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“IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, WALK”

Acts 3:1-3:10
Key Verse: 3:6

In Acts 2, we studied about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the apostolic gospel message by Peter. Peter’s message was focused on God raising Jesus from the dead and making him Lord and Christ. At his message three thousand were converted. Today’s passage in Acts 3 is about the healing of one crippled man. This is the first miracle written comprehensively in Acts after Jesus’ miraculous works in the gospel. Peter helped the cripple walk in the name of Jesus. The power and authority of Jesus’ name began to work in and through Peter’s life. We pray that God may bless this study and the name of Jesus be also true to us and work in and through us.

First, Peter became a man of prayer (1). Look at verse 1. “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.” In the gospels, Peter praying was never specifically recorded. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked his disciples to pray again and again, but each time, they fell asleep. Jesus particularly said to Peter, “Are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Mk 14:37-38). Still he could not overcome his flesh, and he fell into temptation. Now in Acts, he appears as one who prays, is filled with the Holy Spirit, and who boldly testifies to Jesus’ resurrection. In Acts 1 Peter joined in prayer with other apostles. In chapter 3 Peter went up to the temple with John to pray. At 9:40 he got down and prayed to raise a dead person. His prayer is also written in Acts 10:9, “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.” Peter indeed became a man of prayer, and prayed regularly. In the past he was a self-dependent and impetuous person, having no part with preparing and praying. But later on, being changed into a man of prayer, he said in 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled” and in 4:7, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”

Peter learned of Jesus in the aspect of prayer. In the gospels, Jesus’ prayer life is well portrayed. He prayed early in the morning, going off to a solitary place (Mk 1:35). At the time of baptism he prayed, and the Holy Spirited descended on him (Lk 4:21). Before choosing his 12 disciples he went out to a mountainside and there he spent the night praying (Lk 6:12). After feeding the five thousand, he prayed (Mt 14:23; Mk 6:46). Especially Luke 21:37 says, “Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.” Surely, he went there to pray. It was as usual, for Luke 22:39 says, “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives” and there he prayed to prepare himself to take the cup of suffering and death on the cross.

Prayer is the privilege given to Jesus’ people through his resurrection from the dead. After teaching his disciples about his resurrection figuratively in an upper room, he said to them, “In that day…my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name…Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (Jn 16:23-24). It is noticeable that in today’s passage Peter’s going up to the temple to pray is the background of his miraculous healing work. Here also we cannot overlook that Peter and John became prayer coworkers, although they had been rivals in the past. May God help us to know the infinite value of prayer and personally and cooperatively exercise the privilege of prayer given to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Second, Peter gave the name of Jesus to a crippled man (2-7). Look at verse 2. “Now a man crippled 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.” In verse 1, Peter and John were going up to the temple. They were walking both physically and spiritually. But here in verse 2 there was a man who was crippled from birth. He could never walk. He did not know how to pray to overcome his human condition. While Peter and John were walking and going up to the temple to pray, this crippled man was being carried to the temple gate. What a contrast! This man was born with a congenital disease. He could not go into the temple. He was carried and put at the temple gate so that he could beg from those going into the temple courts. Begging was his daily job. This was the best his family members and other people could do for him. His total dependence on others limited him from overcoming his crippled life situation.

Then what came to this man? Look at verse 3. “When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.” This was a natural thing for him to do. He was used to doing it. But Peter’s response was unusual. How did Peter respond when the man asked for money? Look at verse 4. “Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’” When the man asked for money, Peter did not give him money, although he could have given him a coin. Yet, Peter gave the man his straight looking. This was Peter’s expression of concern for him. Peripheral eye contact is unclear and can seem to have an impure motive. But head-on eye contact is clear and unambiguous. Almost certainly, until now in his life no one looked straight at him to help him truly. But Peter looked straight at him. Peter was purely concerned about him. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” What a humble and wise request! Peter did not demand what the man could not do, but what he could do. He had no legs to walk, but had eyes to see. Also, Peter wanted the man to look at him with full attention and anticipation for what he was going to do next. In this way Peter showed his genuine concern for the man. Verse 5 says, “So the man gave them his attention, expecting something from them.”

