Acts 3 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Peter and John Healing the Lame Man
Nicolas Poussin (1655)

Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Acts 3:1   Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth [hour], the hour of prayer.

KJV Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

  • Now Peter and John Acts 4:13; 8:14; Mt 17:1; 26:37; John 13:23-25; 20:2-9; 21:7,18-22; Gal 2:9
  • Were going up to the temple Acts 2:46; 5:25; Luke 24:53
  • At the ninth [hour], the hour of prayer Acts 10:3,30; Ex 29:39; Nu 28:4; 1 Ki 18:36; Ps 55:17; Da 6:10; 9:21; Luke 1:10; 23:44-46
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

As you read Acts 3 you will not see the Name of the Holy Spirit, but His presence and power permeates the chapter! The same is true of our lives -- we may not "feel" His presence or even experience "specific" acts associated with His power, but we can be sure that as we are filled and walk throughout the day in the Spirit, His presence and power permeates our life! As you read Acts 3-5 keep in mind that they are closely connected and begin to show persecution from the Jews and problems in the church. For doing good, the apostles received evil, and frankly we should expect no less. In fact, when all men (including non-believers) praise our works, then perhaps we need to examine whether "our works" are truly "His works" through us (Jn 15:5)! The time frame is felt to be about 12 months, but it is difficult to be dogmatic.

Wiersbe - Keep in mind that Acts 1-10 describes a gradual transition from Israel to the Gentiles and from "Jewish Christianity" (note Acts 21:20) to the "one body" made up of both Jews and Gentiles. It took several years before many of the Jewish believers really understood the place of the Gentiles in God's program, and this understanding did not come without its conflicts. (Borrow Be Dynamic).

From the chart above notice that Irving Jensen entitles Acts 3-7 "The Church Grows through Testing,"  the site being Jerusalem and the focus still on the Jewish component of the Body of Christ. Note from the diagram this continues the "Acts of the Holy Spirit" as the "Church (is) witness to the World" and Jesus is glorified by the Spirit (Jn 16:14). And so we begin this chapter with two apostles who are filled with (controlled by) and empowered by the Holy Spirit to exalt the Name of Jesus. As you begin your day today, this is a good pattern to emulate, walking forth filled and empowered, looking for "lame" souls who need the healing touch of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This makes life an adventure of a lifetime. Lord give us all eyes to see events, places and people with Your eyes and Your heart in Jesus' mighty Name. Amen. 

J Vernon McGee introduces Acts 3 - We are still in the first division of the Book of Acts which shows the Lord Jesus Christ at work by the Holy Spirit through the apostles in Jerusalem. We have seen the birthday of the church on the Day of Pentecost, a day which can never be repeated. There was a church because the Holy Spirit had become incarnate in believers. He was indwelling the believers, and He filled them with His love, power, and blessing for service.
Just as you and I cannot repeat Bethlehem, neither can we repeat Pentecost. But we do need the power of the Holy Spirit today. Thank God, He is in the world, convicting the world, restraining evil in the world. We don’t have to seek Him; He is indwelling all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.In this third chapter we will find the healing of the lame man, verses 1–11. The appealing and revealing address of Peter is in verses 12–26. The result was five thousand men who believed! (Thru the Bible)

Peter and John - What an interesting combination! Only God would have put these two together for their personalities were almost polar opposites. Peter was outgoing, gregarious, loquacious, impetuous, opinionated. Someone said the only time he opened his mouth was to change feet. John was serene, contemplative, reflective, tender, self-effacing, the one Jesus loved and who leaned on Jesus' breast at the Last Supper.  (disciple "whom Jesus loved" Jn 13:23). In fact, five times John refers to himself as the one "Jesus loved!" (Jn 13:23, 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20). Peter and John were "one" in Jesus. Does that describe your (my) relationships with brothers and sisters with whom you (I) will spend eternity?

Lenski observes regarding the association of Peter and John - they supplement each other. Diamond polishes diamond, writes Rieger, and it may well happen that each enhances the luster of the other. God often uses the friendship of believers for the good of the church, especially the friendship of highly gifted men; witness the working together of Luther and Melanchthon. (The Interpretation of The Acts of the Apostles)

The names Peter and John - 10x in 10v - Lk. 8:51; Lk. 9:28; Lk. 22:8; Acts 1:13 (SEE THIS LIST OF FOR ALL NAMES EXCEPT MATTHIAS); Acts 3:1; Acts 3:3; Acts 3:11; Acts 4:13; Acts 4:19; Acts 8:14. Compare also John 13:24, 25; 18:16, 17; 20:2, etc.

Recall that Peter and John had both been commissioned as apostles of Jesus, His special ambassadors to whom "by the Holy Spirit (He had) given orders" (Acts 1:2+) and in Acts 2:43+ we see that "many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles." And here we see the first specific post-pentecostal miracle which opened the door for Peter's proclamation and the church's persecution (Acts 4). 

John Phillips on Peter and John - Peter and John! That was different. It used to be Peter and Andrew, James and John. Now it is Peter and John. Calvary had brought these men into closer fellowship with each other. By nature and temperament they were different. Peter was a doer, John was a dreamer; Peter was a motivator, John was a mystic; Peter had his feet on the rock, John had his head in the clouds. Peter would point to John and demand of the Lord, "And what shall this man do?" (John 21:21). John would quietly whisper to Peter in a moment of doubt, "It is the Lord" (Jn 21:7); John would outrun Peter to the tomb; Peter would push past John and rush right in; Peter would dash on out again, his mind in a whirl; John would walk away thinking deeply over the significance of those strangely ordered grave clothes. Peter and John were opposites. By nature they would get on each other's nerves, but now they walked together. We read, "Now Peter and John went up together into the temple." Before, they had been mutual disciples of Jesus, now they were members of a common body; before, they knew friendship, now they enjoyed fellowship. (Exploring Acts)

Wiersbe on Peter and John - Peter and John are often found together in Scripture. They were partners in the fishing business (Luke 5:10); they prepared the last Passover for Jesus (Luke 22:8); they ran to the tomb on the first Easter Sunday morning (John 20:3-4); and they ministered to the Samaritans who believed on Jesus Christ (Acts 8:14). Now that they were filled with the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were no longer competing for greatness, but were at last working faithfully together to build the church (Ps. 133:1-3). (Borrow Be Dynamic).

Spurgeon - Peter and John seem to have been linked in closest friendship. Peter had been brought back by John when he was almost despairing after having denied his Master. John lovingly found him out, and made him his associate; and now they “went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer.” 

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple - Notice Luke does not say they went up to the Temple on the Sabbath. In fact we know it was not the Sabbath because the lame man was healed and Peter and John were not accused of healing on the Sabbath. So what's the point you say? The point is that the first church's idea of worship and prayer was not a once a week event, but it was their "lifestyle," as already alluded to in Acts 2:42, 46+. Apple asks "Have you ever been involved in a fellowship group where you met daily for prayer? Creates a strong bond of community – to say nothing of the power of answered prayer." I might even add have you ever been involved in a group meeting weekly for prayer? I'm sure some of you have and you could and would testify to the power of prayer. 

The apostles continued the habit they had established...

And they, after worshiping Him (AFTER JESUS' ASCENSTION), returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God. (Lk 24:52-53)

Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, (Acts 2:46)

Utley - The Jews took official action after the fall of Jerusalem and instituted an oath formula (rejecting Jesus as the Messiah) to restrict membership in the local synagogues. This is when the church solidified its day of worship as Sunday (the day to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection; the day Jesus appeared three times to the disciples in the Upper Room).

NET Note on going up to the temple at the time for prayer (cf Acts 2:15+ = 9 AM) - The earliest Christians, being of Jewish roots, were still participating in the institutions of Judaism at this point. Their faith in Christ did not make them non-Jewish in their practices. They may have continued this practice until 70 AD when it would no longer have been possible. The Jewish prayer times were 9 AM, 3 PM and sunset  (possibly derived from Ps 55:17) and devout Jews kept these prayer times, so Peter and John apparently kept their former practices. It is interesting that enabled by the Spirit, believers are now commanded not to pray 3 times/day, but "pray (present imperative = continually) without ceasing." (1 Th 5:17+) Don't try to obey this command in your own power or you will put yourself under the law! Remember "you are not under law but under grace" (Ro 6:14+) so now the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29+) will enable you to have both the desire and the power to pray without ceasing! (Php 2:13NLT+).

Going up (305)(anabaino from ana = upwards, up, as a pref. denotes up, again, back + basis = a foot) means to go up, to ascend,  cause to ascend from a lower to a higher place. They were ascending the terraces to the temple courts, the Temple being at the highest point, which is why this area is called Temple Mount! See the picture of remnant of the Stairs of Ascent discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, to the entrance of the Temple Courtyard. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the Herodian Temple would have entered and exited by this stairway.

Some feel the phrase going up to the Temple was used not as much in a physical sense as in an ethical sense, in a manner of speaking "toward God." This recalls the rhetorical question of David in Ps 24:3 "Who may ascend (Lxx also uses anabaino) into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?" 

Ninth [hour], the hour of prayer - This was three o'clock in the afternoon (Calculated from sunrise - the Jewish day began at 6 AM - see Josephus, Ant. 14.4.3 = "the priests...did...twice a day, in the morning, and about the ninth hour, offer their sacrifices on the altar.). "The time of the evening sacrifice (cf Da 9:21+); or, as the words of prayer indicate, half an hour later, for the prayer which accompanied the offering of incense." (Vincent) In other words Peter and John did not go up for the afternoon sacrifice but for the prayer that followed the sacrifice. Luke 1:10+ describes "the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering." One priest offered incense each morning and evening while the other priests and the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside the holy place.

It is interesting to recall that some 50+ days earlier an unusual cosmic sign had occurred during Jesus' crucifixion for "from the sixth hour (12 Noon) darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour (3 PM). And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?" (Mt 27:45, 46)

And what else happened at the ninth hour? "The veil of the Temple was torn in two" and the writer of Hebrews gives us the significance...

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith (THIS IS WHAT PETER AND JOHN WERE DOING), having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; (Heb 10:19-23)

Henry Morris writes that "The "ninth hour" was the time of the evening oblation, the time of sacrifice and prayer. Elijah sacrificed and prayed against the prophets of Baal at this time (1 Ki 18:29,36). It was also when Daniel prayed (Da 9:20,21) and Ezra (Ezra 9:4,5). Peter and John prayed at the ninth hour (Acts 3:1) and so did Cornelius (Acts 10:3,4). All were heard, and all their prayers marvelously answered, except that of Christ."

Calvin wrote regarding Peter and John going up to the Temple that "if any man ask, whether the apostles went up into the temple that they might pray according to the rite of the law, I do not think that that is a thing so likely to be true, as they might have better opportunity to spread abroad the Gospel.”

Spurgeon - Observe here how Old Testament dispensation melts into the new. The temple was no longer what it had been before. The type was of no further use now that the great antitype of the temple had come. Yet these apostles still went to it at the hour of prayer. Some men are great at destroying. It will be time to destroy the old when the new is ready, and even then it may be possible to let the darkness gradually melt away into a twilight, and so the day will come with no great gap, no marked surprise.

Remember that the believers are Jewish and although they have been freed from the burden of the Law, they were still attached to the Temple and the traditional times of prayer which go back to the Old Testament...

Ps 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon (THREE TIMES), I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice. 

Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.

The attachment of the Jewish believers to traditional times of prayer persisted for Luke records Peter, albeit now not in the temple but in his house like Daniel..

Acts 10:30 Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments,

Barclay - THE Jewish day began at 6 am and ended at 6 pm. For devout Jews, there were three special times for prayer—morning, noon and evening. They agreed that prayer was effective wherever it was offered, but they felt that it was doubly precious when offered in the Temple courts. It is very interesting that the apostles kept up the customs in which they had been trained.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones - Here is the tonic, there is the place to get refreshment, where we feel the life of God pulsating in the early Christian church . . . There is always the danger that we should think of Christianity as something abstract and intellectual. Though we must know the theory and have the understanding, we must never forget that first and foremost the Christian faith deals with life and living; it is the most revolutionary power the world has ever known. A dead church is a contradiction in terms. . . the church is life, and it is power, and it is vigor. All of this is perfectly illustrated and exemplified for us in this story in Acts 3. Here is the church in action, the church facing the world.

Temple (Diagram of the Temple - courts are toward right side) 2413)(hieros) in this context refers to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and includes not only the Temple building but the courts and all the sacred ground or enclosure. They would not have been going for prayer in the Temple building per se but in the courts surrounding the Temple proper. Most commentaries agree that the new believers were in the Temple praying, but did not continue their former Jewish practices of offering sacrifices as called for in the Mosaic Law. 

Prayer (4335)(proseuche from pros = toward or immediately before + euchomai = to pray or vow) is the general word for prayer. The prefix pros would convey the sense of being immediately before God and hence the ideas of adoration, devotion, and worship. The basic idea is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek, prayers appealed to God for His presence.

Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscles of omnipotence. The apostles had heard Jesus last teaching on prayer in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-16) and now they were practicing what He preached when He said "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." (Jn 14:13-14). 


The Jews had set times of prayer, but the clear teaching (and example) of the New Testament is that believers are to be in a spirit of prayerfulness at all times. Our lives should be one long running conversation with the Father. (Verses quoted from NLT)

Scripture  Time of Prayer
Romans 1:9-10 "Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God."
Ephesians 6:18 "Pray at all times and on every occasion . . . be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere."
Colossians 1:3 "We always pray for you"
1 Th 1:3 "We . . . pray for you constantly."
1 Th 2:13 "We will never stop thanking God."
1 Th 5:17 "Keep on praying."
2 Timothy 1:3 "Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers."

From Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts.

Acts 3:2   And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.

KJV Acts 3:2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

  • And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb Acts 4:22; 14:8; John 1:9-30
  • Whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple Luke 16:20
  • In order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple Acts 10:4,31; Luke 18:35; John 9:8
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along - Carried along is in the imperfect tense describing this as a repeated action, over and over, presumably day after day. This fact would mean that the Jews who went to the Temple to pray or sacrifice would be quite familiar with this man and his crippled condition (Acts 3:10) and thus prepared by God's providence to witness a miracle of healing. Luke does not tell how long he was lame here but he does in Acts 4:22 noting that "the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed." The phrase from his mother's womb suggests that this was a "congenital defect, although it is possibly that he sustained the injury in the birthing process. The phrase was being carried along sets us up for the miracle, as he did not just have a "limp" but he was totally lame and completely unable to ambulate on his own. 

DIVINE APPOINTMENTS - Peter and John had made plans to attend a three o'clock prayer service. Perhaps they hoped to share their new faith with some old friends. Or maybe they wanted to make contact with one of the other apostles. As busy religious leaders on an important religious mission, they might have brushed off the lame beggar who accosted them at the temple gate for a handout. But Peter and John recognized the sovereign nature of this encounter. In the Name of Christ (and by His power), they healed the beggar. This precipitated a series of evangelistic opportunities that no one—except God—could have predicted. Be careful that you don't get so preoccupied with doing God's work that you miss God's will right before your eyes. (Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts)  (Bolding added)

Lame (5560)(cholos from chalao = to slacken, loosen) is an adjective which literally means crippled or lame (Lxx of Lev 21:18, Dt 15:21 = lameness makes a sacrifice unacceptable). Figuratively in Hebrews 12:13+ cholos speaks of "lame" in a spiritual sense.

Cholos - 14v - Mt. 11:5; 15:30, 31; Mt. 18:8; 21:14; Mk. 9:45; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 14:13; Lk. 14:21; Jn. 5:3; Acts 3:2; 8:7;14:8; Heb. 12:13. 

Cholos is used in Mt 11 in a very informative passage - 

Now when John (THE BAPTIZER), while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One (WHAT IS HE ASKING? HE IS ASKING IF JESUS IS THE MESSIAH!), or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT (cf Ps 146:8, Isa 35:5+)  and the lame (cholos) walk (cf Isa 35:6+), the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM (Isa 61:1). (Mt 11:2-5)

So when John asked Jesus (through his disciples) if He was the long expected Messiah, Jesus answered in a way that might be difficult for a Gentile (or Christians today) to understand, but would have been very understandable to John. John would have been assured that yes, Jesus was the Messiah. In other words, Jesus' answer quoting partially from the Old Testament, was that He was the One Who was performing the miracles that the OT had prophesied would be performed by the Messiah. And so it follows logically that Jesus is the Messiah. Now here in Acts 3, the miracle that God chooses to perform is a miracle that would have been performed by the Messiah and the Jews would have been aware of that fact. However, Jesus was not present, and Peter and John seem to the Jews to be the ones who perform the miracle. And yet as explained below it was in fact Jesus Who performed this miracle through His apostles (His ambassadors) (See Acts 3:6, 13, 16, 20). And using the same logic, if you were a Jew in the crowd, you would understand when Peter gave credit to Jesus as the One Who healed the lame man, that Jesus was the Messiah. And of course He had to be a living Messiah, not a dead Messiah, in order to perform this miracle through the apostles. The Jews knew that Jesus had died on the Cross. The clear implication then is that yes Jesus died but He was resurrected, which are essential truths in the Gospel. So with this perfect "introduction" ("illustration") Peter proceeds to clearly preach the Gospel (Acts 3:12-26). The miraculous healing by Jesus was simply a sign to point to Himself as Messiah and to prepare the Jewish audience to hear and receive the Gospel (at least 2000 received, but there were doubtless many who did not). Are not God's ways so much higher than our ways? (Isa 55:9) Indeed they are, but too often we simply do not have the spiritual eyes to see His divine plan in our lives! Let us pray Paul's prayer frequently for ourselves and those believers in our sphere of influence...

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that (1) you will know what is the hope of His calling, (2) what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and (3) what is the surpassing greatness of His power (IN CONTEXT = RESURRECTION POWER!) toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might  which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:18-20+, cf 1 Jn 5:14-15+)

This man's helpless physical condition reminds me of our helpless spiritual condition -  

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Ro 5:6+)

Whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the Temple - The oriental custom was for beggars to sit at the entrance of a temple or shrine, reasoning that as people were in an attitude of worship, they would be more likely to give a hand-out. 

Spurgeon - This seems to have been the custom about the Temple gates, as it is about the doors of many churches on the Continent. For instance, you could not approach the door of a certain church in Rome without being solicited, perhaps, by a score of beggars. I do not suppose that it was so in Judea in its prosperous days; but when religion does not prosper, beggars are sure to be multiplied; and now that the very spirit of godliness had gone, almsgiving was done in public, and hence the beggars appeared in public.

Whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the Temple which is called Beautiful - Attempts by scholars to agree on the identity of the gate by one of its recognized names have met with little success although both the upper inner gate, the Nicanor Gate (which led from the Court of the Gentiles into the Court of Women and was on the eastern side of the Temple, facing the Mt. of Olives, close to Solomon’s Portico), and the lower outer gate, the Shushan on the eastern wall, have been suggested as candidates. See Leen Ritmeyer's depiction of the locations of the Nicanor Gate and the Shushan Gate

David Thompson - Josephus, in his description of the Temple, says all gates were beautiful, but there was one specific gate that was more beautiful than the others. It was called the “Corinthian gate” because it was covered with Corinthian brass along with silver and gold. It was located on the eastside of the Temple. Josephus claimed that it was richer and more beautiful than all other gates (SEE QUOTE BELOW). There is no question that this would be a good place to beg for money because many people would just want to see this spectacular gate, so it would be an area of high traffic. Beggars know how to figure out high traffic areas. In fact, one person who actually studied beggars in cities all over the world claimed that beggars not only know where the high traffic areas are, they also watch people’s eyes because they have learned the type of person who is likely to respond.

Josephus' Description - Now nine of these gates were on every side covered over with gold and silver, as were the jambs of their doors and their lintels; but there was one gate that was without [the inward court of] the holy house, which was of Corinthian brass, and greatly excelled those that were only covered over with silver and gold. (202) Each gate had two doors, whose height was severally thirty cubits, and their breadth fifteen. (203) However, they had large spaces within of thirty cubits, and had on each side rooms, and those, both in breadth and in length, built like towers, and their height was above forty cubits. Two pillars did also support these rooms, and were in circumference twelve cubits. (204) Now the magnitudes of the other gates were equal one to another; but that over the Corinthian gate, which opened on the east over against the gate of the holy house itself, was much larger; (205) for its height was fifty cubits; and its doors were forty cubits; and it was adorned after a most costly manner, as having much richer and thicker plates of silver and gold upon them than the other. These nine gates had that silver and gold poured upon them by Alexander, the father of Tiberius. (206) Now there were fifteen steps, which led away from the wall of the court of the women to this greater gate; whereas those that led thither from the gates were five steps shorter. (Wars 5.201-206)

J Vernon McGee points out the striking contrast - "What a contrast he was to the gate which is called Beautiful. Here was a beautiful gate, and here was a man who was marred. Man can make beautiful things, but man cannot improve himself. Of course, man can do some trimming on the outside. He can cut his hair, have his fingernails manicured, take a bath now and then, and use some deodorant, but man can never change that old nature which he has. This is the contrast we have here—a beautiful gate of the temple and a man lame from his mother’s womb."

