(Acts 3:11) While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon s Colonnade.

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1 Acts 3:11-21 & New International Version December 3, 2017 The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, December 3, 2017, is from Acts 3:11-21 (Some will only study Acts 3:11-21). Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary. Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further will help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion: these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website along with the International Bible Lesson that you may want to read to your class as part of your Bible study. You can discuss each week s commentary and lesson at the International Bible Lesson Forum. (Acts 3:11) While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon s Colonnade. As Luke reported in Acts 3:1-10, Peter healed a man lame from childhood when he begged for alms at Solomon s Colonnade: located on the eastern side of the Temple's

2 P a g e 2 Outer Court in Jerusalem. Neither Peter nor John asked why the man was lame from childhood; rather, they followed Jesus example when He healed the man born blind (see John 9:1-3). The man immediately ran and jumped and glorified God for his healing in the name of Jesus Christ. As he held on to Peter and John, people came running to them, because they knew the man and knew of his previous condition. They wanted to know how he was miraculously healed. (Acts 3:12) When Peter saw this, he said to them: Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? Peter used this event as an opportunity for his second sermon reported in the Book of Acts. Jesus and His apostles had the power of healing, and Jesus probably healed many thousands of people as these people at the temple well knew. So, Peter says to them that they should not be surprised. As he did during his first sermon, Peter spoke primarily to Israelites, probably the only people allowed into the temple area at the Beautiful Gate. Peter immediately directed their attention away from John and himself. He gave Jesus all the glory for the gift of healing that He gave the lame man through their faith. Peter said they neither had the personal power nor moral character to make the lame man walk, and then he went on to

3 P a g e 3 explain how and by whom the lame man had been healed. Later, the Apostle Paul explained the mystery of true godliness, the reason the resurrected Jesus had the power to heal the man: Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory (1 Timothy 3:16). Any true godliness that a Christian demonstrates is the true godliness that springs from Jesus in glory. (Acts 3:13) 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. First, Peter told them that the lame man had not been healed by them or by some strange god or pagan power. Rather, the God they worshiped, the God of the patriarchs, the God of their fathers, was responsible for the man s healing. The God of the Bible, the God they worshiped, had glorified His servant Jesus (see Isaiah 53:1-12 for the prophecy of the suffering servant). Jesus was glorified first when He was lifted up, hung upon the cross, and died for our sins. God glorified Jesus a second time when He raised Jesus from the dead in His glorified human body and again when Jesus ascended into heaven from where He

4 P a g e 4 answered Peter s prayers and saw his act of faith. Second, Peter accused them of participating in the murder of an innocent man. Jesus was innocent truly because He had never sinned, but Peter spoke directly about matters they could understand. The fact was, Pilate had declared Jesus to be innocent, not guilty of breaking any law. In spite of Jesus being an innocent man, they had handed Him over to Pilate, disowned Him as the King of the Jews, and demanded that He be crucified. They murdered Jesus by persuading the Roman authorities to kill Him on the cross. (Acts 3:14) You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. Peter emphatically declared that Jesus is God, because only God is the Holy and Righteous One. Jesus had declared, No one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). Only God, the Holy and Righteous One, is good. As the Son of God, Jesus has all the attributes, characteristics, divine nature, and qualities of God. Jesus said to Philip: Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, Show us the Father? (John 14:9). With the healed man in front of them as evidence of Jesus life-giving and healing power, Peter accused them of choosing to save a murderer when Pilate gave them the opportunity to save Jesus. When on earth Jesus was the One who had manifested all the loving, healing, merciful,

5 P a g e 5 and saving power of God in their presence. Through the Apostles, Jesus was still manifesting His divine nature and power. Jesus power and godliness working through Peter had enabled the man to walk. (Acts 3:15) You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the author of life. John wrote: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made (John 1:1-3). Peter accused the Israelites of using the Romans to kill Jesus, and Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer of all life; He was the One who gave them life moment-by-moment. But, despite what they had done, God had raised Jesus from the dead. The disciples and many of Jesus other followers witnessed the fact that God, His Father, had raised Jesus from the dead (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Because God had raised Jesus from the dead, Peter and the other disciples could heal in Jesus name. (Acts 3:16) 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 completely healed him, as you can all see.

