All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.
Peter Preaches in the Temple
Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
“Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes. – Acts 3:9-16
The Christian walk has been described by Eugene Peterson as a long obedience in the same direction. John Baillie prays about our Christian walk this way:
O you who were, and are, and are to come, I thank you that this Christian way in which I walk is no untried or uncharted road, but a road beaten hard by the footsteps of saints, apostles, prophets and martyrs. I thank you for the sign-posts and danger-signals with which it is marked at every turn and which may be known to me through the study of the Bible, and of all history, and of all the great literature of the world.
Most often we think of these truths in terms of our obedience, faithfulness, and dedication. Indeed the example of others should inspire us. We should also seek to leave a legacy of faithfulness that others may wish to follow. There are times when we must remain faithful – even against temptations and hardships we endure along that path of faithful obedience.
But as Peter speaks to the people on this occasion, he speaks of God’s faithfulness and his long-term plan and purpose to redeem and save his people. This was worked out in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, our Savior. God brought glory to Jesus by raising him from the dead, and by healing this man in Jesus’ name.
Just as Peter and John could testify to the death and resurrection of Jesus – they were eye-witnesses after all – so now these people were seeing in bold relief the power of God. The man who was healed in Jesus’ name was standing before their very eyes.
There may be those who dismiss this witness to Jesus. They could dismiss this as people trying to sustain and support their own beliefs. They could be saying Jesus did this in order to gain popularity or fame. But there is no good reason that would sustain that idea. Peter and John had nothing to gain by crediting Jesus – unless Jesus really was the One who healed the man – which is exactly what they claim.
One other thought: Jesus deserves all the honor we could ever give him. He is worthy of our faithful witness.