Beautiful (5611)(horaios from hora = hour) is an adjective which literally means timely, seasonable or ripe. When used of persons or things it meant beautiful or lovely (Mt 23:27, Acts 3:2, 10). When used of an appropriate time it meant an "opportune point of time" describing something as happening or coming at just the right time, as in Romans 10:15+ which says "How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”" The idea in this passage is how timely is the arrival of those who proclaim the Good News. How fascinating that in Acts 3 this man lame from birth was sitting at a gate named "Beautiful" and he receives and believes the Good News which set him free from his physical malady, but more importantly set him free from his bondage to sin which had crippled any attempts at a "spiritual walk." In short, this miracle happened at the right time, for God's Spirit would use it to launch Peter's message in Acts 3:11-26 and to incite the first persecution of the disciples (and serve as an opportunity to present the Gospel to the religious leaders) in Acts 4:1-12+

In Matthew 23:27 Jesus reviled the Pharisees for their hypocritical behavior - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness." The Pharisees were like monuments on a tomb that appeared beautiful on the outside but inside were full of unclean and vile things

Gilbrant - This adjective has a wide semantic range. Classical usage includes simple meanings such as “beautiful, fair, lovely,” and “pleasant.” The word can also mean “produced at the right time” (referring to salted or pickled fish and year-old tunas), “harvesttime” (Liddell-Scott), “in season,” and “ripe” (Moulton-Milligan). Hōraios also has the meaning of “seasonable, due,” or “proper” (Liddell-Scott). This word is related to hōra (5443) which originally meant “the right, favorable time” (Delling, “hōra,” Kittel, 9:675). Thus hōraios can describe anything that occurs or appears at the “right” time. Hence it describes things which are “pleasant, proper, beautiful.” (Complete Biblical Library)

Horaios - 4x in the NT all translated beautiful - Mt 23:27, Acts 3:2, 10, Ro 10:15. 

Horaios - 35x in 35v in the Septuagint (Lxx)

Ge 2:9; Gen. 3:6; Ge 26:7; Ge 29:17 = "Rachel was beautiful"; Ge 39:6 "Joseph was handsome (Lxx - horaios)" or "Well-built"; Lev. 23:40; 1 Sam. 9:20; 2 Sam. 1:23; 1 Ki. 1:6; 2 Chr. 36:19; Job 18:13; Ps. 45:2; Ps. 65:12; Song 1:16; Song 2:14; Song 4:3; Song 6:4; Song 6:7; Isa. 63:1; Jer. 11:16; Lam. 2:2; Dan. 4:12; Joel 1:19; Joel 1:20

In Ge 2:9 horaios describes trees growing that were "pleasing (Lxx - horaios) to the sight" and in Ge 3:6 to describe fruit that was "a delight (attractive - Lxx = horaios) to the eyes." In Isa 63:1+ it describes the Lord Jesus returning as Conqueror, One Who is majestic (Lxx = horaios) in His apparel." 

Barclay - W. H. Davies, the tramp poet, tells how one of his vagrant friends told him that, whenever he came into a new town, he looked for a church spire with a cross on the top and began to beg in that area. Love of other people and love of God must always go hand in hand.

In order toterm of purpose - always take time to query purpose clauses ("What purpose?", etc) It slows you down, causes you to re-read the text and gives the Spirit time to illuminate the text. 

Beg alms of those who were entering the Temple - See note on Alms below. As noted above the "Temple" (Diagram of the Temple - courtyard on right side) refers to the courtyard around the main Temple building. 

Gangel - "Ogilvie observes, "I have watched beggars in cities all over the world. They have a highly developed sense of who will respond. While walking down a street one day, I spied a beggar at the end of the block. I noticed his eyes darted from person to person as they passed by him, and he called out for a gift from only certain people. He could tell which ones were likely to stop" (Ogilvie, 81)." (Holman New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Utley - Here is the shocking paradox of the sick sitting daily at the house of God. (ED: DOES THIS STILL OCCUR? ARE THEIR "SICK" SITTING IN CHURCH PEWS, IN NEED OF A HEALING TOUCH FROM JESUS?) As a matter of fact, there was even a prohibition against these kinds of people actively participating in worship (i.e. serving as priests, cf. Lev. 21:16–24). The gospel offers a new day. Even an Ethiopian (no race barriers) eunuch (no physical barriers) is welcome in the new kingdom (cf. Acts 8:26–40). Almsgiving, or giving to the poor, was a required part of the Jewish faith (cf. Matt. 6:1–4; Luke 11:41; 12:33; Acts 10:2, 4, 31; 24:17). Usually money was collected weekly in the local synagogues and then food distributed, but apparently some begged daily in the Temple area itself. (See Utley's further discussion of Almsgiving).

Note the contrasts in Acts 2-3 regarding the apostle Peter (from Wiersbe).

Peter the preacher Peter the personal worker
multitudes one poor man
ministry resulting in blessing ministry resulting in arrest and persecution.

Wiersbe adds "The events in Acts 3 are an illustration of the last phrase in Acts 2:47, showing us how the Lord added to His church daily. While the Holy Spirit is not named in this chapter, He was certainly at work in and through the Apostles, performing His ministry of glorifying Jesus Christ (John 16:14). (Borrow Be Dynamic).

F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily -   Whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful. (R.V.)
Is not this thyself? Thou art of the Israel of God. There is no doubt of thy name being enrolled in the pedigree of elect and regenerate souls; but thou art lame, needing to be carried by the strong support of minister and friend; never able to leap, and walk, and praise God; and at the best only able to reach the outer side of the Beautiful Gate that conducts to the richest, gladdest life. Through that gate of entire consecration there come snatches of holy melody; glimpses of white-vestured souls; visions of ideals of life which thou hast not attained but thou art excluded, condemned to live on the alms of those that enter. How great the pity! Why shouldest thou not have the very best that God can give?
But look up! expect to receive something; open thine ears to hear and thine heart to receive immediately strength, just where thou lackest it most sorely. The feet and ankle-bones of this helpless cripple only needed strength; they were perfectly formed, but paralysed. Similarly thine ideals of Christian living are true and accurate, but thou art deficient in power. Thou must receive strength.
But this strength can only be had by union with the risen Lord. His name (that is, his nature) alone can make thee strong, and give thee perfect soundness in the presence of those who have hitherto only pitied thy weakness. Believe in Him! All that have ever risen up to obey his lead have had perfect health and strength. Open thine heart to receive them. Claim and appropriate the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Life which is in Christ Jesus shall make thee free from the law of sin and death, from weakness and failure. 

Acts 3:3   When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.

KJV Acts 3:3  Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.


When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms - The nameless lame beggar sought physical support, but Spirit filled Peter offered him spiritual "support," actually a rescue not only from his physical but his spiritual malady! Too often I fear we are like this lame beggar, seeking a few crumbs from the Master's table, when what He desires to do is seat us at the table. We need to remember that although we are spiritual paupers, we are coming to a King which reminds me of the words of the hymn Come My Soul (play this beautiful hymn sung by Matt Foreman)...

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare: 
Jesus loves to answer prayer; 
He Himself has bid thee pray, 
Therefore will not say thee nay; 
Therefore will not say thee nay. 

Thou art coming to a King, 
Large petitions with thee bring; 
For His grace and power are such, 
None can ever ask too much; 
None can ever ask too much. 

So let us remember to Whom we come and that He "is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,(Eph 3:20+). 

Another point to ponder is that Peter had very likely passed by this same man on his way into the Temple grounds to pray, but this time he stops and responds. In addition there may have been other beggars. Why stop now? Why this lame beggar? Peter is a man full of the Spirit and when the Spirit fills a man He controls him. The filled man does not become a robot or a puppet, but he does become sensitive to the "still small voice" of the Spirit. Peter's spirit was sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Are we sensitive like Peter? Are we prepared to alter our plans when He speaks to us (not audibly but with inner urging)? To fail to respond may mean we miss an opportunity that only knocks once as they say. Lord, give us tender hearts that are spiritually attuned to Your voice and Your will for our life that we might not miss Your "invitation" to join You in what you are doing. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Alms (charity) (1654)(eleemosune from eleemon = merciful from eleos = mercy, kindness, compassion) signifies mercy or pity and came to be applied particularly in giving alms (alms = something such as money or food given freely to relieve the poor. Our English word "alms" is from Latin eleemosyna in turn from the Greek word eleemosune). Stated another way alms represents money given out of mercy for the poor.

Alms giving (Wikipedia - pix of Tzedakah Box)  was an important part of ancient Judaism where even those gleaning the fields were told to leave behind some of the sheaves so that the poor could gather and have food, Moses recording that "Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 'Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:9-10+) The same practice of giving passed into Christianity. But with every act of giving there is the danger of mixed motives creeping into something that is so necessary.

[Began] asking (imperfect tense - again and again like a good beggar)(2065)(erotao) means making a request, asking, begging.

Luke's uses of erotao

Lk. 4:38; Lk. 5:3; Lk. 7:3; Lk. 7:36; Lk. 8:37; Lk. 9:45; Lk. 11:37; Lk. 14:18; Lk. 14:19; Lk. 14:32; Lk. 16:27; Lk. 19:31; Lk. 20:3; Lk. 22:68; Lk. 23:3; Acts 1:6; Acts 3:3; Acts 10:48; Acts 16:39; Acts 18:20; Acts 23:18; Acts 23:20

William Barclay explains gives some background on importance of giving alms in first century Judaism - "To the Jew almsgiving was the most sacred of all religious duties. How sacred it was may be seen from the fact that the Jews used the same word—tzedakah—both for righteousness and alms giving! To give alms and to be righteous were one and the same thing. To give alms was to gain merit in the sight of God, and was even to win atonement and forgiveness for past sins. “Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life, but those who commit sin and do wrong are their own worst enemies. (Tobit 12:8)…There was a rabbinic saying “Greater is he who gives alms than he who offers all sacrifices.” Almsgiving stood first in the catalogue of good works. It was then natural and inevitable that the man who desired to be good should concentrate on almsgiving. The highest teaching of the Rabbis was exactly the same as the teaching of Jesus. They too forbade ostentatious almsgiving. “He who gives alms in secret,” they said, “is greater than Moses.” The almsgiving which saves from death is that “when the recipient does not know from whom he gets it, and when the giver does not know to whom he gives it.” There was a Rabbi who, when he wished to give alms, dropped money behind him, so that he would not see who picked it up. “It were better,” they said, “to give a man nothing, than to give him something, and to put him to shame.” There was one particularly lovely custom connected with the Temple. In the Temple there was a room called The Chamber of the Silent. People who wished to make atonement for some sin placed money there; and poor people from good families who had come down in the world were secretly helped by these contributions. (Gospel of Matthew - Daily Study Bible ) (Bolding added)

Acts 3:4  But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!"

KJV Acts 3:4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

  • Fixed his gaze on him and said Acts 11:6; 14:9,10; Luke 4:20
  • Look at us! Acts 3:12; John 5:6; 11:40
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him - (NET = "Peter looked directly at him (as did John)")Just one look is all it took to change the lame man's eternal destiny from eternal punishment to eternal bliss! There is an old top 40 hit from 1963 entitled Just One Look! Yes, it is a secular song but if you listen to the words, (while not perfect) it is amazing how they might have echoed the thoughts of this first century lame man and been his "theme song!" 

We see a similar visual encounter in the ministry of Paul

Acts 13:9 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him (Elymas the magician - context - Acts 13:8-12),

Acts 14:9 This man (cf Acts 14:8) was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10) said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk.

Comment - Note carefully what preceded this lame man's manifestation of faith - in Acts 14:7 "they continued to preach the gospel." Remember that Ro 1:16 says the gospel is "the power of God for salvation to those who believe." The Word preached stirred up genuine faith much as Paul described in Romans 10:17 and his genuine faith resulted in healing his crippled heart (salvation) and his crippled legs (physical healing). 

David Guzik -  This man heard Paul speaking: The crippled man heard Paul preach about Jesus. When he heard about Jesus, his face and manner showed that he believed Jesus could touch his life; he had faith to be healed. This certain man without strength in his feet made the important transition from hearing about the work of Jesus to believing that it was for him. Not everyone makes this same transition, but they should.. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed: There was something about this man’s faith that was evident, and it is likely that God gave Paul the gift of discernment, so much so that Paul knew God intended to heal the man at that moment.“That this lame man had faith was made plain by his ready obedience to Paul’s command to stand up.” (Bruce)

Constable comments - As is true of other similar references to a healed person's faith, this man's confidence was in God. He believed God could heal him, not that God would do so. Confidence that God would heal him, in other words, is not what made him whole. It was confidence that God through His servant could heal him that constituted his faith (e.g., Matt. 9:28-29; Mark 9:22-24). His faith was a factor in his receiving healing (cf. Mark 6:5-6).  (Acts 3 Commentary)


David Thompson makes a good point - Now keep in mind that Peter and John have just been involved in preaching God’s Word and literally seeing God save thousands of people. They had been involved in big-time ministry with big-time results. They could have easily walked by this one guy without batting an eye. After all, what is one broken-down beggar compared to thousands who had just been saved? But this teaches us something about the early Church. One was just as important as thousands. These apostles took the time to minister to one hurting sinner. We must never forget this. Reaching one is just as significant as reaching thousands. Some churches get all caught up in numbers, not Peter and John.

Fixed his gaze (816)(atenizo from from atenes = strained, intent which in turn is from a = intensifies + teino = to stretch, to extend or to strain) means to look intently, to fix one's gaze on something, to stare at something, to gaze earnestly, to look straight at something, to fasten one's eyes upon. 

It is fascinating that the first use of atenizo in the NT describes the reaction of the Jews in the synagogue where Jesus preached His first sermon from Isaiah 61:1-2a (Lk 4:18-19+). Luke records that "He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed (atenizo) on Him." (Lk 4:20+) Sadly, their reaction to Jesus (especially after he related the story of the Sidonian widow and Naaman the Syrian - Lk 4:21-27+) was radically different from that of the lame man.

The lame man looked at Peter and John (and ultimately at Jesus Who Peter and John represented) with eyes of faith (Acts 3:16) "expecting to receive something from them" (Acts 3:5). In dramatic contrast, Luke records the reaction of the the Jews in the synagogue (ironically a place to worship God and God was standing before them!) -- "And ALL (NOT JUST A FEW BUT "ALL"!) the people in the synagogue were filled with (Beloved, mark it down! What fills you will control you!) rage as they heard these things (Lk 4:25-27+) and (CONTROLLED BY RAGE) they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff." (Lk 4:28-29+). So much for a welcoming reception to Jesus' first sermon!

As we examine these two diametrically different reactions to Jesus, do they not recall His own prophetic words "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (NOTE IMPORTANCE OF REPENTANCE IN SALVATION).” (Lk 5:31-32+). The lame man was physically sick in need of physical healing, but the Spirit opened his eyes to see that he was spiritually sick and in need of a touch from the Great Physician, Jehovah Rapha. He was led to recognize his need for God's righteousness. Dear reader, have you come to the realization that all your "righteous deeds are like a filthy garment" (Isa 64:6) before a Holy God, and looked with eyes of faith to Jesus to receive His healing and be clothed in His righteousness? (cf 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Cor 1:30, 6:11)

And said look at us - At Peter and John. Peter, like a military officer, issues a command in the aorist imperative calling for an immediate response to "Do this now!" "Don't delay!" "Look at us right now, this very moment!"

David Thompson notes that "Some have wondered why Peter and John command him to look at them. The answer is because beggars are always looking for their next potential donor. A beggar is not interested in you but your money. His eyes are always on the lookout for someone else he can hit up for money. When Peter gave him this command, with his sharp eyes looking straight at this guy, he got this beggar’s full attention. He focused his eyes on these apostles expecting to receive some money."

Look ((991(blepo) basically means to look at, to perceive with the eye, and frequently implies special contemplation. Blepo indicates greater vividness than horao, a similar verb meaning "to see", W E Vine explaining that blepo conveys "a more intentional, earnest contemplation -- of beholding the mote in a brother’s eye (Lk 6:41+); of beholding the linen clothes in the empty tomb (Lk 24:12+);  of the gaze of the disciples when their Lord ascended (Acts 1:9+). This same verb blepo is used in another conversion in Acts describing Saul's vision of Jesus which temporarily blinded him physically (Acts 9:8-9), the physical blindness being associated with the Spirit's spiritual opening of the eyes of Saul's heart so that he might "turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that (he might) receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in (Jesus).’ (Acts 26:18+)!

Peter's command to look reminds me of the words in Isaiah which God's Spirit used to save the Prince of Preachers, C H Spurgeon...

Look (a command) unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22KJV)

Lenski makes a good point on Peter's command to look at us - This earnest look of the apostles does not mean, "looking through to the innermost bottom of the heart in order to discover the proper receptivity." Interpretations such as that are due to the view that miracles require faith in advance. (The Interpretation of The Acts of the Apostles)

Gangel asks "Why call for his attention when he had already addressed them? Because a veteran beggar would be looking well beyond his immediate clientele to whomever might be next in line. Beg to everyone, and hope a few will respond. Peter, filled with the Spirit of God, had more in mind. God forced them into a ministry opportunity they had not anticipated, but they were ready. In the seconds that passed during this brief encounter, this man could not have known what his Creator was about to do through these two potential donors. (Holman New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Related Resource:

D L Moody - The apostles “fastened” their eyes on the lame man. Is not this a characteristic of Christianity that it fastens its eyes on the afflicted and the suffering? SCIENCE fastens its eyes on inanimate matter! ART fastens its eyes on beauty! ART going to the temple to pray, which by the way it seldom does in our day, would have fixed its gaze on the “gate called Beautiful.” But Christianity fixed its eyes on the cripple. ART standing on the brow of Olivet would have fixed its gaze on the grandeur of Jerusalem, but Christ fixed His on its guilty inhabitants and wept over them. SCIENCE seeks out the secrets of the world. ART seeks out its beauties. Christianity seeks out its sorrows and ills, and strives to remove them.

Acts 3:5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

KJV Acts 3:5  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

And he began to give them his attention - To give...attention is the imperfect tense - again and again, over and over. The lame man obeyed Peter's command to look!

A T Robertson adds "Imperfect active of epechō, to hold to. For the idiom with ton noun understood see Acts 7:14; 1 Tim. 4:16. He held his eyes right on Peter and John with great eagerness "expecting to receive something" (prosdokōn ti labein). He took Peter's invitation as a promise of a large gift." (Ibid)

Give attention (1907)(epecho from epí = upon + écho = have, hold) means literally have or hold upon. To hold firmly to figuratively to hold firmly to a particular belief. Figuratively to hold out, then to hold one's mind towards or to give attention to as did the lame man to Peter and John. All the uses of epecho - Lk. 14:7; Acts 3:5; Acts 19:22; Phil 2:16; 1 Ti 4:16

Expecting to receive something from them - The verb expecting (4328)(prosdokao from prós = towards, idea of “mental direction” + dokáo = look for = direction of mind towards something) means literally to look forward toward, to anticipate, and in this context to expect. The lame man was looking for gold and silver but obtained healing and eternal life.  

Prosdokao is used by Peter to describe the attitude all saints should have, not looking to accumulate the bright trinkets of this passing world, but...

looking for (prosdokao) and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for (prosdokao) new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.  14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for (prosdokao) these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, (2 Peter 3:12-14+)

You can mark it down -- What (Who) you are looking for will (should) radically affect what (Who) you are living for and how you are living (cf 1 Jn 3:2,3+). Disciples of Jesus who are continually looking to the future are more likely to "be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless!" (cf 1 Jn 2:28+, Heb 12:14+) Are you looking daily for Jesus Christ to return and sweep us off our feet?

Acts 3:6   But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene--walk!"

KJV  Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

  • I do not possess silver and gold Mt 10:9; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 6:10; 8:9; James 2:5
  • but what I do have I give to you Mark 14:8; 2 Corinthians 8:12; 1 Pe 4:10
  • In the name  Acts 3:16; 4:7; 9:34; 16:18; 19:13-16; Mt 7:22; Mark 16:17
  • In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  Acts 2:22,36; 4:10; 10:38; John 19:19
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


I do not possess silver and gold - Peter was poor in worldly goods but rich in heavenly goods (as are all believers) "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich." (2 Cor 8:9)

NET Note on the phrase silver and gold says that Louw-Nida "classifies the expression argurion kai chrusion as an idiom that is a generic expression for currency, thus money."

