gave all the credit to Jesus.
Promptly, Peter began to explain the miracle done through Jesus. He explained that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Peter used this miracle to turn the thoughts of the crowds to Jesus. Look at verses 13,14. "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, The God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous one and asked that a murderer be released to you." Here he convicted their sins with 4 contrasting facts. Their forefathers glorified Jesus but they delivered him to die. Pilate, a gentile governor wanted to release Jesus but they refused to let him be released. They rejected who was holy and just but demanded that a murderer should be released. They killed Jesus but he was the author of life. To them the facts were undeniable and overwhelming. As a conclusion to this, Peter said in verse 15, "You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." Peter exposed their criminal activity very clearly. The world crucified Jesus on the cross like a criminal. But God raised him from the dead. This Risen Jesus gave his apostles the power and authority to heal the sick. Peter spoke about the reality of resurrection and glorification of Jesus very clearly. Peter's main point is that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Look at verse 16. "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." The healing of the crippled man was proof that Jesus is
alive. The power of God that raised Jesus from the dead gave an immediate and complete healing to a crippled beggar.
Second, repentance in the name of Jesus. (17-23) The effect of Peter’s second sermon on the crows was overwhelming. They realized their sins. After Peter saw their pains in their faces, he changed the tone of his sermon. He exposed their criminality in a strong term, but now he softens his tone and offered them forgives of sins. Look at verse 17. "Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders." Now he called them “brothers.” Peter comforted them the fact that they acted in ignorance. Peter told them that in their ignorance, they committed the greatest crime against God in human history. Of course, he did not mean that they were innocent. Look at verse 18. In their mistreatment of Jesus, God was fulfilling what he had declared through the prophets. What was the condition of their pardon? Look at verse 19. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” The condition of pardon was to repent and turn to God. The Greek word for repentance is “metanoeo”. The primary meaning is a “change of our mind.” Repentance requires a changed life before God. Repentance brings a transformation of our life. Then their sins can be wiped out, and their burden of sin and guilt can be removed. If they repent in the name of Jesus, they can enjoy times of refreshing from the Lord. Many people go to many places to refresh themselves. Usually they fail. Repentance is the best way to refresh our mind and soul. Most importantly, if they repent in the name of Jesus, Christ will come to them and remain in them until God restores paradise, the kingdom of God, as he promised long ago through his prophets. (21) Moses predicted that Jesus would become our Messiah. Moses gave law to Israel people but Jesus gave them salvation through faith in his name. (In verses 24-26 Peter reminds them that they are a people chosen to be a blessing to all peoples on earth.)
In this passage we learned the power of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Through Peter's faith in the name of Jesus a crippled beggar was completely healed. Through our faith in the name of Jesus, spiritually crippled young Americans can be healed and become servants of God. Through our faith in the name of Jesus America can be changed into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. May God help us to have faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.