Then how did Peter help the man further? Look at verse 6. “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Silver or gold can be the valuable things of the world. Peter said clearly, “Silver or god I do not have, but what I have I give you.” There are many people who think they cannot do any work or help others because they do not have certain things. However, Peter did not think that he could not help the man because he did not have silver or gold. Peter knew and saw what he had. We remember how Jesus fed 5,000 hungry people. When Jesus said to his disciples, “You give them something to eat,” they were shocked because they did not have enough money even to feed themselves, let alone to feed the crowd. Then Jesus said, “How many loves do you have? Go and see” (Mk 6:38). Jesus wanted them to go and find what they had. When they brought five loves and two fish, Jesus fed the hungry crowd of 5,000 people with those five loaves and two fish. On another occasion Jesus met a man born blind. All the disciples were only fatalistic and sympathetic with the man born blind. Jesus also had nothing in his hand to help the man. Then he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. In this way Jesus healed the man born blind. Peter was really changed and learning of Jesus in many aspects of life. He said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.”

Then what did Peter have? He said, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Peter had the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Jesus was no longer present with him in the body. But Peter knew that Jesus was with him in the Spirit as he had promised, “Surely I am with you always to the ends of the age” (Mt 28:20). It is true that Peter had Jesus’ name, although he did not have many things of the world. The man was crippled from birth and had been crippled until he became over forty (4:22). But Peter believed that he could walk in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. To Peter this name was so precious. Many people want to get signatures from celebrities, famous athletes or excellent writers, thinking that their names are precious. And the names of certain companies or universities are highly regarded. Company bosses’ names or good professors’ names affect their employees or students. Yet, the name of Jesus Christ is incomparable and matchless. This name is above all names and is all powerful with power over any illness and any earthly power and over the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. In Acts 4:12 Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else, or there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” The name Jesus is the greatest and unique name under heaven. Only the name of Jesus heals, changes and saves.

When Peter said to the man, “Silver or gold I do not have, what I have give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” he did not just want to give him healing of his crippled legs, though that healing itself would be great. Peter wanted to give him the name of Jesus Christ so that he might walk in the name of Jesus and live with that name throughout his life. The man’s life was miserable not because he was born as a cripple, but because he did not have the name of Jesus. Without that name he did not know how to cope with his fatalistic human condition. But with that name his life would be totally different. With the name of Jesus Christ he would stop begging life and live independently by being dependant on God, Further more his life would be a blessing to many others.

We need to examine ourselves whether we have the name of Jesus Christ. Having the name of Jesus means to have faith in him. Jesus said in John 14:12-14, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Each one has his or her own crippled parts in life. But the word of God says, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” God wants us to walk in any cripple condition, because we can walk in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Not only so, but our God also wants us to give the name of Jesus Christ to others so that they too can walk in that name in any human conditions.

Third, the man began to walk in the name of Jesus (7-10). Look at verse 7. “Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.” Giving Jesus’ name includes making an effort. Peter not only spoke but also acted by faith. Peter helped him up taking him by the right hand. Certainly the man struggled to rise hearing Peter’s words. When Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, walk” and helped him up, then instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. The power of Jesus invigorated the man’s feet and ankles through the faith of Peter and the man. At this the crippled man jumped to his feet and began to walk. He had never jumped and walked in his entire life until that time. But now he jumped and began to walk. In his walking he did not limp, but jumped, walking and jumping. Jumping showed the completely healing (4:17) and his extreme joy.

Where did he go when he could walk and jump? Did he go to the football ground to play? No. He went with Peter and John into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. Probably he had longed to go into the temple but could not go because of his crippled legs. Now he freely and willingly went into the temple, walking and jumping, and praising God. In this way he expressed his thanks to God and testified to the grace and name of Jesus.

Then what happened next? Look at verses 9, 10. “When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 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.” Because of his vivid testimony of walking and praising God, all the people in the temple courts could not but recognize God’s work in him through Jesus. They were filled with wonder and amazement at the work of God in the man. Thus the man brought glory to God and became a blessing to others. This is truly beautiful. His life with the name of Jesus became so beautiful. He began his beautiful life with faith in the name of Jesus Christ that would continually display the power of Jesus’ name and thus glorify God

In this passage we see the power and wonder of Jesus’ name. Humanly speaking, Peter was a poor person with no silver or gold. But when he had the name of Jesus, he had everything and could help others truly. He helped the crippled man to walk in the name of Jesus. And with the name of Jesus the man’s life was totally changed. He not only walked but also could be an instrument of God’s glory and blessing to others. The name of Jesus is the most precious name that can change any one. May we live in this world with the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, not any other name. With this name we may walk from any crippled human condition and give others this name so that our life may also glorify God and be a blessing to others.

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