6 P a g e 6 The lame man was made strong immediately because Peter acted by faith in Jesus name. The man was not healed because the name of Jesus has magical properties; rather, with faith in Jesus, the Author of Life, Peter acted to heal the man and Jesus healed him. The faith that Peter acted upon came from and through Jesus. At that moment in time, Jesus gave Peter the faith he needed to act in behalf of the lame man who had no faith in Jesus until after Jesus healed him; then, he began to praise God. Peter continually pointed the people to Jesus as the cause and explanation for how the man was healed completely and immediately. (Acts 3:17) Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. The Israelites and their leaders were guilty of knowingly demanding the execution by the Romans of an innocent man. When they tried Jesus, knowing all about His ministry as they did, they knew He had not broken any of God s laws, but they demanded that the innocent Jesus be murdered, and a murderer be set free in His place (see Matthew 27:16-26). On the other hand, despite all the evidence from the Scriptures and Jesus words and actions, they were ignorant of the fact that God the Father had sent His Son as the Messiah He had promised to send. As He was dying on the cross and being mocked by the Israelites and their leaders, Jesus had prayed, Father,

7 P a g e 7 forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). As Jesus indicated by His prayer, they did not know they were killing the Holy and Righteous One; therefore, Peter said they acted in ignorance. In this way, by saying they had acted in ignorance, Peter gave them some hope that God could still forgive them. (Acts 3:18) But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. In his sermon, but unreported by Luke, Peter may have quoted Isaiah 53, which described the Suffering Servant that God promised to send. Moses and the prophets had foretold the coming of the Messiah, who unexpectedly to the Israelites had suffered in their place for their sins. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and said, Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24:26-27). Later, Paul wrote, For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3). (Acts 3:19) Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

8 P a g e 8 Peter accused and convicted them of murdering God s Messiah, and he also gave them more hope when he told them the solution for removing their true moral guilt. All their sins could be wiped out, even the sin of murdering God s own Son. All their sins could be removed, even as an incoming tide can wipe out all words of accusation written in the sand on a beach. To have their sins wiped out, they needed to repent, not just feel bad for what they had done, but turn from the practice of disobeying God. Despite all they had done, they could still turn to God, who because of Jesus sacrificial death, could mercifully and justly forgive them and wipe away all traces of all their sins as the Psalmist also foretold: He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust (Psalms 103:9-14). Times of refreshing will come from the Holy Spirit to all repentant believers in Jesus Christ, even as Peter preached in his first sermon: Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit can fill all

9 P a g e 9 repentant believers with the love, peace, and refreshing joy of God s presence in their lives. (Acts 3:20) and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you even Jesus. Peter also indicated that times of refreshing would come when Jesus returned as He had promised; then, He would visibly establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Later, Peter wrote, But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). (Acts 3:21) Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. As Luke recorded, Peter and the disciples watched Jesus ascend into heaven: While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God (Luke 24:51-53). Because they continually worshiped at the temple, Peter and John were well known to many Israelites, and that is where they met the man Jesus healed through Peter. Later, John wrote: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of

10 P a g e 10 heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband (Revelation 21:1-2). Jesus did not give His disciples the time of His return and the restoration of everything, but He promised to return and make all things right. In his Letter to the Romans, Paul explained the situation and the future restoration of everything: For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:19-23). (Acts 3:22) For Moses said, The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Peter continued to refer his listeners to their Scriptures, the Old Testament, as evidence that Jesus was God s promised Messiah. He expected the Israelites to believe in Jesus based on the Bible s teachings and their eye witness accounts (the same reasons we believe in Jesus). Among