J Vernon McGee - Today the organized church has wealth. I suppose that if one could put together all the holdings of all the churches, all groups, denominations, and non-denominations across the country, we would find the church wealthier than any other organization. I think it is wealthier than the Standard Oil Company. Yet the church today lacks power. (Woe!)

ILLUSTRATION - For some people, to say “silver and gold I do not have” is about the worst thing that can be said. They feel the church is in ruins if it must say “silver and gold I do not have.” But it is much worse if the church never has the spiritual power to say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk”? There is a story about a humble monk walking with a Roman Catholic cardinal at a time in the Middle Ages when the Roman Catholic church was at its zenith of power, prestige and wealth. The cardinal pointed to the opulent surroundings and said to the monk, "We no longer have to say, silver and gold I do not have." The monk replied, "But neither can you say, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." (Guzik)

Luke has no record of the lame man complaining "What are you talking about? Can't you see my rags? I need money." 

But - What a blessed term of contrast! What's is Peter contrasting?

What I do have I give to you - What did Peter have? Clearly he is referring to the spiritual authority that Jesus had given him (and the other apostles). Luke records that Jesus "called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority ( = the right and the might) over all the demons, and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing."(Lk 9:1-2+). When the Romans mentioned the name Caesar, they implied all that his name conveyed, power, authority, dominion, etc.

In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth - Christ = Messiah = anointed one. The command was not in Peter's authority but in the authority of Jesus Christ. "In the Name," means everything that Jesus is now and forever, and in context speaks especially to His authority, in His power, to be demonstrated for His glory. They immediately acknowledge that it is not by power of their own. Peter uses the same Name as he did in Acts 2:22+ ("Jesus the Nazarene") the Name that was given to Jesus by the Jews to show their scorn and derision of Him and His humble origin in Nazareth (cf Jn 1:46). But Peter knew there was power in the Name of Jesus. Psalm 106:8 links God's Name and His power saying "Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, that He might make His power known." Daniel prayed "Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him." (Da 2:20) In the next chapter of Acts, the religious leaders asked Peter and John “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” (Acts 4:7+) Indeed, this great Name Jesus the Nazarene (or some variation) permeates the book of Acts (Acts 2:22 Acts 3:6 Acts 4:10 Acts 6:14 Acts 10:38 Acts 22:8 Acts 26:9)

In addition the word "Name" (associated with Jesus or standing for Jesus) is found throughout Acts - some 32 times - Acts 2:21, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:6, Acts 3:16, Acts 4:7, 10, 12, 17, 18, 30, Acts 5:28, 40, 41, Acts 8:12, 16, Acts 9:14, 15, 21, 27, 28, Acts 10:43, 48, Acts 15:14, 17, 26, Acts 16:18, Acts 19:5, 13, 17, Acts 21:13, Acts 22:16, Acts 26:9. But oh, how different is the use by Spirit filled believers in Acts compared to the profane use of this great Name in post-Christian America today (top 10 cities), where the Name "Jesus" or "Jesus Christ" or "Christ" is used most often as a curse word on the lips of blasphemers. And sadly many times His followers remain silent at the misuse of His great Name. Oh my! This ought not to be so! The next time someone drags His great Name through the gutter, say something like "I'm glad you mentioned Jesus for they (or "you") are going to need His help," or something like that depending on the context. And be prepared for a "double take!" Spirit filled disciples of Jesus in Acts fearlessly upheld the majesty and glory of the Name of Jesus. We are called to imitate them relying on the same Holy Spirit to enable our boldness. How are you doing dear brother or sister in Christ? Are you defending His Name? Or are you cowering back for fear of what others might say? Be filled! Be bold! And never forget "that at the Name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW (imagine their horror and shame and fear for having used His Name as a curse word!), of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that EVERY TONGUE will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Php 2:10-11+). 

A T Robertson - The healing power is in that Name (Page) and Peter says so. Cf. Luke 9:49; Luke 10:17; Acts 4:7, 10; Acts 19:27; Acts 16:18. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

As an aside, be sure you understand that reference to “the Name” is not some magical incantation as in Acts 19:13-16! And Jesus warns us that false disciples will claim to do miracles, etc, in His Name (Mt 7:22+), but He tells them to "Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." (Mt 7:23+)

Related Resources:

Warren Wiersbe observes that "The emphasis in Acts 3 and 4 is on the Name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 3:6, 16; 4:7, 10, 12, 17-18, 30). A name, of course, implies much more than identification: it carries with it authority, reputation, and power (ED: cf Pr 18:10+). When somebody says, “You can use my name!” you sincerely hope the name is worth using!. If an order is given in the name of the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of Great Britain, those who receive the order know that they are obligated to obey. If I were to issue orders at the White House or at No. 10 Downing Street (even if I could get in), nobody would pay much attention because my name has no official authority behind it.But the name of the Lord Jesus has all authority behind it, for He is the Son of God (Matt. 28:18). Because His name is "above every name" (Phil. 2:9-11), He deserves our worship and obedience. The great concern of the first Christians was that the name of Jesus Christ, God's Son, be glorified; and believers today should have that same concern.  (Borrow Be Dynamic).

IVP Commentary on the Name - A name is an expression of a person's very essence. The power of the person is present and available in the name (Haenchen 1971:200). In the case of Jesus, the invocation of his name is a direct link between earth and heaven.  It is not a magic formula but a simple recognition that if any salvation blessings are to come, they must arrive in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus so commissioned his disciples (Lk 24:47)

Rise up and walk - Both of these verbs are commands in the present imperative - Be rising, be walking expressing enduring action meaning this lame man will not just walk a few steps but will have the power to walk now and always. Jesus gave a similar double command (Mt 9:5; Mark 2:9, 11; Luke 5:23; 6:8; John 5:8). Think about what Peter is commanding -- has your foot ever fallen asleep and you get up quickly and try to walk and either stumble or fall. And here is a man lame for 40 years (Jesus may have even passed by!) and Peter says rise and walk clearly indicative of the miraculous nature of the healing. He had never walked and yet he did not have to learn like an infant who had never walked. In fact we learn later, he doesn't just walk, but leaps, something not possible short of a miraculous cure!

Rise up ((present imperative)(1453)(egeiro)  means to rise (stand up) from a sitting or lying position (Mt 8:26, 9:5), to awaken from sleep (Mt 8:25), figuratively to "awaken" from death (rise up). Egeiro was used literally also to raise up or lift up a person either sitting or lying down. Notice that the newest version of the NAS omits "rise up" because of its absence in a few of the Greek manuscripts. However, most modern translations include rise up (ESV, NLT, NET, CSB).

Walk (present imperative - be walking, keep walking now and always)(4043)(peripateo from peri = about, around + pateo = walk, tread) means literally to walk around (walk around in a complete circuit or full circle), to go here and there walking, to tread all around. The 39 uses in the Gospels always refer to literal, physical walking. Seven of the 8 uses in Acts are also in the literal sense (except Acts 21:21). (See Spurgeon's comments on what it means to walk)

LaSor - “It is not the Church’s business in this world to simply make the present condition more bearable; the task of the Church is to release here on earth the redemptive work of God in Christ.” (Quoted by Guzik)

Paul Apple - How crippled were you before you came to know the power of Jesus Christ in your life? What have you experienced of the strength of the shackles of sin; the destruction of its bondage in your life; the broken relationships with God and with those around you? How has pride and selfishness and lust and anger and anxiety and impatience imprisoned you and kept you outside of the place of God’s blessing for you? What sense of desperation and failure and hopelessness have you experienced? The healing power of Jesus Christ can only be appreciated against such a black backdrop. That is why the miracle of healing in Acts 3 should be so exciting to us today. Maybe we still have an area of our life that is still broken and still needs the healing power of God and His gracious restoration to healthy functioning. As we study the transformation of this pitiful cripple, we need to see our own spiritual conversion and praise the Lord for His amazing grace in our lives. We also need to have compassion for the broken condition of those around us who are far worse off than just a physical cripple – they are lost in the bondage of sin and separated from the life of God. Acts 2 prepared us for the study of these signs and miracles that took place in the early church through the apostles. (The Spread of the Gospel)

Peter's command "Stand up and Walk" reminds me of the story in the Global Prayer Digest - Pastor Chagan John invited us to accompany him to a Mayvasi Kohli wedding. When we arrived, he asked to see the bride so we could pray for her. When he found that the bride was not the oldest sibling he asked why she was being married first, since that was the custom among the Mayvasy Kohli people. They told us the sad story about Rudhi, her older sister, who was crippled. For the last six months she has had this disease and has been unable to walk. They had taken her to the best doctors and had bought the best charms and amulets to heal her, but to no avail. But they said we were welcome to pray for her. Rudhi was brought out to this open room and placed on a mat in the center. We began praying for her. Suddenly Pastor Chagan said to Rudhi, “Stand up and walk.” We were very amazed at this; what if she couldn’t walk? As Pastor Chagan took her hand, she stood up and began walking! People asked us to pray for them as well. As a result, Rudhi and her family were baptized. There are about 30,000. Mayvasi Kohlis, but only about 20 believers among them. Pray for many from the Mayvasy Kohli people to put all their faith in Jesus Christ. (Global Prayer Digest entry for 11/11/2018)

GOD'S BEST - The crippled man asked for money, but Peter gave him something much better—the use of his legs. We often ask God to solve a small problem, but he wants to give us a whole new life and help for all our problems. When we ask God for help, he may say, "I've got something even better for you." Ask God for what you want, but don't be surprised when he gives you what you really need. (Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts)

G Campbell Morgan - Silver and gold have I none; but what I have, that give I thee.—Acts 3.6
These were not the words of apology. By comparison with what Peter had to bestow, silver and gold are the veriest dross. To give silver and gold to a cripple is a good thing indeed, if that is the best you can do for him. But it only maintains him in his disability. To give him strength to walk is to set him free from the need of alms. This is the difference between Christianity and all merely humanitarian efforts for the relief of the incapable. Thy help to make the conditions of continued inability somewhat bearable. It cancels the inability, and so ends the conditions, and makes the efforts for relief unnecessary. Therefore Christianity never has any need to apologize for itself. The service it renders to men, individually and socially, is of the highest. It deals not so much with conditions as with causes. By so doing it necessarily deals with conditions also. The principle illustrated in the case of this man is of the widest application. Apart from Christ, humanitarian efforts deal with surroundings, but cannot touch the man. Christianity begins with the man and so makes him the instrument for changing his own surroundings. Humanitarian effort plants a garden round a man and leaves him to spoil the garden. Christianity remakes the man, and he makes the garden.

Acts 3:1-16 Change Your Name

By Cindy Hess Kasper

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. —Romans 10:13

Names are important. Parents may spend months researching and deciding on the perfect name for their baby. Often their final decision is based on its sound, uniqueness, or meaning.

One woman took on a new name because she disliked her original name. She mistakenly believed that changing it could alter her destiny. That’s not likely, but for those who trust in Jesus as their Savior and are identified by His name from that time on, a radical transformation does take place.

There is a powerful significance attached to the name of Jesus. The apostles performed miracles (Acts 3:6-7,16; 4:10) and cast out demons in His name (Luke 10:17). They spoke and taught in the name of Jesus. They baptized believers in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38). And it is only through the name of Jesus that we gain access to the Father (Acts 4:12).

When we become Christians, we share in that worthy name. And as we follow Christ, we are able to reflect His light to any darkness we encounter, whether in our neighborhood, our workplace, or even our home. Our prayer should be that when people see us—they will see Christ.

Our names may have meaning or significance. But to bear the name Christian is life-transforming.

Lord of my life, henceforth I bear
The name of Christian everywhere;
Therefore, O Christ, my spirit claim,
And make me worthy of Your name. —Freeman

The name of Jesus is the only name with the power to transform. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Is He Enough?

Read: Acts 3:1-10 

Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. —Acts 3:6

Is Jesus enough? That’s a question many Christians need to ask themselves. They have abundant material possessions. But do these believers depend on Jesus? Or on their stuff?

While having wealth is not condemned in Scripture as long as priorities are in order and the needs of others are addressed, those of us with relative wealth must remind ourselves that Jesus—not riches—sustains us.

The apostle Peter helps us with this in the story of the lame man begging at the temple gate in Jerusalem. This man asked Peter for money, but Peter replied, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).

The man lying at the gate thought the answer to his problems that day was money, but Peter showed him that the answer was Jesus. And He still is.

I read about a group of Chinese Christians who have much to teach us as they seek to spread the gospel in their homeland and beyond. These believers say, “We can’t afford any big programs or fancy gospel presentations. All we have to give people is Jesus.”

Jesus is enough for our brothers and sisters in China. He is enough for the poor. Is He enough for you?

You may have much gold and grandeur, Yet by God be reckoned poor; He alone has riches truly Who has Christ, though nothing more. —Anon.

Our greatest riches are the riches we have in Christ.

By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Acts 3:7   And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.

KJV Acts 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

  • Acts 9:41; Mk 1:31; 5:41; 9:27; Luke 13:13
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up - Presumably the hand the lame man is holding out for alms -- Peter is about to give him far more than alms! Now Peter's seizing him and raising him up did not strengthen his feet and his ankles because if his feet and ankles had not been strengthened, he would have fallen down and certainly would not been able to walk on his own and leap up praising God (Acts 3:8). 

A T Robertson suggests that "Peter had to pull him up on his feet before he would try to walk." (Ibid)

Seizing (4084)(piazo related to piezo = to press) originally meant to press or squeeze, and then to take hold of with a firm grasp as here in Acts 3:7. More often piazo speaks of seizing someone with a hostile intent so as to overpower them or to gain control. Most often piazo is used to describe the hostile attempts to seize Jesus (Jn 7:30, 32, 44, Jn 8:20, 10:39, 11:57). In 2 Cor 11:32 used of the attempt "to seize" Paul at "the city of the Damascenes." In Acts 12:4 of Herod who "seized him (Peter and), he put him in prison."

There is one vivid use in the Septuagint of Song 2:15+ in the form of a command to "Catch (Heb = achaz; Lxx = piazo - aorist imperative) the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.” 

Piazo - 12x in 12v - caught(2), seize(6), seized(3), seizing(1).

Jn. 7:30; Jn. 7:32; Jn. 7:44; Jn. 8:20; Jn. 10:39; Jn. 11:57; Jn. 21:3; Jn. 21:10; Acts 3:7; Acts 12:4; 2 Co. 11:32; Rev. 19:20

Immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened - Remember Luke is a doctor so he gives us a detailed description of this man's weakness and what the healing affected. This was a miracle that exalted the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene. The religious leaders did not discount that this was indeed a miracle "saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it." (Acts 4:16) 

David Thompson points out that "This was a miracle. What is even more amazing is that this happened to this man in no connection with his faith at all. This fact shows the fallacy of today’s phony faith healers. Religious faith healers put on a show and carefully select their candidates. They do this for money, and if the person isn’t healed they blame it on a lack of faith. This man who was really healed had been crippled all of his life and he didn’t have any faith." Of course we do see his faith in regard to the miraculous healing of his spiritual malady (Acts 3:16). 

Gangel - To this point in the text we find no reference to the man's faith. Throughout Scripture both salvation and healing come through faith (though not always the faith of the sick, compare James 5:14-15). As we glance ahead in our chapter, we see in Acts 3:16 that somehow the man responded spiritually as well as physically. Even as strength entered his ankles, faith entered his heart. (Holman New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Immediately (at once, instantly, cf Lk 4:39, 8:44, 55) (3916)(parachrema from pará = at, and chrḗma = something useful or needed) means suddenly, immediately, at the very moment, on the spot, forthwith, directly after something else has taken place. It sometimes has the implication of unexpectedness in certain context as the withering of the fig tree (Mt 21:19, 20). Note how most of the uses are in the context of a miraculous event and emphasize the absence of delay in the performance of the miracle. 

Parachrema is used to describe Peter's mother in law "immediately" getting up after Jesus rebuked the fever (Lk 4:39), the paralyzed man "immediately got up" after Jesus healed him (Lk 5:25), the woman's hemorrhage stopping "immediately" after she touched the fringe of Jesus' cloak (Lk 8:44, 8:55), of the woman bent double "Immediately" standing erect after Jesus laid His hands on her (Lk 13:13), of the blind man "immediately" receiving his sight at the command of Jesus (Lk 18:43, 42), of Jesus' disciples misconception that "the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately (Lk 19:11), before a cock crowed a second time Peter denied Jesus and immediately he crowed (Lk 22:60), of the man lame from birth who Peter seized by the right "and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened (Acts 3:7), of Sapphira lying to Peter and "immediately" falling dead at his feet (Acts 5:10), of Herod's being struck "immediately" by an angel because he did not give God the glory (Acts 12:23), of Saul (Paul) made blind "immediately" (Acts 13:11), of the sudden earthquake that liberated Paul and Silas from prison (Acts 16:25, 26), and lastly of the immediate baptism of the jailer at Philippi (Acts 19:33).

Spurgeon on immediately - The man had never stood upon his feet in all his life, and was so unable to move that he had to be carried to the Temple gates to beg; and yet, at the mention of the great and glorious name of Jesus, his feet and ankle-bones immediately received strength.

Vincent on feet (basis) - A peculiar, technical word, used by Luke only, and described by Galen as the part of the foot lying beneath the leg, upon which the leg directly rests, as distinguished from the tarsos, the flat of the foot between the toes and heel, and pedion, the part next the toes." BDAG adds that basis is "that with which one steps, usually of the area below the ankle, foot." VGNT says basis was "common in the inscriptions for the “base” of a statue...“base mouldings and capitals” of pillars...The medical use of basis = “foot”... Its geometrical meaning, as the “base” of a triangle."

Feet (939)(basis) means that with which one steps, and usually refers to the area below the ankle, possibly the soles of the feet. Used only here in the NT.

Ankles (4974)(sphudron from sphura = a hammer because the ankle resembles a hammer) means ankle. Used only here in the NT.

What was the lame man's malady? Luke's description specifically focusing on the feet and ankles (these are the only 2 uses of these Greek words in the NT) man was crippled on the part of the feet that one would step. Luke's description suggests that this malady may have been club foot (picture) a birth defect where one or both feet are rotated inwards and downwards, but that is only my educated guess as a medical doctor. Today clubfoot is amenable to treatment medically and surgically, but in the first century the only physician who could cure clubfoot was Jesus the Nazarene!

G Campbell Morgan - “Perhaps only medical men can fully appreciate the meaning of these words; they are peculiar, technical words of a medical man. The word translated feet is only used by Luke, and occurs nowhere else. It indicates his discrimination between different parts of the human heel. The phrase ankle-bones is again a medical phrase to be found nowhere else. The word ‘leaping up’ describes the coming suddenly into socket of something that was out of place, the articulation of a joint. This then is a very careful medical description of what happened in connection with this man.” 

Were strengthened - This is the passive voice, in context, clearly a "divine passive," indicating that the force that gave him stability and strength was God. It is fascinating that the same verb (stereoo) is used in the OT (Septuagint) to describe God establishing the heavens (Ps 33:6) and the earth (Ps 75:3). 

Were strengthened (4732)(stereoo from stereos = solid, stable) means to make firm, stable, strong or solid, to become physically taut (or tauter), especially describing the muscles and limbs and so to be physically strong and vigorous. "In medical language applied to the bones in particular." (Vincent) Used only in Acts 3:7, Acts 3:16 ("strengthened this man") and Acts 16:5, this last use being more figurative as Luke describes that "the churches were being strengthened (imperfect tense - again and again, over and over) in the faith, and were increasing in number daily." Stereoo is used figuratively in Hannah's prayer when she says "My heart exults (Lxx = stereoo) in the LORD," where the Septuagint has "My heart is established in the LORD." In Ps 33:6 says "by the Word of the LORD the heavens were made (Lxx= stereoo = "were established"). "The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set (Lxx= stereoo = "have strengthened") its pillars. Selah." (Ps 75:3, cf similar use in Ps 93:1, 136:6)

The related verb sterizo is used by Peter speaking of the faith of individual believers who were being afflicted and tested by trials promising that "After you have suffered for a little while (cf 1 Pe 1:6+), the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm (sterizo), strengthen and establish you." (1 Pe 5:10+)

This verb stereoo is the root of the noun stereoma which describes anything as stable and in Col 2:5+ was used figuratively to describe the "stability of (the Colossian saints') faith in Christ." 

