Read: Acts 3
Acts 2 ends with some remarkable discussion about the fellowship of believers. While all this is going on, the disciples continue to preach the gospel. In this case, the sermon illustration comes from healing a lame beggar, one that everyone recognized.
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.” Acts 3:6
Peter took him by the hand and the man was completely healed. I’d like to begin a sermon series like this!
It’s Not About Me
The people are amazed, as expected, I know I would be for sure, but Peter quickly points to the source for the healing.
When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? 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. Acts 3:12,16
Peter is not the least bit surprised by the miracle. He didn’t heal the man to make a point, he was being obedient to his calling.
On a much lower scale, I’ve experienced this sensation when dining at a local restaurant with a friend. As we got up to leave, we notice our server was not around, but somehow I got the sense that we needed to find Courtney and pray for her. When we found her alone in a room reserved for parties, etc., she was truly grateful and opened up to us, though we had not previously talked about our ministry. This is just one small example, but I think it’s normal for those who are sincerely seeking the lost for the sake of Jesus without selfish motives.
Sermon Number Two
In my imagination (forgive me if I venture too far), Peter is astonished that anyone would get excited about an everyday miracle but quickly seized the opportunity as the crowd gathers. This is like giving a microphone to a preacher!
Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. Acts 3:17
What a great way to start a sermon, “I know you’re all ignorant…” This is the simple formula the late Reverend Billy Graham used all the time, even in his old age.
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. Acts 3:19-20
The timeless call to repent for your benefit. For our benefit. I love the phrase, “that times of refreshing may come.” I certainly need that, don’t you?
The short version of Peter’s sermon is captured in this chapter, but I get the feeling he took time to clearly explain the foundation for his claim, all the way back to Abraham, a message the people were eager to hear. This, of course, raises the eyebrows of the elite, as we’ll see in the next chapter. The main point is this: we should have known!
For generations, they were looking and waiting for the Messiah, but somehow they were mesmerized by the act of looking without seeing. In other words, they got in the habit of looking without any expectation that they might actually see. Perhaps miracles are within our grasp if we would have enough faith to see people the way Jesus sees them.
Peter didn’t have a seminary degree, but he was taught by Jesus himself. We don’t have notes from these lessons, but we do have two major advantages: 1) the Bible and 2) the Holy Spirit. While we could get by without #1, the gift of the Spirit is more than enough.
Lord help us to hear Your word clearly, to see what You see, or at least the tiny sliver that we are able to absorb. May we be attuned to the lame beggars of today, those that drive fancy cars, live in big houses, and those who hold up cardboard signs on street corners. Don’t let us be blinded by pretense and elitism. You are the miracle maker. May we be Your miracle workers for Your kingdom.