11 P a g e 11 the other prophets, Peter affirmed that Moses had prophesied the coming of Jesus and quoted Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. God affirmed that Jesus was the fulfillment of Moses prophecy when Jesus, Peter, and John ascended the mountain, where they saw Moses and Elijah; then, God the Father spoke to them and commanded: This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! (Matthew 17:5). Unreported by Luke, Peter might have told his listeners about that event. Comparing Moses and Jesus, John wrote: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Jesus leads believers out of slavery to sin and satan. (Acts 3:23) Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people. Peter continued to apply the Old Testament Scriptures to Jesus and what Jesus said. As the Messiah, Jesus was the prophet like Moses from God, and God warned about the consequences of not listening to the words of the prophets. Peter probably referred to Deuteronomy 18:18-19 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call

12 P a g e 12 to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. As the Prophet of God, Jesus spoke everything God commanded Him to teach. In fulfillment of this prophecy, Jesus declared: For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken (John 12:49). God said He would call to account anyone who refused to listen to Jesus. From their Scriptures, the Israelites knew very well what it meant to be cut off from their people. In this sentence, Peter probably referred to Numbers 15:30-31 But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the LORD and must be cut off from the people of Israel. Because they have despised the LORD s word and broken his commands, they must surely be cut off; their guilt remains on them. After learning the truth about Jesus, if they rejected Jesus the Messiah, who was God s gift to them for the forgiveness of their sins, then they were sinning defiantly, they were despising the Lord s words, and they were refusing to repent of their sins as Jesus and Peter commanded; therefore, they would be cut off from God s people and their guilt would remain. (Acts 3:24) Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. Though Samuel s experiences and life have many parallels to Jesus life and experiences, it is difficult to find any one

13 P a g e 13 verse in 1 Samuel that speaks specifically about the Messiah that was to come. Perhaps Peter referred to Samuel s life as a whole instead of any specific words of Samuel. However, Samuel was both a prophet and a judge (the last judge, because he anointed Saul as the first king as the LORD commanded him). The title Messiah means anointed one, and Samuel also anointed David (the king after God s own heart). A descendant of David would be the Messiah, THE Anointed One. (Acts 3:25) And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed. Peter told the Israelites that Jesus had also fulfilled God s covenant promise to Abraham (see Genesis 12:3; a covenant God reaffirmed to Abraham in Genesis 15 and 17). The Israelites had been and were being blessed through Jesus the Messiah, the promised descendant or offspring of Abraham. They saw one blessing when they looked at the lame man Jesus healed through Peter. If they repented of their sins and turned to God in Jesus Christ, their sins would be forgiven and wiped away. They would be among God s people from among all peoples on earth. Later, Peter would learn how God intended to bless all peoples on earth when he preached to Cornelius (see Acts 10).

14 P a g e 14 (Acts 3:26) When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways. Peter preached under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and probably spoke words beyond his current understanding. As Peter concluded his sermon, he told them that God had sent Jesus to them to bless them first, which Jesus would do when they turned from their wicked ways and to God. Next, this good news would be preached to the Gentiles, which, unknown to Peter at the time, Peter would do beginning with Cornelius (see Acts 10). Jesus commanded and required them to repent and turn from their sins; something He would help them do. Peter warned that those individuals who refused to repent would be cut off from God s people for their wickedness and they would not be forgiven by God. When they repented and turned back to God, Jesus would turn them from their wicked ways: He would forgive them; He would free them from the devil s dominion and slavery to wicked ways; He would fill them with the Holy Spirit to guide and empower them in the future as they served God. The Holy Spirit would sanctify them, set them apart for God and His holy service. Someday they would be glorified, when Jesus Christ returned and they received their glorified and resurrected bodies. In the future, this prophecy in Revelation will be fulfilled by Jesus: You have made them

15 P a g e 15 to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth (Revelation 5:10). Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further 1. How did Peter describe Jesus in his sermon to the Israelites at the temple? 2. How did Peter describe John and himself? 3. What are some of the reasons Peter gave them for believing Jesus is the Messiah? 4. What did Peter tell them to do and what would happen if they did as he said? 5. What was the warning Peter gave them if they did not do as he told them? Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. Visit the International Bible Lessons Forum for Teachers and Students. Copyright 2017 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use. Contact: P.O. Box 1052, Edmond, Oklahoma, and

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