Stereoo - 34x in 34v in the Septuagint

1 Sa 2:1; 1 Sa 6:18; Job 37:18; Ps. 18:17; Ps. 33:6; Ps. 75:3; Ps. 93:1; Ps. 136:6; Isa. 42:5; Isa. 44:24; Isa. 45:12; Isa. 48:13; Isa. 51:6; Jer. 5:3; Jer. 10:4; Jer. 52:6; Lam. 2:4; Ezek. 4:7; Dan. 8:24; Hos. 13:4; Amos 4:13

Thomas Constable on healings - This was the first of three crippled people that Luke recorded the apostles healing in Acts (Acts 9:32-34; 14:8-10; cf. John 5; 9). The gift of healing as it existed in the early church was quite different from the so-called gift of healing some claim to possess today. Examples of people using this gift in the New Testament seem to indicate that the person with this gift could heal anyone, subject to God's will (cf. Matt. 10:1, 8; Acts 28:8-9; et al.). The sick person's belief in Jesus Christ and in God's ability to heal him or her also seems to be a factor (v. 16; cf. Mark 6:5-6). Jesus Christ gave this gift to the early church to convince people that He is God and that the gospel the Christians preached had divine authority. He gave it for the benefit of Jewish observers primarily (1 Cor. 1:22).  "The New Testament gift of healing is a specific gift to an individual enabling him to heal. It is not to be confused with the healing performed by God in answer to prayer. "There is little correspondence between modern-day charismatic 'healings' and the healings recorded in the New Testament. The differences are so vast that many of today's healers are careful to point out that they do not have the gift of healing, but are merely those to whom God often responds with healing." (quote from Thomas Edgar) (Acts 3 Commentary)

Souls and bodies go together. Amy Carmichael, missionary to India: She was a radiant Christian and charmed everyone. Her key ministry was in setting up the Dohnavur Fellowship, an orphanage for abandoned children. Amy ministered to the whole person and emphasized their  physical needs, education, and character-building.  To those who charged she was not evangelistic enough, Amy  responded, "...One cannot save and then pitchfork souls into heaven....Souls are more or less securely fastened to bodies...and as you cannot get the souls out and deal with them separately, you have to take them both together."(From David Holwick)

Acts 3:8  With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

KJV  Acts 3:8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

  • leaping Acts 14:10; Isa 35:6; Lk 6:23; Jn 5:8,9,14
  • praising God Ps 103:1,2; 107:20-22; Lk 17:15-18; 18:43
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


With a leap is the exallomai (1814)(ek = forth + allomai = to leap) used only here in the NT. This description indicates it was clearly the lame man's power (not Peter seizing him Acts 3:7) testifying to the fact it was a miraculous healing. The present tense pictures the lame man as continually, leaping.

Roberston adds "Present middle participle, leaping out repeatedly after Peter pulled him up."

Exallomai is used in the Septuagint in Micah 2:12 to describe the saved remnant of Israel who will leap when Messiah the Breaker (See Christ The Breaker) leads forth the redeemed of Israel into His Messianic Kingdom. In a sense then this lame man's healing is a foretaste of the coming King's Kingdom where "the lame will leap (Lxx = hallomai) like a deer" as prophesied by Isaiah (Isa 35:6+).

Vincent on exallomai - Strictly, leaping forth. Only here in New Testament. Used in medical language of the sudden starting of a bone from the socket, of starting from sleep, or of the sudden bound of the pulse. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

He stood upright and began to walk - NET = "He jumped up, stood and began walking around." Can you not see this man's face! Forty years and never able to take one step!

NET Note on with a leap - It is possible that the paralyzed man actually jumped off the ground, but more probably this term simply refers to the speed with which he stood up.

Kenneth Gangel - Luke has already told us in his Gospel that the healing of lame people would be a sign of the Lord’s return (Luke 7:22). These apostles believed they lived in the end times and, in the broad sweep of human history, they did, just as we do. (Holman NT Commentary - Acts)

And he entered the temple with them - Remember Peter and John were going to afternoon prayer. Now we see praise added to this time of prayer. Can you just imagine the look on the faces of the legalistic Pharisees and Scribes! "It may well be that some stern religious leader told him to calm down: “Don’t you know that you’re in God’s holy temple?” But the man would have replied, “I’m so happy that I could jump and dance all night!”" (Cole) 

The fact that he entered the temple with them also underscores the fact that he was completely healed for to enter the Temple one had to ascend stairs (cf "going up" in Acts 3:1+) - See the picture of remnant of the Stairs of Ascent discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, to the entrance of the Temple Courtyard. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the Herodian Temple would have entered and exited by this stairway.

With them - Luke uses the preposition sun/syn for with, not the preposition meta. The former speaks of a more intimate association and certainly fits with the fact that in Acts 3:11 Luke describes him as clinging to Peter and John.

Walking and leaping and praising God - Imagine the reaction of the orthodox Jews who had come from afternoon prayer! He is healed physically and spiritually and if not completely clear on the Gospel he was clinging the Peter who was about to give a clear proclamation in his second sermon in Acts 3:12-26. In addition to preparing the stage for Peter's second sermon, the miraculous healing also prepared the stage for the beginning of persecution of the church described in Acts 4:1-22!

Walking (4043)(peripateo from peri = about, around + pateo = walk) means literally to walk around and 7 of the 8 uses in Acts (Acts 3:6; 3:8; 3:9; 3:12; 14:8; 14:10) describe literal waling (the lone exception being Acts 21:21 "walk according to the customs" = conduct themselves).

Leaping (present tense = continually springing up) (242)(hallomai akin to halma = a leap) means to leap up, jump, spring up, to gush. "Used of quick movement by living beings like jumping." (Brown). It pictures this lame man leaping, dancing and rejoicing with leap, to dance, to rejoice much praise to God! The derivative verb is agalliao which means to leap for joy. Agalliao means to experience a state of great joy and gladness, often accompanied by verbal expression and appropriate bodily movements. The two literal uses of hallomai in Acts (Acts 3:8, 14:10) describe men lame from birth who jump up after being healed by one of the apostles (first Peter, then Paul). In John 4:14+ Jesus applies hallomai metaphorically to the picture of water bubbling up as from an underground spring. There are 3 uses in the NT and 8 in the Septuagint with 4 of these uses referring to the Holy Spirit "leaping upon" individuals (Samson in Jdg 14:6, 19+, Jdg 15:14+ and Saul in 1 Sa 10:10)!

The description of "the lame (who) will leap (Lxx = hallomai) like a deer" in Isaiah 35:6+ refers to the glorious Millennium when the lame will leap and probably speaks of physical healing in that time! "Jesus' first coming gave a foretaste of that future day (Mt 12:22; Mk 7:37) as did the leaping of this blind man (Acts 3:8). Here is the text in context

The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus  2 It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God (THEY WILL SEE MESSIAH REIGNING ON EARTH).  3 Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.  4 Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.”  5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.  6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah.  (Isa 35:1-6+)

Clearly most of what Isaiah foresaw has not yet transpired, but some aspects of his prophecy have been partially fulfilled as affirmed by Jesus in Matthew declaring that 

the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM .(Mt 11:5, cf Luke 7:22+ )

In other words, while the fulfillment of Isaiah 35 awaits the return of Jesus and the bringing in of the Messianic Kingdom, Isaiah's prediction was partially fulfilled in Jesus' day and in the day of His apostles. The sign of a lame man leaping in Acts 3:8 clearly attests to the fact that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.  Jesus was continuing to work through His apostles and that His Name was still powerful to perform the same miracles of healing that took place when He was on this earth. Indeed, these miracles in the Gospels and Acts point to the fact that the "Messianic Age" had arrived, and yet the glories of that age will not be fully realized until the Messiah Himself returns to rule and reign in righteousness for 1000 years. Maranatha Lord! Amen! Listen to Jesus' words

Given these "supernatural" uses of hallomai in both the OT and the NT, it is not surprising to see Jesus use this picturesque verb in John 4:14+ describing the supernatural effects of "drinking" the "living waters," which in context means to belief in Him and reception of His Spirit. What a glorious picture of the Holy Spirit - inward, irrepressible, inexhaustible! 

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace.

Praising (present tense = continually praising God)(134)(aineo) means to offer praise, to sing praises and in NT refers only of praise to God. Note specifically, the healed man did not praise Peter. He understood Who had healed him and believed Peter's words In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene--walk!

The phrase praising God is used only by Luke and is found 7x in the NT - of angels in the sky announcing Jesus' birth (Lk 2:13), of shepherds in the field on hearing the announcement of Jesus' birth (Lk 2:20), centurion after Jesus' crucifixion (Lk 23:47), of the disciples after Jesus' ascension (Lk 24:53), of the infant church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47) and twice of this healed lame man (Acts 3:8,9). 

ILLUSTRATION - John Stott tells of an English Salvation Army drummer who was beating his drum so hard that the band leader had to tell him to pipe down a bit and not make so much noise. In his cockney accent the drummer replied, “God bless you, sir, since oi’ve been converted, oi’m so ’appy, oi could bust the bloomin’ drum!” (Christianity Today [6/12/81], p/ 19.) (Quoted by Steven Cole)

Steven Cole applies this physical healing to the spiritual healing the lame man received and which we all also need...

It was not just a miracle of physical healing; it is also a picture of the spiritual healing that God brings to a spiritually lame world. It teaches us that …

God’s miraculous gift of salvation should cause us to praise Him with exuberant joy so that others will marvel at His mighty power.

There are three lessons for us to consider:

1. Salvation is a miraculous gift from Jesus, not a human self-improvement project.

We often underestimate what happens when God saves a soul. We view it in human terms, as a human decision that requires human follow up so that the decision “sticks.” I’m not denying that a person needs to make a decision and receive proper follow up so that he can begin to grow in his new faith. Rather, I’m emphasizing, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature…” (2 Co 5:17). Salvation is nothing less than God imparting life to a person who was dead in sin. God’s mighty creative power is involved in saving a soul! It’s a far greater miracle than healing lame legs.

A. The human race has been spiritually lame from birth due to the fall.

This man had been lame from his mother’s womb. He is a sad picture of the human race, maimed by the fall. This was not a day when there were concrete wheelchair ramps for those who were crippled. In fact, there were no wheelchairs or handicapped parking places! If this man left his house, it was only because more than one friend came over, put him on a stretcher, and carried him. They often took him to the gate at the temple called Beautiful, where worshipers would take pity on him and toss him a few coins so that he could survive. While the temple gate was beautiful, this man with his useless legs was anything but beautiful. He is a sad picture of how sin cripples humanity.

In 1987, Marla and I went to Hong Kong, Macau, and China on a ministry trip. We were walking around on some crowded back streets in Guangzhou, China. It had rained recently, so there were puddles and mud. As we walked along with the crowd, suddenly, we almost stepped on a poor beggar who had no legs. He was on the dirty street, pulling his torso along by his arms, crying out for money. He was a shocking picture of humanity, scarred by sin.

The Bible uses many different metaphors to picture the fallen condition of the human race: dead in our sins (Eph 2:1); blinded by the god of this world (2Co 4:4); ignorant and unable to understand spiritual truth (1Co 2:8, 1Co 2:14); deceived and deluded (2Th 2:10-11); deaf and dumb (Mk 7:32-37); leprous (Mk 1:40-42); and, lame (Mk 4:1-12).

B. There is nothing that spiritually lame people can do to heal their spiritual condition.

There were no operations available that could cure his congenital condition. No physical therapy or efforts at self-improvement could help him. He had no hope that he could ever walk. And so he did the best he could to get by—he begged for money.

The Bible teaches that as sinners, there is nothing that we can do to heal our alienation from the holy God. We can embark on a program of self-improvement. We can give away all of our money and possessions to feed the poor. We can enter a monastery where we spend hours every day in prayer and fasting, denying ourselves the normal pleasures of life. We can devote ourselves to a life of selfless service, as Mother Teresa did. At the end of all our efforts, we are not one fraction of an inch closer to God, because we have not eradicated the sin that we inherited from Adam. The Bible says that “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isa 64:6) in God’s holy presence. Presenting our good deeds to God only reveals the depth of our pride.

This attempt to save ourselves is probably the biggest barrier that keeps people away from God’s salvation. Except for biblical Christianity, it is an essential part of every religion, including Roman Catholicism, which teaches that we must add our works to what Christ has done in order to be saved. But the Bible plainly states, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

C. God heals the spiritually lame by His mighty power, as His free gift, apart from our merit or works.

The power for healing this man came from “the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene” (Ac 3:6). Peter attaches the despised name, “Nazarene,” both to show that God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1Co 1:27), and to emphasize that it was the man Jesus from this village of Nazareth who is still living, who imparted from heaven the power to heal this cripple.

Sometimes in the Gospels and in Acts, a person was healed because he had the faith to be healed. But in many instances, the person was healed as an act of sovereign grace, without any indication of faith on his part. Here, there is no indication that the man had faith in Jesus to be healed. In Ac 3:16, Peter explains to the crowd that it was on the basis of faith in the name of Jesus that this man was healed, but Peter seems to be referring to his own faith, not to the man’s faith. The man was not expecting a healing; he was only expecting a handout (Ac 3:5). Peter also makes it clear that the faith that he exercised “comes through [Jesus].” In other words, Jesus gave Peter the faith to believe that He would heal this lame man. Peter simply responded to the prompting of the Lord.

The healed man knew where his healing had come from. He didn’t shout praises to Peter and John. He didn’t praise his own mental attitude, saying, “I knew that if I kept a positive mental attitude, someday I’d be healed!” He didn’t boast in his great faith as the cause of his healing. No, he simply praised God. God and God alone, by His great mercy, was the cause of his cure.

When God mercifully saves your soul, He doesn’t do it because of anything that He sees in you. He doesn’t do it in cooperation with your best efforts. He doesn’t see great potential lurking beneath the surface of your life and save you because He knows that you’ll make a great disciple. He doesn’t see that you really mean well, in spite of your many mistakes, and save you because of your basically good intentions. He doesn’t see great faith and save you because He knows that you will be a model believer. He saves you because of one reason: His undeserved favor. It is totally by His power and grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph 2:8-9). All the praise must go to God.

D. When God saves our soul, He always gives us far more than we expect.

This lame man was not expecting a miracle. He only wanted a handout to get him through another day. Isn’t that a picture of so many who come to God? They are overwhelmed by life’s problems. Perhaps their family life is a mess or they’ve failed in business or they have a life-threatening illness. They come to God just hoping for a handout, something to get them through another day.

But in His great mercy, God imparts to them the miracle of regeneration. They are born again to a living hope, and they obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for them (1Pe 1:3-4)! They just wanted a little handout, but they become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ of all the riches that God can bestow (Ro 8:17)! As Paul exclaims, God is “able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph 3:20). All that we can say is, “To Him be the glory!”

2. God’s salvation should cause those who have received it personally to praise Him with exuberant joy.

I love the description of this man, “Walking and leaping and praising God” (Ac 3:8). I realize that he didn’t leap down the street for the rest of his life. But I’ll bet that he often thought as he walked somewhere, “Praise God for His abundant mercy in healing me!” He often felt the joy of what God had done welling up within him. George Morrison observes,

It takes a little time to find one’s feet after a great experience like that. Give the man ten or twenty years of city life, and he will walk as sedately as any other citizen. First they shall mount up with wings as eagles, says the prophet; then they shall run (as children always do); and then, when time and experience have wrought their sobering work, they shall walk and (thank God) shall not faint. Do not object to preliminary leaping. Do not be hard on a little wild enthusiasm in the man who has really been healed by Christ. Time will convert that spiritual electricity into a driving and illuminating power. Emotion will be translated by the years into the strength of action and of character (Morrison on Acts [AMG Publishers], p. 34, italics his).

We see in this man three reasons why salvation fills us with exuberant joy:

A. Salvation fills us with exuberant joy because it is received unexpectedly.

God takes us by surprise. This man’s friends had been bringing him to the temple for years. He had been lying there when Jesus taught in the temple precincts, but for some reason Jesus had not healed him. No doubt Peter and John had walked by him on previous occasions, since they were still in the habit of going up to the temple to pray at the set hours for Jewish worship. But it had not been God’s timing. Even this day, Peter and John didn’t set out for the temple and say, “Let’s see if we can find someone to heal.” They would have passed the man by, except that on this day, the Lord sovereignly acted. The man caught Peter and John’s attention. The Lord prompted Peter’s heart that He would heal this man for His glory. Peter stopped and the man’s life was forever changed.

If we could go around the room and share testimonies, many of you would tell of how you did not see salvation coming until it hit you blindside. You were going through another day, trying to cope with your problems and scrape by, when by God’s providence, you heard the gospel. Maybe you had heard it many times before, but this time it was different. This time God took you by surprise. He moved into your life with His power and you were changed inside. You’ve never been the same. With the psalmist, you can exclaim,

When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful shouting; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad (Ps 126:1-3).

B. Salvation fills us with exuberant joy because it is received instantly.

This man was healed instantly. Peter grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet and before he was upright, the strength pulsed through his feet and ankles. He didn’t have to go slow until he built up his weak leg muscles. He didn’t have to go for months of physical therapy to learn how to walk (remember, he had never walked before!). He not only could walk, he could leap, and leap he did, over and over again! He was instantly healed.

That’s how God saves a soul—instantly. There is no process of being born again. You are born again in a moment of time, even if you do not remember that moment (as I do not). You could walk into this church service as a person enslaved to some of the worst sins imaginable, get saved, and walk out a new creature in Christ Jesus. The instant that God changes your heart, you are changed forever.

This is a major difference between the Bible’s teaching on salvation and the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. They teach that justification is a process in which we cooperate with God’s grace. But in this life, we can never be sure that we are justified because we can never be sure that we have done enough. Thus our relatives need to pray for our souls after death and give money to the church, so that we will be able to get out of Purgatory, where we need to suffer for our sins.

But Scripture declares that God instantly justifies the one who has faith in Jesus’ death on his behalf. As Paul explains in Ro 4:4-5, “Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.”

The one who has been justified by God’s grace through faith cannot go on living as he formerly did. He is changed within, so that he begins to pursue a life that pleases God. There is no going back to the old ways. This man would never go back to his friends and say, “Please carry me to my begging spot. I miss my old life.” They would say, “You don’t have any reason to beg now.” With his healing came new responsibilities. All he knew was how to beg for a living, but now he had to learn to work for his keep.

The healing of God’s salvation brings new responsibilities. We can no longer excuse our sins. We must face them and deal with them God’s way. But that new way of life can be traced back to the instant that God imparted new life to us in Christ by His sovereign grace. One minute we were congenital spiritual cripples; the next minute, we could walk and leap for joy. The pivotal change in our standing before God took place in an instant.

C. Salvation fills us with exuberant joy because it is received completely.

When God saves us, He gives us the whole package. Like a man who inherits a fortune from an unexpected source, it all becomes his at once. It may take him a lifetime to explore it and to enjoy the benefits of it. But he possesses it all at once.

In Eph 1:3, Paul tells us that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” 2 Pe 1:3 tells us that God’s “divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” It will take us all of this life and maybe all eternity to realize the abundant riches of God’s grace in Christ. But the point is, He poured it all on us at the moment of salvation. For this reason, we can now “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1Pe 1:8).

3. The exuberant joy of our salvation should provide an entrance for the gospel with others.

I love this man’s unrestrained expression of joy! Imagine, leaping in the sacred temple precincts! How improper! Can’t you see the disapproving frowns as he shouted, “Hallelujah! Praise God! Glory to His name!” “Hey, keep it down! You’re interrupting other people’s prayers!” But he would say, “Don’t you realize, I have never walked before this day, but God healed me! Praise His holy name!” He couldn’t keep it to himself!

The people who knew this man’s sad past were amazed. Their amazement didn’t get them saved, but it did open them to listen to Peter’s sermon that followed, and God used that sermon to save 2,000 more (Ac 4:4). People need to hear the content of the gospel message and repent of their sins to be saved, but a testimony of how God saved someone who was hopelessly lost can open their hearts to listen. If you have received God’s mercy in Jesus Christ, then you can and must tell others. Your joy that comes from being saved should provide openings to tell the good news, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.

Conclusion -

I used to have a friend, whom I’ve lost track of, named Glenn. He was saved while he was in Tehachapi Prison, doing five years to life for drug dealing. His godly mother was at home praying for her wayward son at the very moment that he wandered into the prison chapel and got saved. This man in Ac 3 reminds me of Glenn. He was totally exuberant and open about what God had done for him. If you were easily embarrassed, you would be uncomfortable knowing Glenn. He would walk into a crowded restaurant, see you across the room, and yell, “Praise the Lord, brother Steve!” Then, having everyone’s attention, he would hand out tracts at every table on his way across the restaurant, telling people, “God saved me while I was in prison. Here, read this. It will tell you how you can be saved.” He always used to say, “I’ve been forgiven much, so I love Jesus much.”

