The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Acts 3

Act 3:1

PETER AND JOHN: Age and youth associated together. Peter and John mentioned together often in Acts, Peter always first.

UP TO THE TEMPLE AT THE TIME OF PRAYER: The disciples have not yet banned from the Temple. They come to pray, not to offer sacrifice.

Act 3:2

A MAN CRIPPLED FROM BIRTH: Now about 40 years old (Act 4:22). Prohibited from entering Temple because of his disability (2Sa 5:8).

THE TEMPLE GATE CALLED BEAUTIFUL: "Now nine of these gates were on every side, covered over with gold and silver... but there was one gate that was outside the holy house, which was of Corinthian brass and greatly excelled those that were only covered with gold and silver" (Josephus, Xdn 121:245).

Act 3:3

Vv 3,4: A public beggar begs disinterestedly -- looking upon all men as nothing but potential donors. Peter cuts through all this, and forces the lame man to consider who they are.

The lame man asked for "ALMS" (KJV), but instead got LEGS!

Act 3:5

SO THE MAN GAVE THEM HIS ATTENTION, EXPECTING TO GET SOMETHING FROM THEM: But little could he imagine just exactly WHAT -- and exactly HOW MUCH! -- he would get!

Act 3:6

Notice: Apparently, the common fund (Act 2:44,45) was not used for private charity.

SILVER AND GOLD I DO NOT HAVE: There were gates of gold and silver, and an exceedingly Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2) -- enormous wealth was concentrated in the Temple of the Jews, but none of it did any good for the poor lame man, who sat year after year in its shadow; none of it could deliver him from his affliction.

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1Pe 1:18,19).

Also compare Exo 20:23,24: "Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it... Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you." The temple -- with all its gold and silver -- though it was practically worshiped as a "god" by the devout Jews, could not bring deliverance, or salvation, to the lame man. What could deliver him was recourse to the simple "altar" of "earth" (human nature), which was Jesus Christ. This plain and unadorned "altar" of flesh honored the name of his Father and thus brought a blessing unattainable elsewhere!

The apostles had apparently provided no redemption money for the Day of Atonement (Exo 30:12-14); they knew that their redemption -- even as the healing of the lame man -- was in and through the precious blood of Christ.

JESUS... OF NAZARETH: Jesus had been despised, just as a lame man would be.

WALK: "Rise up and walk" (AV).

"Rise up and walk": an overview of Eph: This is what Peter said to the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple; and this is what Jesus says to every believer. First, "Rise up." Then, "Walk." "Rise up" (Eph 1-3): see esp Eph 2:5,6. "Walk" (Eph 4-6): the believer's life in the Truth.

Act 3:7

FEET: "Basis" = technical term, used by Luke only (physician): sig part of foot directly beneath leg -- ie heel (Vincent).

BECAME STRONG: "Stereo": only here; v 16; Act 16:5.

The splendid setting had done nothing to heal the man. But there was One who was greater than the Temple (Mat 12:6)!

The lame man asked for "alms" but received "legs"!

Act 3:8

HE JUMPED TO HIS FEET AND BEGAN TO WALK: Sym Israel's restoration (Isa 35:6). The one previously excluded from the temple (2Sa 5:8) now leaps and dances in the presence of the LORD, as had David the king (2Sa 6).

WALKING AND JUMPING: The added miracle of an immediate faculty of balance and control. God does not heal by halves!

Act 3:11

COLONNADE: "Porch" (KJV), "portico" (RSV).

Act 3:13

SERVANT: Not word for "son" ("huios"). "Pais": as in Act 4:27,30: allusions to the Servant prophecies of Isaiah (Isa 42:1; 52:13...).

DISOWNED: "No king but Caesar" (Joh 19:15). Peter had also disowned Christ.

Act 3:14

"You asked the life of a murderer, and murdered him who makes alive."

They had before them "Cain" and "Abel", and they released "Cain" while killing "Abel"! Cp the ritual of the two goats on the Day of Atonement.

Act 3:15

See VL, Christ's resurrection, reality.

AUTHOR: "Archegos" = one who stands at the head of the line: sw Heb 2:10. Cp Joseph in Gen 41:45.

WE ARE WITNESSES OF THIS: Cp Act 4:10; 5:30-32; 10:39-41; 13:28,29.

Act 3:16

BY FAITH IN THE NAME OF JESUS: Had this lame man heard Jesus preach in this very place? Cp v 11 / Joh 10:23.

COMPLETE HEALING: "Holokleria", from "kleros", a lot, one who has his full allotment.

Act 3:17

IGNORANCE: A partial, but not a perfect, ignorance. More of a willful, stubborn ignorance.

Act 3:18

// Luke 24:25-27.

Act 3:19

REPENT: "Metanoeo" = be converted (AV).

SO THAT: Cause (repent) and effect (Christ's return). Jesus had essentially said: "When Israel truly repents, then I will come" (Act 1:7,8). Cp 2Pe 3:9.

REFRESHING: "Anapsuxis" = to breathe again; ie a breath of fresh air! Renewal and recreation, as in Gen 2:7. Here, a new and spiritual creation, refreshed by a "sabbath" rest: Exo 31:17.

WIPED OUT: "Ekaleipho" = the erasure of handwriting: "According to your great compassion blot out my transgressions" (Psa 51:1).

Here is the ritual of the Day of Atonement: national repentance, and then the expectation of High Priest returning from the Most Holy Place, bringing a blessing from God (vv 19-21,26). Cp Psa 69:28; Jer 18:13; Isa 43:25; 44:22.

Act 3:20

Coming of Christ: central theme of apostles' preaching.

The High Priest going into most holy on Day of Atonement.

SEND: Gr "apostello" = to send from or away, as v 26. Jesus' stay in heaven, only temporary: Acts 1:11; John 14:3.

AND THAT HE MAY SEND: This is the correct translation: God's sending His Son is dependent on the repentance of Israel. (AV simply has: "and he shall send", which clouds the significance of the dependent clause.)

Heaven = Jesus' temporary dwelling place. He stays there until God's appointed time: Psa 110:1,2; Heb 10:12,13; Phil 3:20.

Act 3:21

TO RESTORE: "Apokatastasis" = reestablishment from a state of total ruin. Only here. Technically, the restoring to its proper place of a dislocated joint (like that of the lame man!). "Restore" what? The Kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). Then Jesus will sit on David's throne: Acts 15:16.

Is this a quotation of Mar 9:12?: "Elijah does come first, and RESTORES all things."

AS HE PROMISED LONG AGO: A single, consistent, eternal purpose.

Act 3:22

Cit Deu 18:15-19.

Act 3:23

"I myself will call him to account" (Deu 18:19).

Act 3:25

HEIRS... OF THE COVENANT: Lit, "sons of the covenant", or "bnai brith" (cp Mat 8:12; 9:15; Luk 16:8). Christ is the covenant-sacrifice!

OFFSPRING: "Seed" (AV). Cp Gal 3:16,27-29.

BLESSED: Only here, Gal 3:8. The intensive of "eulogeo" (v 26). Cit Gen 12:3.

Act 3:26

RAISED UP: that is, from Abraham's seed.

FIRST: First to the Jews, but also -- eventually, and surely -- to the Gentiles: Mat 28:19; Mark 16:15; Rom 1:16; 2:9.

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