Try to picture this event. Imagine the excitement of the forty-year-old man who could walk for the first time in his life.
I. The Unexpected Miracle
Acts 3:1-10 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame 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. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 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. NIV®
A. Compare the gift of God with what the lame man asked for. The lame man wanted money for the day’s expenses; God gave him the ability to walk. He would be able to get a job and start a family.The lame man had asked for a t _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ solution; God gave him a permanent one.
Sometimes we find that God doesn’t answer our prayers exactly in the way we pray, don’t we? However, God’s answer is always better and often exceeds anything we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
B. What does the man’s reaction to being healed teach us about prayer?
a.) Be confident in the results. b.) P _ _ _ _ _ God. c.) T _ _ _ others about the answer.
C. Luke was a good historian. He gave the t_________ and p__________ of the miracle. How did Luke know about this miracle? Paul wrote in Colossians 4:10, 14:10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. . . . 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. NIV® Luke could have learned about this miracle in at least three ways. First, Mark was in the church from the beginning, and he was with Paul and Luke in Rome. Second, Paul, with whom Luke traveled, could have heard about this miracle when it happened even though he was an enemy of the Christians at that time. Third, Acts also indicates that Luke met Peter face to face.
II. Peter’s Message to the Crowd
Acts 3:11-16 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. 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? 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. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 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. NIV®
A. Peter had a great opportunity to tell the crowd about Jesus. Let’s look at Peter’s example.
- Peter didn’t take any c_______ for the miracle. Are there times that Christian workers may take too much credit?
- Peter used the crowd’s awe and interest to give out the message about Jesus. God may open unexpected opportunities for us to share about Jesus, too. We need to watch for them.
B. Jesus is the “author” of life. What ideas about Jesus do you get from this unusual word? C.S. Lewis pointed out that people love stories because they are created to be a part of God’s great story. But without Christ, we are like a wannabe hero or heroine without a good plot.
- The hero or heroine in a story has purpose: defeat the villain, rescue the endangered, destroy the ring, give others true love. God has a purpose for each of us that can make a difference for all eternity.
- We can take up God’s mission for us as an individual. We will still make choices and have responsibility, but God will help us accomplish His mission as we pray and rely on Him.
- God enables good to conquer evil. The good guys win in the end. Rom. 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. NIV®
A novel is fiction. Jesus Christ is truth, nonfiction. Non-Christians might say that people made up Christianity to fit their yearning for purpose and a powerful helper. Christians say that people have the yearning because our Creator/Author made us so that we could live a purposeful life in relationship with Him. We can’t be fully content without Him.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-10 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. NIV® I’m told that in the original Greek language, “handiwork” means a work of art, masterpiece, or poem. How great to be a part of God’s masterpiece!
C. What is the evidence Peter gave to prove that Jesus is the Author of Life? Jesus’ r _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (vs. 15, 16)!
III. Peter’s challenge to the crowd
Acts 3:17-20 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus.NIV®
Scripture quotations marked (NIV®) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV® Copyright © 1973,1978,1984,2011 by Bilica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.