This story of the healing of the lame man should make each of us ask ourselves three questions: (1) Have I received God’s gift of healing for my soul through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? (2) If I have received Christ, does the joy in my life reflect what God has done for my soul? (3) Am I looking for opportunities to share the joy of new life in Christ with those around me who are spiritually crippled?

Steven Cole - Acts 3:1-10 The Exuberant Joy of God’s Salvation

Acts 3:9   And all the people saw him walking and praising God;

KJV  Acts 3:9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

  • Acts 14:11; Mk 2:11,12; Lk 13:17
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


F F Bruce comments that "It was marvelous enough, to be sure, but it was more than a marvel: it was a sign. For the two apostles had not cured him by any power of their own; it was when they invoked the Name and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that he sprang up and found his feet for the first time in his life...public confirmation of His authority to forgive sins as well as to heal the sick (Mk 2:10ff)...mark of the advent of the Messianic Age (Isa 35:6+). That which Jesus’ personal mighty works had signified was corroborated by this mighty work performed through His disciples: He was indeed Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36+)."

And all the people saw him walking and praising God - This was a visual and audible sign (as in Acts 2) of supernatural intervention. All the people would be the Jews and the Jewish proselytes who had gathered at the Temple for prayer. Luke had described in the previous chapter that "Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles." (Acts 2:43+)

Walking (peripateo) and praising (aineoGod - This is the second time these actions are mentioned. Both verbs are in the present tense. The focus of the healed man continues to be on God not the apostles. As Lenski says "Even after the restored cripple had come to the men’s court he continued walking around instead of standing still like the other men and kept calling out words of praise to God. Thus everybody saw him." (The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles)

This healed man has an attitude of gratitude. As Isaak Walton said "God has two dwellings: one in heaven and the other in a thankful heart."


DISCLAIMER - These thoughts are not meant to be exhaustive nor definitive!

This commentary will not take a dogmatic stance on miraculous signs and wonders as that would require a separate lengthy study. I am a medical doctor and I am convinced I have seen miracles performed by God in the lives of individual patients often in answer to prayers of believing friends and family. What I have never seen is an individual who had a gift to perform healing. So there is absolutely no doubt that God heals and that He can do so even in a manner we might refer to as miraculous. The fact is that every physical healing that occurs is a reflection of God's provision and power to bring about healing. He has sovereignly allowed man to discover various medicines, techniques and procedures which facilitate healing. My approach is that of James in chapter 1 and of Paul in Romans 11

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures (REGENERATION OF SOULS DEAD IN SIN IS OF COURSE THE GREATEST MIRACLE OF ALL!). (James 1:17-18)

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are ALL THINGS (EVERY CURE FROM CANCER, EVERY CURE FROM A SERIOUS ILLNESS, ETC). To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11: 33-36)

God Alone is worthy of the title "THE GREAT PHYSICIAN" and according to His good and acceptable and perfect will (Ro 12:2), He heals some and allows others to remain in their afflicted condition, but He is good in both situations and He causes both to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Ro 8:28). 

A godly woman of yesteryear named Hannah put the topic of divine healing in perfect perspective testifying under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit

The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up (THE MIRACLE OF RESURRECTION!).  7 “The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.  8 “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, And He set the world on them.  9 “He keeps the feet of His godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail.  (1 Sa 2:6-9)

William Larkin asks "Should we expect such miracles today? True, the apostles are no longer with us, and miracles seemed to cluster around them; even in the first century, miraculous signs were not everyday occurrences. But Jesus still is present by his Spirit in the church. So we should not be surprised if we hear reports of miracles, especially where an atmosphere of pervasive unbelief or false religion calls for a "power encounter." But a healing miracle in the New Testament sense must have the following marks: (1) It must be an instantaneous and complete deliverance from a grave organic condition. (2) It must occur in response to a direct command in the name of Jesus, and (3) it must be publicly acknowledged as indisputable (Stott 1990:103)." (ED: I WOULD SUGGEST THAT IT MUST DRAW ATTENTION TO JESUS CHRIST, GLORIFYING HIM AND NOT A MAN) (IVP Commentary)

Kistemaker - Throughout the history of the church, the gift of healing the sick has never been absent. The names of Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, and John Wesley, not to mention the names of modern-day Christians, stand out in relation to a healing ministry. Among the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of healing (1 Cor. 12:9, 28). Paul, however, pointedly and rhetorically asks, “Do all have gifts of healing?” (1 Cor. 12:30, NIV). Paul himself performed healing miracles during his missionary tours, but he gives no indication that he healed Epaphroditus, who was so ill that he almost died (Phil. 2:27). Paul openly admits that he “left Trophimus sick in Miletus” (2 Tim. 4:20). And Paul himself had to contend with a thorn in the flesh which God did not remove (2 Cor. 12:7–9). In short, Paul was not able to use his gift of healing whenever he pleased and wherever he was. James instructs us to call on the elders of the church when we are ill. These elders should pray and anoint with oil in the name of the Lord (5:14). He emphasizes that “prayer offered in faith will heal the sick person” (Acts 3:15), for faith and prayer are requisites to which the Lord responds. Sometimes healing miracles do not occur, especially when God wants to strengthen our faith to his glory. As Scripture teaches, God answers prayer at his time and in his own way. He said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). (Baker NT Commentary - Acts)

Gotquestions defines cessationism as follows - Cessationism is the view that the “miracle gifts” of tongues and healing have ceased—that the end of the apostolic age brought about a cessation of the miracles associated with that age. Most cessationists believe that, while God can and still does perform miracles today, the Holy Spirit no longer uses individuals to perform miraculous signs. The biblical record shows that miracles occurred during particular periods for the specific purpose of authenticating a new message from God. Moses was enabled to perform miracles to authenticate his ministry before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:1-8). Elijah was given miracles to authenticate his ministry before Ahab (1 Kings 17:1; 18:24). The apostles were given miracles to authenticate their ministry before Israel (Acts 4:10, 16).

Below are a few resources that relate directly or indirectly to divine healing, but I strongly advise and encourage you to take a strictly Berean approach (Acts 17:11+) as you study this topic for yourself. There is no question that Satan is a counterfeiter and that the demonic world can perform miracles (but only when God allows them to do so) and so one should never base his or her opinion on the "end product," (healing from some malady, cure from some disease, etc), but on what the Bible clearly teaches as you read it (confessed up and repented up so to speak) enabled by your Guide the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:17, 15:26, 16:13).

James F. Stitzinger - False teachings about healing have taken various forms but almost always contain a mixture of truth and error. Half-truths about divine healing fuel the injurious errors of our day. Let me alert you to some of these more frequent half truths so that you can be prepared to reject them.

  1. Because God wills that Christians enjoy His blessings, sickness shows that you are out of His will.
  2. Sin is the root cause of sickness; therefore you must resist sickness as you would sin.
  3. Since Christ died for your sickness and your sin, you can be freed from both.
  4. If you had enough faith, you would be healed.
  5. What you confess is what you possess; so talk sickness and you will get sick; talk health and you will get well.
  6. All adversity comes from Satan; so sickness, like Satan, should be rebuked.
  7. If you only knew the secret fact of God’s healing power, you could be healed.
  8. Since Christ and the apostles healed in their day, Christians can heal today.
  9. Since sickness is from Satan, nothing good can come from sickness.
  10. Since God wants you well, never pray, “Thy will be done” in regard to healing.
  11. Since sin is the cause of sickness, if you are sick, then you have a pattern of sin in your life.
  12. God has healed you, but the devil is not letting the symptoms leave (SPIRITUAL GIFTS: DEFINITIONS AND KINDS - 34 page article on spiritual gifts)

Here is a very interesting summary from Society of International Missions (SIM) paper entitled Power Encounters (it is worth reading)...

In short, we accept the miraculous in ministry where:

1. It is in harmony with the Word of God.

2. It brings glory to the Lord Jesus and not to an individual.

3. It calls attention to the gospel and not to a person.

4. It does not impinge on the sovereignty of God.

5. It is subject to the judgment of others.

6. It does not pursue or overemphasize in a manner which could threaten the unity of our Mission.

ILLUSTRATION - A peasant named Hueleo in Elsareo, Mexico, had a serious foot injury and was taken to the hospital. The doctors told him that it looked bad and they would give it a few days but expected to have to amputate it. This would mean he would have no way to farm, and thus no way to support his family except by begging. He became very despondent. His father-in-law gave him a Bible to read for encouragement. They were Catholic but there was no priest in their small town. Hueleo read the Bible and was moved by the miracles and teachings of Jesus. He prayed to Jesus for salvation and in a few days was able to walk out of the hospital. He visited a local Baptist church and made a public profession of his faith and was baptized. His whole family soon came to know the Lord and their neighbors made threats against him. The family persevered and in the next decade more than 70 converts from their witness gathered in gathered into a congregation. (From David Holwick)

Acts 3:10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

KJV  Acts 3:10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

  • they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms  Acts 3:2; 4:14-16,21,22; John 9:3,18-21
  • they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him  Acts 2:7,12; Luke 4:36; 9:43; John 5:20
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms - The Jews were doing some "spiritual stenography" if you will! In other words the identity of the man did not escape their attention. He had been sitting lame year after year in the same spot, so that it is likely everyone was familiar with his chronic crippled state. 

Taking note (ESV, NET = "recognized") (1921)(epiginosko) means to learn something by experience. BDAG adds that epiginosko means "to connect present information or awareness with what was known before."  Epiginosko is in the imperfect tense signifying that those in the Jewish crowd were recognizing over and over or again and again that this was the man who previously had been lame. As A T Robertson says they "began to perceive." (see Lenski's comment below)

Lenski  explains that "For a man to act thus  (WALKING AND PRAISING GOD) was unusual, yet in itself such conduct would not have attracted so much attention. People would only have wondered as to what made him act in this way. By means of the iterative imperfect Luke tells us that, as he thus moved about, group after group recognized him (imperfect tense = over and over, again and again) as the very man they had so often seen “sitting for the alms,” the article to indicate the alms they had given him from time to time at the Gate Beautiful. They had not seen him sitting thus with his deformed feet and ankles this afternoon—here he was among them, walking around and praising God." (Ibid)

Kent is probably correct that (under the inspiration of the Spirit) "Luke picked this miracle because it produced the first conflict between the church and outsiders. Until this time the church had been enjoying the favor of all the people (Acts 2:24+)."

And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him NET Note comments that "Amazement is a frequent response to miracles of Jesus or the apostles. These took the ancients by as much surprise as they would people today. But in terms of response to what God is doing, amazement does not equal faith (Luke 4:36; 5:9, 26; 7:16)."

Filled with (4092)(pimplemi) figuratively describes someone filled with something with the result that what fills them wholly affects them or controls them. Pimplemi is the same verb used in Acts 2:4+ which describes all the disciples as "filled with the Holy Spirit" Who controlled them and gave them the ability to speak in different recognizable languages.

Wonder (2285)(thambos) describes an emotion in which awe and fear are mingled (astonishment, amazement from admiration). Louw-Nida says thambos is "a state of astonishment due to both the suddenness and the unusualness of the phenomenon and with either a positive or a negative reaction—‘astonishment, alarm."

Amazement (1611)(ekstasis [English - ecstasy] from existemi = be out of one's sense) means literally being put out of place and thus the picture of a man removed out of his senses, in an abnormal state of mind, a state which would include a mixture of distraction, terror, amazement (as in the use in Mk 5.42). 

Lenski gives us a good description of what the Jewish crowd looked like - Luke uses two nouns to convey the effect; both are strong: thambos, “wonder” that came with a shock, and ekstasis, “amazement” that throws the mind off its balance. They stared uncomprehendingly at the change that had come over the man.(Ibid) They would have been staring "uncomprehendingly" because they recognized this as the lame man and could not fathom how he was now able to walk among them. God was "preparing the pulpit" (so to speak) for Peter to speak, much as He had prepared the people for Peter's message (Acts 2:12, 16ff) with what they both saw and heard (Acts 2:33b). 

Warren Wiersbe - It is easy to see in this man an illustration of what salvation is like. He was born lame, and all of us are born unable to walk so as to please God. Our father Adam had a fall and passed his lameness on to all of his descendants (Rom. 5:12-21). The man was also poor, and we as sinners are bankrupt before God, unable to pay the tremendous debt that we owe Him (Luke 7:36-50). He was "outside the temple," and all sinners are separated from God, no matter how near to the door they might be. The man was healed wholly by the grace of God, and the healing was immediate (Eph. 2:8-9). He gave evidence of what God had done by "walking, and leaping, and praising God" (Acts 3:8) and by publicly identifying himself with the Apostles, both in the temple (Acts 3:11) and in their arrest (Acts 4:14). Now that he could stand, there was no question where this man stood! (Borrow Be Dynamic).

CHANGED! - As they watched the beggar, the people could see an obvious change in his life. Before, he had been lame; now he was walking. The difference was amazing. Though we may not be the recipients of a physical miracle of healing, God can change us emotionally and psychologically. These kinds of internal changes are just as miraculous as external healings and can fill others with "wonder and amazement." In what ways has God changed you? Can others see the changes? Praise God for all he has done in your life. (Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts)

Acts 3:11 While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement.

KJV Acts 3:11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.

  • While he was clinging to Peter and John Luke 8:38
  • all the people ran together to them Acts 2:6
  • at the so-called portico of Solomon Acts 5:12; John 10:23
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Portico of Solomon

See this excellent depiction of the Temple plan - note the right side of the picture faces East and that is the location of Solomon's Portico on the diagram. The replica above of the Portico of Solomon shows the inner structure that would have faced toward the main Temple building. It consisted of a set of magnificent pillars supporting a roof and open on the inner side facing the center of the temple complex. The Portico was on the east side of the Court of the Gentiles and extended along the entire eastern wall of the Temple forming a covered walkway which was a place of commerce and conversation. (Described by Josephus, Ant. 15.11.3–5, 20.9.7)

Notice in the diagram of the Temple the location of the Court of the Women (marking the closest point women were allowed).  Although Luke does not specifically describe what happened, logically after prayer the Jews would have come out of the men's court and passed through the Court of the Women and then toward the Eastern side to the Portico of Solomon. And today because of the man leaping and praising God prayers may have been curtailed. 

As an aside, it is notable that Jesus had also once taught in the Portico of Solomon (Jn 10:22, 23, 24-29) but with a dramatically different result than Peter experienced. When Jesus taught that He and the Father were One (Jn 10:30), "The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him." (Jn 10:31) How blind their religion was, for here was God Himself standing in the Temple complex which had been constructed to worship God, but in their spiritual blindness and hardness of heart the Jews sought to kill Him! Clearly, the Spirit had opened the eyes of many of Peter's listeners in the Portico of Solomon (some of whom may have formerly picked up a stone!), to now see that the one the Jews once sought to stone, was in fact the resurrected Messiah and God! 

Life Application Bible Commentary - The reference to this site would remind the Jews of the golden days of Israel's history, making the healing here all the more poignant.

While he was clinging to Peter and John - The first word in the sentence is clinging to emphasize this action. Clinging is krateo which means to take hold of forcibly with power (cf Mt 12:11) and is in the present tense indicating he was "sticking like glue" to the two apostles. Peter and John don't seem to mind as this man in a sense is like a walking "advertisement" testifying to the power of Jesus Christ Who had healed him.

All the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon - Note that the crowd did not just walk but ran, such was their state of amazement at this lame man who they all knew and who was now walking as if he had never been lame! One pictures the trio surrounded by the surging crowd. As Acts 3:12 implies, the crowd focused their attention on Peter and John as the ones responsible for this miracle, but Peter would soon correct their focus from horizontal to vertical (so to speak)! 

Full of amazement  is ekthambos (ek = out or intensifier + thambos  = astonishment) means the crowd was greatly astonished, amazed, even "dumbfounded!" The ESV picks up the sense of ekthambos translating it as "utterly astounded." They were already filled with thambos  (wonder) in Acts 3:10, but this is an even heightened state of wonder or amazement. The crowd and seen this man by the beautiful gate for years and knew hen had been truly healed, so there was no question this was a miracle and they were awestruck.

Warren Wiersbe reiterates an important point that "Miracles by themselves do not produce either conviction or faith. They must be accompanied by the Word  (ED: WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT PETER IS GOING TO PRESENT TO THEM IN vv12-26). (cf Acts 14:3). (Be Daring).

Spurgeon on the healed man clinging to Peter and John - You are not at all surprised that he held Peter and John; it was but natural that he should follow them wherever they went, for he owed so much to them, and they were the best friends that he had ever had. He was filled with reverence for them because of what they had wrought upon him; and now, lest they should go away, he held them; and “all the people ran together unto them, greatly wondering.” He who was healed by Christ’s wonderful Name was wondering, and the people who saw him healed were all wondering. I suppose that wonder mingles with all true worship. All wonder is not worship; but where there is adoration of God, and a sense of his great goodness and of our unworthiness, there seems always to be a large amount of wonder. We shall even-

“Sing with wonder and surprise, 
His lovingkindness in the skies.”

William Arnot on Acts 3:12-13 THE USE OF MIRACLES - THE healing of the lame beggar at the gate Beautiful, as narrated in Acts 3:1-11, needs no comment. There the picture stands, full-bodied as in the stereoscope. Our business, like Peter's, lies mainly, not with the fact, but with the use to which the fact was applied in the progress of Christ's kingdom. 

These Galileans were not alone. The words of the Lord "Lo, I am with you always" (ED: THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WAS NOW IN THEM!) (Mt 28:20) were still sounding in their ears. The Master puts forth the power, and they yield themselves as his instruments. This is the footing on which the work proceeds. Here, in the ministry of the apostles, as also in His own, the Lord employs power to cleave a path for grace. When the mountains close in and block the way, a miracle will rend them, that the Word may burst the barriers and spread through the land.

Those who refuse to believe in anything supernatural do not gain much at this point. They only shift the difficulty from one spot to another. The fact remains patent to the whole world and undeniable, that in the hands of these Jewish missionaries the religion of Christ, with its self-denying doctrines, made way against the culture of Greece and the might of Rome, -- made way until it obtained supremacy. This fact, if it is not based on miracles, is itself a miracle greater than all.

The effect of this cure upon the public was a great and general amazement. Now was Peter's opportunity and he improved it with promptitude and skill. The Master in calling him had promised to make him a fisher of men (Mt 4:19) and here the tact and energy of the fisher appear. He knew the favorable juncture. When Peter plied his trade on the lake of Galilee, he did not think it enough that he spread his net and drew it, in the approved fashion, so many times every day. His business was, not to spread his net in an unexceptionable manner -- in the very manner that all the ablest fishermen in those parts had uniformly followed -- his business was to catch fish and toward that end he bent all the energy, not only of his stalwart arm, but also of his inventive mind (ED: AND FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, THE MIND OF CHRIST). Peter would fish as his forefathers had fished, if their method seemed  to him best; but he would fish as nobody had ever fished before, if he saw that by a new method he could obtain greater success.

So, now that he has become a preacher of the gospel, Peter is not content with delivering, at the proper time, an evangelical sermon. He does not think of the sermon or the preacher. He thinks of men in their need, and of God's grace in their offer now. He rushes in, and strikes home, to win souls. He waits and watches till he sees the multitude moved and susceptible. As soon as he perceives some movement on the gathered waters (ED: USING THE FIGURE OF A FISHERMAN), he follows quickly the angel's steps, lest his opportunity (SEE KAIROS) should slip away (cf Eph 5:16NLT+).

The commotion took the form of a reverential regard directed upon the apostles personally. The wonder that the people had witnessed drew their eyes (ED: IN ACTS 3:12 Gaze atenizo) to the immediate instruments (ED: PETER AND JOHN) . At that moment the apostles, taught by the Spirit, recognized accurately and promptly the precise place and use of mighty works in their ministry. Such works could not convert the people, but such works then held an important place among the means of conversion. The miracles broke up the hard ground, and these faithful watchers were ready to run in and cast the living seed into the open furrow. From this timely sowing a great harvest sprang.

Peter, as usual, is spokesman. I think the modest and meditative John would not take a prominent public place when Peter was present. Whatever he may have contributed by private suggestion, he left public work to his more forward and more fiery colleague.

Mark how skillfully the speaker begins. It is no longer the affectionate blunder, ''Far be this from thee, Lord;" it is no longer the cowardly falsehood, ''I know not the man.'' He has now obtained both wisdom and strength.  By this time the Holy Ghost had come upon him, and he had ''received power" (Acts 1:8+) to be a witness of Christ. He has courage to confess his Master now and skill to arrange his argument aright.

