GOD ESTABLISHES HIS CHURCH IN THE WORLD
The Power to Heal
Jerry A Collins
∑What is the purpose of healing in Acts?
What is significance of healing this lame man?
What was the result of this healing?
One of my goals this year is to improve my ability to play golf. I would like to score better. So, I have been meeting with a friend of mine during these winter months to work on improving various aspects of my golf game. The more I am with him, the more I realize that he has the credentials to teach me. He has been a golf pro himself, a golf teacher for many years, a very good golfer himself and knows all the nuances of the game and its equipment. His ability and expertise makes him an ideal person for me to learn from. In the early church, the Lord granted that His spokesmen, the apostles and prophets, also be accredited as His spokesmen by the miracles they performed (2 Cor 12:12; Heb 2:3-4). The miraculous sign gifts included the gift of healing. This is one of the many healings done by the apostles, selected for its impact upon people and as an introduction to a message Peter later gives about this God they represent. What was the point of this miracle and what do we learn from it today?
1. A MIRACLE TAKES PLACE IN A SITUATION THAT IS OTHERWISE HOPELESS 1-3
A. The Setting vs. 1: Peter and John were closely associated with each other. They were partners in fishing business before disciples (Lk 5:10). James, Johnís brother was included in the inner circle of the 12. The idea of were going up suggests this was a frequent thing for them. It was 3 in the afternoon, usually the time of evening sacrifice when temple crowds at peak.
B. The Situation vs. 2: On their way they encounter a certain man lame from birth. First, we learn that his case was hopeless. Second, we understand that he could not be cured. It was a daily ritual for him to be carried and set down at this location. We note that he is 40 yrs old at this time (4:22). Probably at this gate since main thoroughfare into the city and temple and people more disposed here to be generous to one in need. Beggars favored (1) houses of rich (Lk 16), (2) main highways (Mk 10:46), (3) Temple.
C. The Solicitation vs. 3: This lame man placed for maximum effect. He had so given up the hope of health that silver & gold were sole object of his life. He expected mercy in form of money yet he would receive greater mercy he never could have expected.
The miraculous only begins where ordinary means can go no further. Jesus never healed this man as he did not many others. If you desire a healthy relationship with God, you must accept the possibility of His not wanting to heal you (Mk 1:40). The Bible teaches that tribulation has a beneficial side to it. He may wish you to go thru suffering for the positive influence it will have on you. Healing for this man could have happened earlier but for a special reason did not. Only God knows why.
2. A MIRACLE IS SOMETHING ONLY GOD CAN DO 4-8
∑There may be 4 aspects to this miracle. First, it was unexpected vs. 4-6. Fixing their gaze upon the beggar is same word used of apostlesí intense gaze into the clouds when Jesus ascended (1:10). Their attention focused, the beggar is commanded to do the same to Peter & John. Vs 5 says he did so most likely expecting a gift. What he received was totally unexpected--his healing! This man was sovereignty chosen to receive healing. What this man was about to receive no man could give him. Second, it was done in Jesus name vs. 6. This means by virtue of Jesus character, authority, and power. The Nazarene designates Jesus earthly ministry Idís him as God. This power was delegated to Peter (Mt 10:1) and he commands this man to walk. His is first of 3 crippled people the apostles healed in Acts (9:32-34; 14:8-10). Peter could have given money but only Jesus could give him the ability to walk. Third, the healing was instantaneous vs. 7. Peter took the initiative to pull this man to his feet. When he did so the healing was immediate. This beggar did not Even need to be taught how to walk. He received his coordination and balance instantly. There was no trial and error period. There was no gradual process involved. Fourth, the healing was complete vs. 8. Notice that as Peter grabbed this man, the man leaped and stood upright by himself and began walking. As soon as the strength returned to his feet and ankles all his symptoms were completely and fully gone. When Jesus healed the blind man he could see completely. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he was fully alive. When he cleansed the lepers, they were completely whole. This man did not limp along but could not resist experimenting with his new-found ability. This miracle was of Godís choosing, done to glorify Jesus Christ by itís instantaneous and complete nature. Miracles like these accompanied the expansion of the early church, authenticating the message of the apostles and either becoming a motivation to believe or a testimony that would later judge.
3. A MIRACLE ELICITS PRAISE TO GOD AS A TESTIMONY POINTING PEOPLE TO HIM 8-11
The results of this miracle include:
(1) Expressing praise to God 8-9. Whenever we are convinced that God is at work in our lives, we cannot help but give Him praise for it. I was recently struck by the awareness that God was at work in a situation and it automatically elicited a word of praise to God as I recognized at that moment what it was He was doing. This manís praise was probably the most genuine worship taking place in the temple that day.
(2) This miracle was a testimony to the people vs. 9-10. Many people would have known this beggar since he sat for so long at the entrance to the temple. There would have been no doubt to the genuineness of the miracle. This beggars outburst caused shock and amazement in the crowd. He was a public testimony and this miracle was undeniable. Even the Jewish leaders did not deny it (4:16).
1. God designed this miracle to attract attention and point people to truth. Vs 11 says the people ran toward them full of amazement.
2. God provided an introduction for Peterís message (12-26) as He had for Peterís previous one (2:5-13).
3. There is a another platform for the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ (vs. 14-26). The Father wants His Son to receive recognition for what He has accomplished and for who He is.