In presence of the healed cripple the people were overawed; and their veneration, after quivering awhile uncertain, like a ship's compass in a broken sea, began to settle down steadily upon Peter and John as the authors of the miracle and the objects of praise. Observing the current flowing in a devotion which would soon have developed itself into idolatry, Peter ran in, and seized it, and bent it aside from the servants that it might flow full upon the Lord.

"And when Peter saw it, he answered and said unto the people. Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus,'' &c.

The servants, when they saw worship springing up in human hearts, hastily retired, and presented Jesus alone to receive it. It is eminently instructive to compare and contrast with this the conduct of the Lord Himself in similar circumstances. When he had read the prophecy in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-22+), and all eyes were turned in eager expectation toward Him, He did not intercept the stream, or divert it into another channel. He accepted it in full. He closed the book and removed it; then He presented Himself to the people as the fulfillment of the prophecy, and the expected Messiah (Lk 4:20). The absolute contrast between His method and that of the apostles in such a case is peculiarly valuable, as showing incidentally the Divinity of Christ.

In the mean time, Peter's fidelity affords a fine lesson both to preachers and hearers of the gospel in all times. Through the ministers, if possible, as earthen vessels, let the word of life come; but let the ministers present, and the people receive, only the Lord Himself as the Bread of life.

(ILLUSTRATION) It is said that when Leonardo da Vinci had finished his celebrated picture of the Last Supper, which still stands on the wall of a convent in the city of Milan, he introduced a friend to inspect the work privately, and give his judgment regarding it. "Exquisite!" exclaimed his friend; "that wine-cup seems to stand out from the table as solid glittering silver." Thereupon the artist quietly took a brush and blotted out the cup, saying: "I meant that the figure of Christ should first and mainly attract the observer's eye, and whatever diverts attention from him must be blotted out.Here is a devotion which, in a more enlightened age, we should do well to imitate. It is an aim of the ministry to get listless people aroused and interested. It is a great point gained when a multitude are gathered together round the preachers in Solomon's porch, greatly wondering at the word or the work of the Lord. But woe to the preacher who lacks the wisdom or the will to lead the aroused and interested listeners at such a crisis direct to Christ. (The Use of Miracles)

Acts 3:12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, "Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?

KJV  Acts 3:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

  • Men of Israel Acts 2:22; 13:26; Ro 9:4; 11:1
  • or why do you gaze at us Acts 10:25,26; 14:11-15; Ge 40:8; 41:16; Daniel 2:28-30; John 3:27,28; 7:18
  • as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk 2 Corinthians 3:5
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


When you are filled with the Spirit, your "spiritual radar" is better "equipped" to recognize a "divine moment," an opportunity given by God to join Him in what He is doing (See resource below). How often do we miss divine opportunities because we are controlled by self and not controlled and guided by the Spirit of Jesus! (A rhetorical question). 

Related Resource:

  • God Invites You to Become Involved with Him in His Work - 11 page study based on Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God (Personal Testimony - The full study of Experiencing God had a major impact on my spiritual life and ministry, but the concept of "joining in" where God is working was life changing!) As J Hudson Taylor testified "God said to me, "I am going to evangelize China, and if you will walk with me, I will do it through you." What will God do through your life, if you walk with Him? See Ephesians 3:20+ for the answer!

Wiersbe - As we study this section, we should note that the Jewish emphasis is very pronounced. Peter addressed Jewish men (Acts 3:12) and called them "children of the prophets and of the covenant" (Acts 3:25). He referred to the Jewish fathers (Acts 3:13) as well as to the prophets (Acts 3:18, 21-25). The phrase "times of restitution" (Acts 3:21) is definitely Jewish and refers to the messianic kingdom promised in the prophets. The message is still going out "to the Jew first" (Acts 3:26) and is presented in Jewish terms. (Borrow Be Dynamic).

Matthew Henry on Peter in Solomon's Portico - let them come and hear a more excellent wisdom than Solomon's, for, behold, a greater than Solomon is here preached.

But when Peter saw this - Saw what? He saw the amazed crowd surrounding himself, John and the healed man. Luke does not say what the crowd was saying but undoubtedly they wanted to know what had caused such a miracle. Either they asked verbally or asked visually, i.e., by their quizzical, perplexed facial expressions! Thus much like in Acts 2:12 (where the perplexed crowd asked "What does this mean?"), the supernatural sign prepared the stage for a supernatural sermon!

Notice the providential hand of God working behind the scenes He is behind, (1) timing the miracle at just the right time when there would have been a large crowd for the afternoon time of prayer, (2) leading Peter to fix his gaze on a beggar he had doubtless passed many times before, (3) bringing about a visual and audible miracle that would have been obvious to all (they all had seen this lame man Sabbath after Sabbath, prayer time after prayer time, but today they see him leaping and hear him praising God), and (4) then drawing the crowd around Peter and John and the healed man who was clinging to them (if he had been off in some other part of the huge Temple grounds [several football fields in size] the crowd would have been drawn to him and not to Peter and John). And so in orchestrating these events, God had created the "perfect storm." (5) Finally, Peter controlled by the Spirit, sensed the time was now ripe to preach Jesus to the crowd.

Oh, to have eyes and ears and most of all a heart surrendered and filled with the Spirit as was Peter, that we might not miss the divine appointments the Father has prepared in every believer's life. In Jesus' Name. Amen. Our "perfect storms" may not be preaching to thousands as with Peter, but when they are "storms" in God's good and acceptable and perfect will, they are just as pleasing to the Father and the reward in heaven will be commensurate (cf Ps 19:11, Lk 6:38+)! Tempus FugitCarpe DiemCoram Deo!

Wiersbe - In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter had to refute the accusation that the believers were drunk. In this sermon, he had to refute the notion that he and John had healed the man by their own power.  (Borrow Be Dynamic).

He replied to the people - Peter detected either by what they said or their actions that the crowd was focusing on he and John as the "miracle workers" and so he quickly corrected their focus to God and specifically to Jesus the true "Miracle Worker." This is a good pattern for all believers when we receive praise or commendation for something we have done in ministry. It is so tempting to take a small percent of the credit (just being honest!)

The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, And each is tested (Lxx uses dokimion and dokimazo = testing something for genuineness! Remember this next time you are praised!) by the praise accorded him.  (Pr 27:21)

The verb replied (apokrinomai) is used in situations that require an explanation, and Peter sensed this miracle was such a case. And what an explanation he proceeds to give his Jewish audience!

MacArthur adds that "Replied is apokrinomai, a word often used to mark the beginning of a discourse (cf. Mt. 11:25; 12:38; 17:4; 22:1; Mk 10:24; 11:14; 14:48; Lk 14:3; Jn 5:19; Acts 10:46). It does not necessarily refer to answering a question. Whether the crowd asked Peter questions is unknown, but their confusion and desire for an explanation of the miracle were obvious. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Men of Israel (same phrase in Acts 2:22+) - This was the most courteous way one could address the Jewish people and it emphasizes the close covenantal relationship Peter and John had with their ethnic brethren. 

Remember they are in the Temple grounds and are surrounded by Jews who had come to pray. And since Peter is speaking to Jewish men who would be familiar with the Old Testament, he proceeds to use language that they could readily understand, specifically using phrases that spoke of the Messiah.

When you share the Gospel, do you seek to share it in a way that the other person can comprehend? Too often we use "Christian lingo," using terms ("born again," "righteousness," etc)  which are foreign to many who are unchurched.

G Campbell Morgan on men of Israel ...the  God  of Abraham, of Isaac, and Jacob." - If he had  only said, "the God of Abraham," Ishmaelites might have claimed inclusion in that description. If he had said, " The God of Abraham and Isaac," Edomites might have come within that description. He narrowed down the com pany to whom he spoke when he said, "The God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob." Jacob became Israel, and he spoke to them as men of Israel, men who stood in fleshly and covenant relationship to Jacob, and to him as Israel, the man ruled by God. He thus reminded them of their past history. They were men of  the covenant, of the Scriptures, and of the prophets. (Acts of the Apostles - 1924)

Marvin Vincent on men of Israel - Literally, men, Israelites. An honorable and conciliatory form of address. The term Israelite gradually gave place to that of Jew; but Israel was the sacred name for the Jews, as the nation of the theocracy, the people under God's covenant, and hence was for the Jew his special badge and title of honor. "To be descendants of Abraham, this honor they must share with the Ishmaelites; of Abraham and Isaac, with the Edomites; but none except themselves were the seed of Jacob, such as in this name of Israelite they were declared to be. Nor was this all, but more gloriously still, their descent was herein traced up to him, not as he was Jacob, but as he was Israel, who, as a prince, had power with God and with men, and had prevailed (ED: Israel means "May God prevail")" (Trench, "Synonyms"). So Paul, in enumerating to the Philippians his claims to have confidence in the flesh, says he was "of the stock of Israel." (Php 3:5+) It is said that the modern Jews in the East still delight in this title. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Why are you amazed at this - Amazed is thaumazo (present tense - continually) which means they were continually wondering, marveling, being struck with astonishment. Peter does not want their amazement to stop with this miracle but now seeks lift their thoughts to understand the One who performed the miracle. It is surprising that they were so amazed at the miraculous healing, for Jesus had performed many similar miracles even in His last week of life (cf Mt 21:14)! They may be amazed because He is gone and yet here they see a similar miracle. What could this mean?

Why do you gaze at us - Gaze is atenizo the same verb that described Peter and John fixing their gaze intently on the lame man (Acts 3:4+) and in the present tense pictures the crowd as continually staring intently at Peter and John. One can imagine this scene.

Kenneth Gangel rightly said, “All effective ministries begins with self-denial” (Holman NT Commentary - Acts)

MacArthur - The crowd's dilemma was that while they acknowledged God alone as having the power to do miracles, they had denied that Jesus was God, and that His followers had divine power granted by God. So they were left with no explanation for what they had just seen. Peter directs attention away from himself and John to Jesus Christ. He makes clear that it was His power that effected the healing (Acts 3:6). (Ibid)

As if by our own power (dunamis) or piety (eusebeia) we had made (poieo) him walk - The association of power and piety (KJV - holiness) reflected the general belief that it took a holy power to do miracles. Recall the words of Nicodemus to Jesus declaring "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs (MIRACLES) that You do unless God is with him." (Jn 3:2)

The Jewish crowd was amazed because they knew these two were from Galilee, just a couple of fishermen. Nevertheless, they clearly assumed Peter and John were the source of the miracle producing power. Peter explains that normal men did not possess that kind of power. So Peter deflects their adulation and wonder, saying in essence "We are not the source of power for this miracle!" Furthermore, they were allowed to do the miracle not because of their piety or holiness.

John Phillips - In one slashing statement Peter demolished all the claims of so-called "holy men," the idea of trusting in "saints" to work miracles, the notion that people can accumulate merit and from the treasury of their goodness can work miracles for others. Peter directed everyone's attention to Christ. Indeed, in this short sermon, he made ten direct references to Christ. All attention was turned away from the lame man and from the apostles to Jesus. Peter was not going to elevate himself. He was going to lift up the Lord Jesus. It was not his supposed goodness that was at issue. It was their fearful guilt. (Exploring Acts)

As Matthew Henry says this miracle was not "done by any merit of their own; the power which Christ gave them to do it they had not deserved: it was not by their own holiness; for, as they were weak things, so they were foolish things, that Christ chose to employ (1 Cor 1:27, 28, 29). Peter was a sinful man. What holiness had Judas? Yet he wrought miracles in Christ's name. What holiness any of them had it was wrought in them, and they could not pretend to merit by it....It was the praise of Peter and John that they would not take the honour of this miracle to themselves, but carefully transmitted it to Christ. Useful men must see to it that they be very humble. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give glory (Ps 115:1). Every crown must be cast at the feet of Christ (Rev 4:10); not I, but the grace of God with me (1 Cor 15:10)."

Peter's response is the response which every believer should seek to give to those who applaud them for teaching or preaching or serving, etc. Paul's words should be emblazoned across our heart and mind...

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider ANYTHING as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:5-6+)

Steven Cole - Peter begins his sermon by deflecting the glory for the miracle away from John and him, as if they had either the power or piety to make a lame man walk (3:12). If God uses us to bring physical healing to another person or to lead that person to saving faith in Christ, it is not because of anything in us. We are just the clay vessels that the Potter uses for His own purposes. To take any credit for anything that God does through us is to rob Him of the glory rightly due to His name. As Paul tells the proud Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:7), “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” If someone praises you for something that you have done, there is nothing wrong with saying, “Thank you.” The person means it as an encouragement, and it is proper to thank them for their kind words. But if they go on and on, or if there is any danger that you are robbing God of glory, you should say, “Thank you for your encouragement, but the Lord should get all the glory. He alone enabled me to minister to you.”

We see a similar response by Paul and Barnabas at Lystra when men attempted to worship them...

At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” 12 And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. (Acts 14:8-15).

J Vernon McGee comments - Paul and Barnabas had the gifts of an apostle, the sign gifts. They came into these places without any New Testament with the message of the gospel. What were their credentials? How could they prove their message was from God? The sign gifts were their credentials-they needed them. Today we have the entire Bible, and what people need today is to study this Bible and to learn what it has to say [cf. Acts 17:11]

As an aside the reason Peter adds piety to power is because of the common belief of the Jews that these two virtues were related as explained by the man healed of blindness who declared “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him." (Jn 9:31)

In sum, Peter denies that he and John are the source of the power to heal the man and that they were not given this power as a reward for their piety or godliness. Peter is preparing them for the "punch line," the real Source of miracle working power!

Spurgeon - You remember, dear friends, how Peter denied his Lord in the time of his trial. Now notice what a change was wrought in him after the Holy Spirit had fallen upon him on the day of Pentecost. Peter could well see that the people attributed to himself and John more than was right, so he thus had an opportunity of preaching the gospel to them, and you may be certain that he did not miss it.

Acts 3:13 "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Servant Jesus, the One Whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.

KJV  Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

  • God of Abraham Acts 5:30; 7:32; Exodus 3:6; Ps 105:6-10; Mt 22:32; Heb 11:9-16
  • has glorified His servant Jesus Acts 2:33-36; 5:31; Ps 2:6-12; 110:1,2; Mt 11:27; 28:18; John 3:35,36; John 5:22,23; 7:39; 12:16; 13:31,32; 16:14,15; 17:1-5; Eph 1:20-23; Philippians 2:9-11; Heb 2:9; Rev 1:5,18
  • the one whom you delivered and disowned Acts 2:23,24; 5:30; 13:27,28; Mt 27:2,17-25; Mk 15:11; Luke 23:16-23; John 18:40; 19:15
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Psalm 115:1 would be an excellent "title" for this section

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Thy name give glory
Because of Thy lovingkindness, because of Thy truth.

Peter preached Christ to them using several names, all of which had Messianic connotations, for all in one way or another had been described in the Old Testament. The point is the Jews should have known, but Peter is going to give them a Spirit filled reminder. 

  1. "His Servant Jesus" (Acts 3:13, 26)
  2. "The Holy and Righteous One" (Acts 3:13)
  3. "The Prince of Life" (Acts 3:15)
  4. "Jesus" (Acts 3:16, 20)
  5. "His Christ" (Acts 3:18, 20)
  6. "Lord" (Acts 3:19)
  7. "A Prophet" (Acts 3:22)
  8. "Your Seed (Christ)" (Acts 3:25)

Related Resources:

In his sermon John MacArthur alliterates the Names Peter uses (6 of the 8 listed above) - As MacArthur says Peter "presents Jesus through these names as the Messiah because every one of the names has a Messianic the same time he is indicting Israel...for being at the opposite end of the world from God and for denying and rejecting their own Messiah. So it weaves...a presentation of Christ and a presentation of their terrible sin of rejection." (Peter Preaches Christ)

  1. Servant Dignified
  2. Jesus Delivered
  3. Holy One Denied
  4. Just (Righteous) Desired Not
  5. Prince of Life Destroyed
  6. Christ Declared

Peter was filled with the Spirit and the Word and was prepared for this golden opportunity giving us a great example to follow. Sensing that the crowd was in awe of what he and John had done, Peter immediately resets their focus on the true Source of the miracle, explaining that this miracle is God's work not theirs, and he amplifies this with integration of truth related to the Titles for Jesus.

As Matthew Henry says Peter "sowed the gospel seed in the ground which was thus broken up, and prepared to receive it." 

Steven Cole tells a story we could probably all tell - We’ve all had opportunities to share our faith in Christ where we’ve blown it. A year ago last Thanksgiving Day, Marla and I had run in the Turkey Trot race at Buffalo Park. After the race, a man came up to me and, without any introduction or greeting, said, “How old are you?” When I answered, his next words were, “When was the last time you had your prostate checked?” I must admit that I was a bit taken aback! He went on to tell me that he was 53 and was dying of prostate cancer. He was going around handing out leaflets to men about prostate cancer and to women about breast cancer. Although he was not in a listening mode, I wanted to say something to him about his eternal destiny, but I stood there tongue-tied. Since then, whenever I have thought of him, I have prayed that God would bring someone else into his life to share the gospel before he dies. I have had many other opportunities to tell people about the Savior where I could not think fast enough to figure out what to say. About an hour later, I get brilliant ideas of what I could have said, but by then the opportunity is gone. If you’re like me, then we all could use some instruction on how to proclaim the gospel when God opens the opportunity." (How to Proclaim the Gospel)

I would add one thing which I have begun to ask people when I sense the time is opportune. I ask then where would they go if they died tonight? I have had some fascinating answers, such as "I would go to hell," to the most common answer "I think I would go to heaven." I will ask them on what basis they think they would go to heaven and they usually answer something like "I'm a good person. I do good deeds for others. I have integrity, etc." If we are not interrupted, this interchange almost always leads to an opportunity to explain the Good News of what the Bible says about how they can be sure they will go to heaven when they die. Try it sometime but be sure you are filled up (with the Spirit) and prayed up." It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to share the Gospel with a soul who is otherwise destined for eternal punishment

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - This is the great covenant name recorded by Moses in Exodus at the burning bush encounter where Jehovah addresses Moses declaring "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God." (Ex 3:6) A significant point is the naming of the three patriarchs, for this God is the covenant God, Who will fulfill His promises. Peter immediately identifies with the God of the nation of Israel, the God with Whom they were familiar.

David Thompson says "Peter wastes no time in linking Jesus Christ to Israel and the Old Testament starting with Genesis. Jesus Christ has been glorified by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." (Acts 3:11-26)

The God of our fathers - What is Peter saying? He is using very "Jewish language" with his Jewish audience and is declaring that the God of our fathers is the God of all the descendants of the three patriarchs. Notice he says "our" fathers linking himself and John with his listeners.

Lenski explains that Peter's intent "is to sink into the minds of the hearers that He whom their nation worshiped in all past ages in their covenant relation with Him, He it is Who as this God and in this covenant of His has glorified his Servant Jesus. It is the same glorification which Peter preached on Pentecost in Acts 2:30-36, namely the resurrection and the exaltation at God's right hand. (Ibid)

Life Application Bible Commentary – Peter wanted to make it clear to this Jewish crowd that this miracle was the handiwork of the very God they claimed to follow. 

MacArthur adds that "since he’s talking about Messiah and since he wants to convince these Jews that Jesus is their Messiah and that they are in rebellion against God and have executed their own Messiah then he chooses messianic terms....Peter wants  them to know that he is in continuity with all the Old Testament prophets. He’s declaring the same God they preached....Peter is saying "People, this is your God that you don’t know because it’s your God Who has glorified His servant, Jesus. And this is the thing that they needed to know. The same God that was their God had healed through His Messiah this cripple."

Spurgeon on God of Abraham - I want you to note here how Peter will have it that the God of the gospel is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. I do not hesitate to say that the god of a large number of professors now is not the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and the reason I say so is this, — that they often treat the Old Testament as if it were an altogether secondary volume, and speak about the imperfect ideas of God which the Hebrews had, and the imperfect revelation of God in the Old Testament. I believe that Jehovah — that very Jehovah who clave the Red Sea, and drowned the Egyptians, — the terrible God of the Old Testament — is the same God who is the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and we are to take the Godhead as it is revealed, not alone in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament also. There are some who would pick and choose that part of Scripture which they like best, and construct a god for themselves out of those chosen texts. These be they who have other gods before Jehovah; and these be they who make unto themselves an image which, if it be not graven upon stone, is yet made out of their own imaginations, which they set up, and worship in the place of the one living and true God. “The God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied.” 


Has glorified His Servant Jesus - How has the God of our fathers honored His Servant Jesus? He does not directly explain how God honored His Son until Acts 3:16 when he plainly states it is "the Name of Jesus which has strengthened this man." The Name of course stands for all that Jesus is (His authority, His power, etc). Thus Peter is saying that Jesus was glorified because He was responsible for the miraculous healing. He was the real power and piety that produced the miracle.

As an aside what else does this miracle imply? It obviously indicates that this Jesus Who had been crucified, was not a dead Messiah, but was alive. He had to have been resurrected. How else could He have been the power to effect this miracle? 

Glorified is doxazo which means to give a proper opinion of Jesus, to place Jesus in a position of power, great honor and value, excellence. God the Father had used His Servant Son to produce this miracle and thus Jesus alone was deserving of the glory. Notice also that while the resurrection is not directly mentioned, clearly it is implied. How else could the Servant Jesus be glorified.

Play Robin Marks' song - Highly Exalted

God has Highly Exalted Your Name
He has enthroned You on High
Jesus, Name above all names.

G Campbell Morgan writes "We must  get back into the atmosphere of Solomon's porch, and of these Hebrews thronging Peter, before we begin  to apprehend how startling was the thing he said. "The God of Abra­ham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Servant." These men would catch the prophetic allusion, and be ready to ask, Who is the Serv­ant of God? Before the enquiry could be put, Peter answered in uttering that word "Jesus." He thus claimed the fulfillment in Christ of all  Messianic hope and prediction, declaring that God had glorified Him. These men might well say, and doubtless would say, "Glorified Him! We saw Him die, He was crucified." (Acts of the Apostles)

Albert BarnesYou denied, despised, and murdered him; but God has exalted and honored him. This miracle was done in the name of Jesus, Acts 3:6. It was the power of God that had restored him; and by putting forth this power God had shown that he approved the work of his Son, and was disposed to honour him in the view of men. Comp. John 17:1, Ephesians 1:20-22, Philippians 2:9-11 Hebrews 2:9, Revelation 1:5-18.

NET NOTE on has glorified - Jesus is alive, raised and active, as the healing illustrates so dramatically how God honors him.

Let's dig a little deeper on this specific Messianic title of Jesus "His Servant" and see why the Jewish audience would have (or at least should have) been familiar with this Title of Jesus. Remember that Peter is speaking to Jews who would be familiar with the Old Testament including the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew. So Peter begins by associating the God of our fathers with a designation that a Jewish hearer would identify as one of the Old Testament names or descriptions for the Messiah.

And so Peter describes Jesus as the God's Servant, using an unusual word for servant (not the familiar doulos as Paul refers to himself in Titus 1:1 "a servant [doulos] of God"). The word Peter uses is the Greek noun pais which is used 25 times in the NT with about 8 uses referring to children and 15 uses referring to a servant and in secular Greek referred to an especially intimate and trusted servant. Pais describes several different servants - David (Lk 1:69; Acts 4:25; Lxx - 2 Sa 7:5, 8, 19, 20, 21, 25), Israel (Lk 1:54) but most importantly Jesus the Messiah. The KJV actually translates Acts 3:13 as "His Son Jesus," which is not bad because Jesus is the "Servant Son" (so both translation of pais would apply to Him. Most modern versions prefer to translate it as "Servant Jesus.") What  would have made Peter's use of pais so interesting to his Jewish audience was the fact that there are at least two well-known uses in Isaiah in which he speaks prophetically of the Messiah as God's Servant, and in both passages, servant is translated pais.

A T RobertsonHis servant Jesus (τον παιδα Ἰησουν [ton paida Iēsoun]). This phrase occurs in Isa. 42:1; 52:13 about the Messiah except the name “Jesus” which Peter adds, the first part of the quotation is from Ex. 3:6; 4:30. The LXX translated the Hebrew ebhedh [ʿeḇeḏ; עֶבֶד] by παις [pais], the servant of Jehovah being a Messianic designation.

David Thompson adds "The word “the servant” (ton paida) actually is a word that refers to a small child who is under the direction of someone. Peter says, don’t you men of Israel understand that Jesus, who once stood right here in Solomon’s porch (Jn 10:23), was the glorified Child  (SON) under the direction of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You missed Who He was.(Acts 3:11-26)


First, let's look at Isaiah 42:1 which is a passage from the first of the four "Servant Songs of Messiah in Isaiah" (Isaiah 42:1-9; Isaiah 49:1-13; Isaiah 50:4-11; and Isaiah 52:13-53:12)...

"Behold. My Servant (Lxx = pais), whom I uphold; My Chosen One in Whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations (KJV = Gentiles)."

The Jewish writing "The Targum Jonathan To The Prophets" (an ancient Aramaic translation of the Nevi'im or the Prophets) translates Isaiah 42:1 "Behold, My servant, the Messiah, whom I bring near, My chosen one, in whom My memra takes delight; I will place My holy spirit upon him, and he shall reveal My law to the nations." This Targum was probably written between 100-200 AD and clearly recognizes Isaiah 42:1 as a Messianic passage. So Peter without explanation (presumably the Jewish hearers did not need an explanation) identified the Messianic phrase "His Servant" with Jesus. In short he was underscoring the truth that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, the very one they disowned or rejected! 

Matthew leaves no doubt that "My Servant" was a title for Messiah, as he quotes from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 42:1-4 stating that Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy


ISAIAH 52:13

In Isaiah 52:13 we read another prophecy of the Servant Messiah, 

"Behold, My Servant (Lxx = pais) will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted."

Comment - This passage is clearly a prophecy of the Messiah. In fact, Isaiah 52:13-15 is so closely related to Isaiah 53,  that a study of Isaiah 53 should include a study of these preceding 3 passages. It is another example of a poor chapter break (the breaks were not inspired). (See Isaiah 53 Commentary which begins with comments on Isaiah 52:13). And so see that Jesus the Messiah was the "Suffering Servant" of Isaiah 53! But now as Peter says He is the glorified Servant, the Cross before the Cross. 

Peter uses pais to refer to Jesus as God's Servant three more times in his messages addressed to Jewish hearers, clearly to indicate that Jesus is the Messiah. 

Acts 3:26 “For you first, God raised up His Servant (pais) and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

Acts 4:27  “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant (pais) Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

Acts 4:30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant (pais) Jesus (i.e., through the Messiah).”

Jesus was the Servant of God always doing the will of His Father as in John 6:38

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Marvin Vincent summarizes the OT use of servant -  The term servant of Jehovah, or servant of the Lord, is applied in the Old Testament (1) to a worshipper of God, Nehemiah 1:10; Daniel 6:21; so to Abraham, Ps 105:6, 42; to Joshua, Joshua 24:29; to Job, Job 1:8. (2) To a minister or ambassador of God called to any service, Isaiah 49:6; of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 27:6; of the prophets, Amos 3:7; of Moses, Deuteronomy 34:5. (3) Peculiarly of the Messiah, Isaiah 42:1; 52:13; as God's chosen Servant for accomplishing the work of redemption. "Unless we render servant in the passages where the phrase "pais Theou" occurs in the New Testament, there will be no allusion throughout it all to that group of prophecies which designate the Messiah as the servant of Jehovah, who learned obedience by the things which he suffered" (Trench). (ED: What Trench is saying is that when pais is used in the Greek phrase "pais Theou" it should be translated "Servant of God" not "Son of God" as in the KJV/NKJV versions)


Now we come to the second Name Peter used for the Messiah, Jesus.

Steven Cole says "Peter’s sermon is full of the Lord Jesus Christ, and so should our witnessing be. People must consider, Who is Jesus Christ? Is He a mere man who had some good moral teachings? If so, people may choose to adopt some of His teachings and reject others, according to their own preferences. But if He is the Savior and Lord, prophesied of in the Old Testament, crucified in accordance with God’s plan, but risen from the dead as He predicted, then He is also the coming Judge of the whole earth. This Christ imposes some inescapable claims on every soul. People may reject Him at their own peril, or they may follow Him as Savior and Lord. But everything in witnessing hinges on exalting the person of Jesus Christ. We do not proclaim the gospel rightly unless we exalt Him."

John Stott said,“The most remarkable feature of Peter’s second sermon…is its Christ-centeredness." (Message of Acts)

Jesus (2424)(Iesous) is a  transliteration of Iesous which is a transliteration of the Hebrew Jehoshua (Yehoshua) (Jeshua -Yeshua) which means Jehovah is help or Jehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua (Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua (Yeshua). Matthew tells us the meaning of the Name writing "you shall call His name Jesus, for (THE ANGEL EXPLAINS THE MEANING OF HIS NAME) He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21) In short, Jesus means Savior. And Matthew clearly identified Him as Messiah writing "The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham....Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. (Mt 1:1, 16).

Spurgeon said “The angel spoke to Joseph the name in a dream. That name so soft and sweet that it breaks no man’s rest, but rather yields a peace unrivaled, the peace of God. With such a dream, Joseph’s sleep was more blessed than his waking.”

As an aside  the reader should realize that any attempt to "defineIesous is fraught with huge gaps, for this Name (when applied to our Lord Jesus Christ) is indeed "the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth" (Php 2:9-10+) and "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other Name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12+) Indeed, His very Name "Iesous" conveys His supreme purpose for coming to earth -- to save men dead in their trespasses and sins (Mt 1:21) Our goal should be to "fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of faith." (Heb 12:2+)

One of my favorite (older) choruses is Jesus, Name Above All Names - YouTube

Jesus, Name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.

Looking at the entire NT we find Jesus in several combinations…

  • Jesus Christ (137x in 134v)
  • Christ Jesus (91x in 86v) All except one use (Acts 24:24) are by Paul.
  • Lord Jesus Christ (63x in 63v).
  • Lord Jesus (without Christ) (38x in 38v)
  • Jesus the Christ occurs in Acts 3:20.
  • Jesus is the Christ (Acts 9:22, cp Acts 17:3).
  • Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:5, 28).
  • Jesus Christ the Nazarene (Acts 4:10).
  • Jesus Christ our Lord (Ro 1:4)

Iesous is found 72x in 71v in the book of Acts. 

Acts 1:1; Acts 1:11; Acts 1:14; Acts 1:16; Acts 1:21; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:32; Acts 2:36; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:6; Acts 3:13; Acts 3:20; Acts 4:2; Acts 4:10; Acts 4:13; Acts 4:18; Acts 4:27; Acts 4:30; Acts 4:33; Acts 5:30; Acts 5:40; Acts 5:42; Acts 6:14; Acts 7:45; Acts 7:55; Acts 7:59; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:16; Acts 8:35; Acts 8:37; Acts 9:5; Acts 9:17; Acts 9:20; Acts 9:27; Acts 9:34; Acts 10:36; Acts 10:38; Acts 10:48; Acts 11:17; Acts 11:20; Acts 13:23; Acts 13:33; Acts 15:11; Acts 15:26; Acts 16:7; Acts 16:18; Acts 16:31; Acts 17:3; Acts 17:7; Acts 17:18; Acts 18:5; Acts 18:25; Acts 18:28; Acts 19:4; Acts 19:5; Acts 19:13; Acts 19:15; Acts 19:17; Acts 20:21; Acts 20:24; Acts 20:35; Acts 21:13; Acts 22:8; Acts 24:24; Acts 25:19; Acts 26:9; Acts 26:15; Acts 28:23; Acts 28:31

As John MacArthur says "There’s something about the Name of Jesus that is sweet isn’t it? Bernard said the name of Jesus is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, and joy in the heart. There’s something lovely about the Name of Jesus. And there’s something that makes us cringe when somebody uses it to curse...because we love Him so much, it’s very hard to taint the sweetness of the Name, throw His name around apart from His saving work is to not understand who He is. All this liberal palaver that we hear today about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus when they deny His atoning work on the cross is a mockery of His name. It’s a denial of what His name is. His name is not Jesus because He’s our example. His name is not Jesus because He’s our teacher. His name is not Jesus because He’s our guide and leader. His name is not Jesus because He’s our friend. He is all that. His name is Jesus because He will save His people from their sins. That’s why His name is Jesus."

Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know,
And He's just the same
as His lovely name.
And that's the reason why I love Him so;
Jesus is the sweetest name I know.
-Lela B Long

Lenski - Now comes the personal turn of Peter's words which is sudden and startling, direct and crushing. On the one side, God and what he did, namely glorified Jesus; on the other side, these Jews and what they did, namely denied, rejected, disgraced Jesus. Note the emphatic YOU (humeis): "whom YOU on your part delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, he having judged to release him." (Ibid)

The One Whom you delivered and disowned - Peter filled with the Spirit and boldness now ratchets up the sermon a notch! He boldly confronts this amazed crowd with words that must have pierced them. Delivered and disowned! Woe! And Who is it they delivered and disowned? The Messiah, Jesus the Servant of God, the One they had accused of blasphemy, condemned Him in mock religious trials and then delivered over to the Roman authorities who alone had the authority to carry out the death penalty. Many of the Jews in Peter's crowd may have been present as Jesus was presented to Pilate and many of them may have cried "Crucify. Crucify!" Peter throws down the gauntlet with a stinging rebuke and accusation.


Delivered (3860)(paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another, which is what Judas did (Lk 22:4,6, 22:21, 22, 48) and the Jewish religious leaders did (Lk 24:20). Jesus had predicted this would happen (Lk 9:44, Lk 18:32). He also predicted it would happened to His disciples (Lk 21:12) and that persecution would begin in Acts 4:1-37. 

The fascinating paradox is the One named Jesus, Savior, is the One Who is the Agent of deliverance. Jesus is the Deliverer (Rescuer)! So so Peter boldly accuses the Jews declaring you Jews delivered the Deliverer to Pilate! Remember the Jews were crowded around Peter and John and had they chosen, they could have mobbed them in a moment. But Peter has been filled with the Spirit, transforming Peter the "Denier" into Peter the "Declarer" fearlessly bringing a stinging indictment on the heads of his Jewish audience!

MacArthur comments on Peter's modus operandi declaring plainly "All real biblical preaching renders men sinners who have rebelled against God." You have to know you are a sinner before you can appreciate you need a Savior. We need to hear the bad news to prepare our hearts for the good news. 

Matthew records

Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered (paradidomi) Him to Pilate the governor. (Mt 27:1-2)

Paradidomi is used 2 times in the Septuagint translation of the Messianic passage Isaiah 53:12. Here is the English translation of the Septuagint...

Therefore he shall inherit many, and he shall divide the spoils of the mighty; because his soul was delivered (Lxx = paradidomi) to death: and he was numbered among the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and was delivered (Lxx = paradidomi) because of their iniquities. 

Yes, the Jews delivered Jesus over, but God was in full control. Paul uses paradidomi to describe what the Father did for us in Ro 8:32 and what Son did for us in Gal 2:20:

 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered (PARADIDOMI) Him over for (HUPER - ON OUR BEHALF, AS OUR SUBSTITUTE) us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32+)

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave (PARADIDOMI) Himself up for (HUPER - ON OUR BEHALF, AS OUR SUBSTITUTE) me.(Galatians 2:20+)

Disowned (720) See note below on arneomai. To disown means to reject, to cast off, to refuse to acknowledge as one's own. To repudiate any connection or identification with. To disown means they forcibly renounced or no longer accepted Jesus as their Messiah (recall that they had hailed Him as Messiah and King in His "Triumphal Entry" = Mt 21:8-9, Mk 11:9-10, Lk 19:37-38+, Jn 12:13). John records a specific declaration of the Jews disavowing and disowning Jesus as their Messiah and King...

Therefore they cried out again, saying, "Not this Man, but Barabbas." Now Barabbas was a robber....19:14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 18:40, 19:14-15)

In the presence of Pilate - Jesus had prophesied to His disciples in Galilee (Lk 24:6) "saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men (INCLUDING PILATE), and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Lk. 24:7)

When he had decided to release Him - Decided is krino which means Pilate had judged Jesus innocent and thus sought to set Him free.

Release (630)(apoluo from apó = means away from or separation + luo = loose) is used often of sending a person away and in context refers to letting Jesus loose and setting Him at liberty. Apoluo used 6 times in the trial of Jesus referring to the release of Jesus (Lk. 23:16; Lk. 23:17; Lk. 23:18; Lk. 23:20; Lk. 23:22) and the release of Barabas (Lk. 23:25) Apoluo is used in all four Gospels describing the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus (Jn 18:39, Mt 27:15, 17, 21, etc, cf Acts 16:35) 

Luke recorded Pilate's three judgments of Jesus as not guilty and his desire to release Him

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” (Lk 23:4+)

“You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 “No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. "“No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.  “Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” (Lk 23:14-16+)

And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” (Lk 23:22+)

Spurgeon - It is always easy to draw a crowd, but there was really something wonderful to be seen that day. The apostle was careful to turn to the very best account the curiosity of the crowd. See how quickly he carried their thoughts away from the man before him to the greater Man, the Divine Man, the Son of God whom they had rejected.

Acts 3:14   "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

KJV Acts 3:14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;

  • the Holy and Righteous One Acts 2:27; 4:27; 7:52; 22:14; Ps 16:10; Zech 9:9; Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; James 5:6; 1 Pe 3:18; 1 John 2:1; Rev 3:7
  • asked for a murderer to be granted to you Mark 15:7; Luke 23:19
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Wikipedia says "A prisoner exchange or prisoner swap is a deal between opposing sides in a conflict to release prisoners: prisoners of war, spies, hostages, etc."

But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One - The first word in the Greek text is YOU (humeis), which places emphasis on the Jews as the culprits of this cosmic crime! You Jews did this! You Jews are responsible!  And just to make sure his audience "gets it," Peter repeats the fact they disowned Him. 

This must have been a painful thing for Peter to say for after all, had he himself not disowned Jesus? As Mark recorded 

Seeing Peter warming himself, she (one of the servant-girls of the high priest) looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Nazarene.” But he denied (arneomai = same verb Peter used twice in this sermon to his fellow Jews!) it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” And he went out onto the porch. (Mk 14:67-68)

Disowned (rejected = NET, NLT, denied = ESV)(720)(arneomai from "a" = negation + rheo = say) literally means "to say no", to say one does not know about or is in any way related to some person or some thing. Webster says that to deny implies a firm refusal to accept as true, to grant or concede or to acknowledge the existence or claims of. Jesus' first use should have frightened His hearers but sadly His warning did not deter them from disowning Him - "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:33). Paul wrote "If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us." (2 Ti 2:12+) Paul wrote that there would be some who "profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. (Titus 1:16+)

Spurgeon on you disowned the Holy and Righteous One - See how plain-spoken Peter is, — how boldly he presses home upon the crowd around him the murder of Christ, — the rejection of the Messiah! It took no small amount of courage and faith to speak like that, and to speak so to persons who were full of admiration of him before, and who would be pretty sure to be filled with indignation against him directly. A man can speak boldly against those who are his enemies; but, when people begin to flatter you, and admire you, a softness steals over the bravest heart, and he is inclined to be very gentle. I admire Peter that he puts it thus plainly: “Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”

MacArthur sums it up - "And so their denial had remained in persistent relentlessness. He was Holy, but they desired Him killed as if He were unholy. He was the deliverer, but they delivered Him. He was the servant whom God glorified, but they debased Him. You see all the way through they’re in contrast to God and to Christ. And every man without Jesus Christ is living in just that contrast, open, vile, relentless, rebellion against God. And to those judgment comes."


Holy and Righteous One - Who did they disown? Peter presents his second description of Jesus. For Peter to use this description would draw the attention of the Jews to Messianic passages in the Old Testament. So while the full phrase Holy and Righteous One is not found in the OT, the individual descriptions are found.

Peter referred to the Holy One in Acts 2:27+ (see also Acts 13:35) quoting the Messianic psalm, Ps 16:10 which prophesied "You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay." This was a prophecy that the Messiah would not remain in the grave, but would be resurrected.

In the Gospel of John Peter declared his allegiance to Jesus saying "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:69, cf Peter's confession in Mt 16:16). 

Even the demons recognized Jesus as the Holy One declaring "“Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!” (Lk 4:34+). It is tragic that the demons knew Jesus was the Messiah, the Holy One of Israel, but the Jews (for the most part) did not know! Contrary to the common idiomatic, proverbial statement, their ignorance was NOT bliss! In essence, Peter is saying to the Jews they did not know what the demons know! Now that is twisted theology for sure! Peter is saying to these Jews that they are living in open rebellion against God, against the Holy One, against Jesus their Messiah!

Isaiah had heard the angels cry out "one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” And as John wrote "These things Isaiah said, because he saw His glory (WHOSE "GLORY?" JESUS, THE HOLY ONE'S GLORY), and he spoke of Him." (Jn 12:41) Jesus was the Holy One, the One who dwelt in the Holy of Holies in heaven and who came to earth to live a holy life.

Holy (40)(hagios - root hagi- = different, other) properly means different, set apart, distinct, holy. It describes one who is set apart by God and for God's use (as was the Messiah "the Servant of God"). Hagios is one can be brought near or into God's holy presence, which describes every believer, for ever believer is a "holy one" (little letters), because we are in an immutable covenant with THE Holy One, Who is always in the presence of His Father. Jesus as God is holy by His very nature (God's attribute - holy), but as God's Servant He was also separated by God to accomplish His will. 

Holy One is used 58x in 56v in the Old and New Testaments - 

2 Ki. 19:22; Job 6:10; Ps. 16:10; Ps. 71:22; Ps. 78:41; Ps. 89:18; Ps. 106:16; Prov. 9:10; Prov. 30:3; Isa. 1:4; Isa. 5:19; Isa. 5:24; Isa. 10:17; Isa. 10:20; Isa. 12:6; Isa. 17:7; Isa. 29:19; Isa. 29:23; Isa. 30:11; Isa. 30:12; Isa. 30:15; Isa. 31:1; Isa. 37:23; Isa. 40:25; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 41:16; Isa. 41:20; Isa. 43:3; Isa. 43:14; Isa. 43:15; Isa. 45:11; Isa. 47:4; Isa. 48:17; Isa. 49:7; Isa. 54:5; Isa. 55:5; Isa. 60:9; Isa. 60:14; Jer. 50:29; Jer. 51:5; Ezek. 39:7; Dan. 4:13; Dan. 4:23; Dan. 8:13; Hos. 11:9; Hos. 11:12; Hab. 1:12; Hab. 3:3; Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34; Jn. 6:69; Acts 2:27; Acts 13:35; 1 Pet. 1:15; 1 Jn. 2:20; Rev. 16:5

Hab 3:3+ describes the Second Coming of Messiah - God comes from Teman, And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise. 

Peter says to the Jews they did not desire the righteous (just) One but the unrighteous (unjust) one! They did not desire the innocent One, but the guilty one! "You murdered the innocent and freed the guilty murderer!" This is another tragic paradox.

Righteous (1342)(dikaios from dike = right, just) defines that which is in accordance with high standards of rectitude. Dikaios of God and Christ as just, righteous, upright, fair (Jn 17:25; Jesus = "righteous Judge" =2 Ti 4:8); of Jesus as upright, innocent (Lk 23:47 = "Certainly this man was innocent.”, cf. Mt 23:35, 27:24).

In this context in which they asked for a murderer to be granted, Peter's statement that Jesus is dikaios is like a stab into the hearts of his Jewish brethren, because as dikaios clearly speaks to Jesus' innocence! Peter is saying in essence you disowned and rejected and denied Jesus the innocent One and asked for Barrabas the guilty one! That's the description of a bad exchange!  

We find the title of Jesus as the Righteous One used by Stephen in his great sermon before the Jews in Acts 7:52 when he asked “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become." Isn't it interesting that in Acts 3 the persecution of the Church had not yet begun (even though the events in Acts 3 would catalyze coming persecution), but by the time of Stephen's sermon in Acts 7, the persecution was in full flame, and Stephen's convicting message brought his martyrdom, while Peter's was used by the Spirit to bring 2000 souls into the Kingdom. But God's ways are so much higher, for the Spirit used Stephen's martyrdom to prepare a man named Saul for his conversion (see Acts 7:58-60, 9:3-6), whose witness and writings have brought countless souls into the Kingdom! 

In Acts 22:14 we again see this title of Messiah

"And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth."

The adjective dikaios is used in the Septuagint in Jeremiah 23:5 which is clearly a Messianic prophecy which says 

"Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous (dikaios) Branch (THE MESSIAH); And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land."

Jeremiah of course was prophesying of the Messiah's return and rule in His 1000 year Messianic Kingdom

In Isaiah 53:11+ another Messianic passage we read

"As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous (Lxx = dikaios) One, My Servant (Lxx = douleuo - the One Who serves - present tense), will justify (Lxx - dikaioo - declare righteous) the many, As He will bear their iniquities." 

In summary, Peter's use of the phrase Holy and Righteous One to describe Jesus would have been further evidence to his Jewish audience that Jesus was in fact their Messiah who they disowned, rejected and denied, but Who was in fact alive.

And asked (aiteo) for a murderer to be granted to you - Very likely some of those listening to Peter's sermon had been among those who had asked for the murderer Barrabas in place of the Righteous (innocent) One, Jesus. There is an interesting play on words here, for Barrabas means "son of Abba" (BDAG) while Jesus was the only begotten "Son of the Father!" 

Mark records the request by the Jews to Pontius Pilate ...

Now at the feast he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested. 7 The man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 The crowd went up and began asking him to do as he had been accustomed to do for them. 9 Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead. (Mark 15:6-11)

Luke records that the Jews...

Cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man (JESUS), and release for us Barabbas!” 19 (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21 but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!” 22 And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. 24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. 25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.(Luke 23:18–25+)

Granted (5483)(charizomai from charis = grace, undeserved merit or favor) has the basic meaning of to give as a favor. It means to bestow as a gift of grace or out of grace, an amazing nuance given the context! One of the lexicon definitions of charizomai is a bit ironic for it says to show grace by providing undeserved help to someone unworthy, which is in fact what transpired, as Barabbas the unworthy one was exchanged for Jesus, the only One Worthy (Rev 5:12+)! 

MacArthur adds that "Even pagans, such as Pilate's wife (Mt. 27:19) and a Roman centurion (Lk 23:47+), recognized what Israel could not—that Jesus was innocent and righteous. Peter's indictment of them was devastatingly direct." (Ibid)

William Arnot - WOUNDING TO HEAL. Acts 3:14-26. WHEN Peter observed that his audience was becoming tender, he hastened forward to them with the Word; but it is not in the first instance a word of comfort that he administers. His first effort is to wound. He brings a sharp accusation; he heaps coals of fire on their heads^ when he sees these heads already beginning to droop. Not that the apostle takes pleasure in putting his countrymen to grief. He is glowing all over with love to these men of Israel, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Seeing them already quivering, he deals another blow, in the hope that thereby ^e may break altogether the already yielding heart; for as soon as tKe cry, "What must we do ? ^^ shall burst from broken hearts, the healing balm is ready. God "hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.^' Pilate, the Roman, from a natural sense of justice, desired to save the innocent ; but ye, the Israel to whom he came, denied him, and compelled the governor to put him to death. Never was a sharper sword pointed at naked breasts ; and never did a mightier thrust send the weapon home to the marrow: "Ye killed the Prince of life.^^ But it is the physician and not the enemy who is piercing here. He wounds in order that the distressed may seek the Healer. At verse T7th he changes his voice. He withdraws the weapon as soon as its work is done. As soon as the preacher sees that the dividing Word has taken effect, he begins to give consolation. I think it was Whitefield who, when his audience of coal-miners was so large that he could not read in the distant faces the emotions of their hearts, perceived by certain white streaks, like African tattoo, made by coursing tears on sable cheeks, that the Word had cut into the conscience. This was for him the turning-point. The strokes for wounding may now safely cease, and the healing work begin.

Changing his voice, Peter the preacher begins to in- sinuate a tender consolation. He will present the truth on another side. He had said, " Ye killed the Prince of life:'' but now he informs them that it is of God that Christ should suffer, the just for the unjust.

There are two opposite ways in which the blood of Jesus may be upon men : '' His blood be upon us, and upon our children ! '' exclaimed the Jewish leaders, when they had hemmed Pilate in, and extorted from him the sentence of death. Ah ! ^ that was not the blood of sprinkling for the pardon of sin. It was the blood of Christ upon them, but it did not cleanse. It was the blood of the curse, not the blood of blessing. At first, and for a specific purpose, Peter speaks 'of the blood of Christ in that evil sense. He takes it and pours it on the murderers' heads, a scorching flood. But when the work of conviction is done, he addresses himself to the work of saving; he takes that same blood in his other hand, and pours it out for blessing. The blood of Christ, although shed by them, is presented now as the blood shed for them  is presented now not as their sin, but as their redemption from sin.

It was a great transition ; and it was suddenly made. But the same transition all the new-bom make; and most of them make it quickly. It is like a leap from Christ crucified by you, into Christ crucified for you. From trampling under-foot the blood of the covenant, they pass over to take shelter, like the Hebrews in Egypt, under the besprinkled lintel, safe from the angel of death, and ready to march out free towards the promised land.

"Now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did jt'^ : and so he opens up to the convicted a door of hope. The drift of the discourse changes to tenderness. So, when the frost has congealed the ground into rock, the sun and rain beating on it make it broken and contrite ground — a fitting soil for the seed of the kingdom.

Then in verse 18th the preacher carefully engrafts his gospel upon the Scriptures of the Old Testament : " But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.*' The New Testament grows upon the Old, like branches in the root and stem. If you undermine Moses, Christ, as far as you are concerned, will fall. Chaos will return. Darkness will again be on the face of the deep, and no Spirit of God will move upon the waters.

Those who eat out, by acid drops of criticism, the authority of the Old Testament, intending to hold fast by Christ and his gospel, are victims of a delusion. These blessed flowers and fruits cannot grow on a dead root

When I was young, I took pleasure in ornamenting the front of my father's cottage with flowers. One particular effort was eminently successful, and attracted the notice of every visitor. By budding, I inserted several fine kinds of roses on one common root. For two or three years the flowers of various hues, flourishing simultaneously on one stem, became a spectacle to the rural neighborhood. But, alas ! the original stem, not chosen as suitable for the purpose, but adopted as it happened to be there, was not a hardy species. There came a night of severe frost. The plant that sustained my beautiful branches died, and all my beautiful branches died with it. Alas ! for men in whose hearts the Divine authority of Moses and the prophets is withered by the frost of a hard, cold, earthly philosophy. Faith cannot grow upon Kant and Hegel, when God has departed from Moses and the Psalms!

That is not the first of Christ when the Babe is bom in Bethlehem. Before the foundation of the world he took his people^s place in the eternal counsel. As soon as men needed a Saviour he appeared for salvation in the promise spoken at the gate of Eden. Christ interpene- trates the Scriptures of the Old Testament through and through. The Plant of Renown that appeared in man's sight in the fulness of time, has a root that goes down to the beginning. If you cut away the word which holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, you cut through that root, and your own hope withers in your breast. 

Acts 3:15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a [fact] to which we are witnesses.

 KJV Acts 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

  • Prince of life John 1:4; 4:10,14; 5:26; 10:28; 11:25,26; 14:6; 17:2; Ro 8:1,2; 1 Cor 15:45; Col 3:3,4; Heb 2:10; 5:9; 1 Jn 5:11,12,20; Rev 21:6; Rev 22:1,17
  • The one whom God raised from the dead Acts 2:24,32; Mt 28:2-5; Eph 1:20
  • A fact to which we are witnesses  Acts 1:22; 2:32; 10:40,41; 13:30-32
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Peter is a master of contrast, here juxtaposing death and life, the ultimate paradox. Barabbas destroyed life, while Jesus created life! 

John wrote that "just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes." (Jn 5:21) So Jesus not only is the Source of all physical life, but also the Source of all spiritual life.

Striking contrast - The Jews gave death to the One Who had given them life, and Who wanted to give them eternal life! 

Bengel calls this Name “The magnificent antithesis.” And I would add "The tragic antithesis."

Before we are too hard on the Jews of Jesus’ day who literally killed their Messiah, Spurgeon reminds us we are ALL guilty because “Every sin in the essence of it is a killing of God.” David Thompson adds that "There are two ways the blood of the murdered Jesus may relate to you - (1) It does condemn you, (2) It may cleanse you!" (Acts 3:11-26)

Wiersbe - There must be conviction before a sinner can experience conversion. Unless a patient is convinced that he is sick, he will never accept the diagnosis or take the treatment. Peter turned the temple into a courtroom and laid all the evidence out for everybody to see. How could two ordinary fishermen perform such a great miracle unless God was with them? Nobody would dare deny the miracle because the beggar stood there before them all in “perfect soundness” (Acts 3:16; 4:14). To accept the miracle would have been to admit that Jesus Christ is indeed the living Son of God and that His name has power. (Borrow Be Dynamic). (Bolding added)

But put to death the Prince of life - NET has "You killed the Originator of life, whom God raised from the dead." What a pithy accusation Peter levels against the Jews! Death to the very One Who was Originator of Life (Jn 1:3+) and Sustainer of Life (Col 1:17+, Heb 1:3+ = "upholds [present tense] all things by the word of His power"), "the Word of Life" (1 Jn 1:1), "the Bread of Life," (Jn 6:48), "the resurrection and the life," (Jn 11:25), "the life" (Jn 14:6), the very One in Whose Name all believers "may have life" (Jn 20:31). 

John Phillips - Life from nothing began through Him. It was His idea; He was its Creator and Sustainer. There was not a man, woman, or child in that audience who did not owe life itself to Him. The very breath they breathed was in His hand. This One, the Prince, the Author of life, had come into the world as a man, and they had killed Him. Could crime be greater? The enormity of their sin had to be brought home to them. Not indeed that they were worse than we. Any rejection of Christ in any age is a manifestation of the same spirit. (Exploring Acts)

As the Prince or Author of life, Jesus was the one who prepared the worlds by His Word (Heb 11:3) Through Jesus the Creator God breathed life into one created from the dust of the earth (Ge 2:7). And finally, and most importantly, Jesus is the Author of Eternal Life, declaring " I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." (Jn 10:28)

Prince (Author)(747)(archegos  form arche = beginning/rule + ágo = lead) is an adjective that furnishes the first cause or occasion (Euripedes, Plato). It denotes one who has a preeminent position, one who begins something (a leader, a ruler, or one who begins something as the first in a series. He is the one who goes first. An archegos never stood at rear giving orders always out front, leading and setting example. Jesus Christ is the archegós of life in this verse because He is the arche, the beginning or the originator of God’s creation (Rev 3:14).  Jesus led the way to life. Archegos contains thoughts of  supremacy,  personal participation, and originating something. Peter before the Sandhedrin tells the Jewish leaders that  Jesus is "a Prince and a Savior", the One Who could "grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." (Act 5:31)

Hebrews uses archegos twice to describe Jesus...

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings. (Heb 2:10+)

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Heb 12:2+)

In short the writer of Hebrews says Jesus originates our salvation and our faith and He brings it to completion.


The One Whom God raised from the dead  - Peter preaches the resurrection, the key cog in every Gospel presentation (cf Acts 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30; 13:37; 26:8). If you present the Gospel to someone, don't leave out the truth of the resurrection or your presentation is incomplete! 

Note Peter says the Father raised His Son - Acts 2:24,32+; Acts 3:16, 26, Acts 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 33, 34, 37, 17:31, Ro 6:4, 9, Eph 1:20+, Heb 13:20+, 1 Pe 1:21+, etc. as did the Spirit - Ro 8:11+; Even the Son was active in the resurrection - Jn 2:19–22; 10:17–18

John Phillips - The great debate in Jerusalem was, "What happened to the body?" It was sealed in the tomb, that was certain. The empty tomb had confounded the Sanhedrin. They had silenced the soldiers with "large money" (Matt. 28:12). The price of a slave could buy Judas, but it took handsome bribes to tie the tongues of the guard. Frightened half out of their wits by the sight of an angel, they had been frightened clean out of the other half by the scowls of the Sanhedrin. "The disciples stole the body," they said. (Exploring Acts)

The resurrection is God's "reply" to their disowning and delivering of Jesus to death! God "replied" by resurrecting Him to life! The resurrection is God's "Amen" to His Son's "It is finished!"

Wiersbe - Calvary may have been man’s last word, but the empty tomb was God’s last word. He glorified His Son by raising Him from the dead and taking Him back to heaven. The enthroned Christ had sent His Holy Spirit and was working through His church. The healed beggar was proof that Jesus was alive. (Borrow Be Dynamic).

Donald Grey Barnhouse said "The resurrection of Christ is our receipted bill." 

Spurgeon - The resurrection is a fact better attested than any event recorded in any history, whether ancient or modern.

Raised (1453) (egeiro) means to rise (stand up) from a sitting position (as with the lame man in Acts 3:7 which uses the same verb), to awaken from sleep (Mt 8:25), figuratively as in this passage to "awaken" from death and so to rise up. In Acts 3:7, the lame man was raised from the ground by Peter but ultimately by Jesus Who Himself was raised from the dead! 

Peter has already mentioned the resurrection in Acts 2:23-24, 32+

This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power....This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

Robertson - Peter had boldly claimed that all the 120 have seen the Risen Christ. There is no denial of that claim.

Egeiro is used 15x in 14v in the book of Acts -

 Acts 3:7; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Acts 5:30; Acts 9:8; Acts 10:26; Acts 10:40; Acts 12:7; Acts 13:22; Acts 13:30; Acts 13:37; Acts 26:8

A fact to which we are (present tense = continually) witnesses - "Fact" is added by the translators but it is still a fact! Peter says we (Peter and John) saw Jesus alive after His crucifixion. Paul wrote that Jesus "appeared to Cephas (PETER), then to the twelve." (1 Cor 15:5) To be a witness of the resurrected Jesus was a requirement of apostleship (Acts 1:22+). This is exactly what Jesus had prophetically promised the apostles that they would "receive power (dunamis = inherent supernatural ability to accomplish what cannot be accomplished naturally) when the Holy Spirit (had) come upon (them); and (they would) be (Jesus') witnesses" (martus/martys) (Acts 1:8+) So they were witnesses now because they had the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, Who turned these "shrinking violets" into bold witnesses!

Note that there are two witnesses here, Peter and John (Acts 5:32; Heb 2:3–4) for as Moses wrote "on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed." (Dt 19:15)

Peter repeats the testimony regarding the truth of Jesus' resurrection declaring "we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:32) And don't miss the fact that there was another "witness" to the fact that Jesus was alive. Who would that be? None other than the lame man who was healed in the Name of Jesus. An alive (resurrected) Jesus had wrought this man's healing. Jesus is alive!

Witnesses (3144)(martus/martys)  basically describes (1) one who has seen and/or experienced something or someone and (2) one who testifies to what he or she saw. 

Martus occurs 13x in 13v in the Book of Acts - 

Acts 1:8; Acts 1:22; Acts 2:32; Acts 3:15; Acts 5:32; Acts 6:13; Acts 7:58; Acts 10:39; Acts 10:41; Acts 13:31; Acts 22:15; Acts 22:20; Acts 26:16

Spurgeon - “You killed the Source of life, Whom God raised from the dead; we are witnesses of this.” See how plainspoken Peter is—how boldly he presses home upon the crowd around him the murder of Christ, the rejection of the Messiah? It took no small amount of courage and faith to speak like that, especially to persons who were full of admiration of him before and who would soon be filled with indignation against him. A man can speak boldly against those who are his enemies, but when people begin to flatter you and admire you, a softness steals over the bravest heart, and he is inclined to be gentle. I admire Peter that he puts it thus so plainly.

Acts 3:16   "And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

KJV  Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

  • His Name Acts 3:6; 4:7,10,30; 16:18; Mt 9:22
  • through faith Acts 14:9; 19:13-17; Mt 17:19,20; 21:21,22; Mark 11:22,23; 16:17,18; Luke 17:5,6; John 14:12; 1 Corinthians 13:2
  • faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health Acts 3:8; 8:14-16; Dt 32:4; John 7:23
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And on the basis of faith in His name - Literally "upon faith in His Name." Frankly, there is no other basis (ground) for faith than the Name of Jesus. And remember that Name in Scripture was not just what one was called, but it spoke of the character and nature, and so was representative of everything that the person was, and in this case speaks of everything the Bible teaches us about Jesus - His deity, His humanity, His sacrificial death for sinners, His authority to be our Lord, etc. In a sense the Name then speaks of the Person Himself.

Jesus was both the Source of the faith and the Object of faith!

Note Peter's repetition of Name and Jesus for emphasis. It's not Peter. It's not John. It is Jesus. He is the Healer, the Great Physician, Jehovah Rapha

Knowling on “the faith which is through Him,” says "not by it, i.e., the Name—not only the healing power is through Christ, but also the faith of the Apostles as of the man who was healed, cf., especially, 1 Pet. 1:21+. τοὺς διʼ αὐτοῦ πιστοὺς εἰς Θεόν, i.e., his converts who through Christ are believers in God: He is the Object and the Author of our faith." (The Expositor's Greek Testament The Acts of the Apostles)

ESV Study BibleBy faith in his name refers to Peter’s faith rather than to any faith on the part of the lame man. Jesus healed the man, and faith (or trust) in Jesus also healed the man, because Jesus worked through Peter’s faith. The faith that is through Jesus. Jesus himself imparts this kind of miracle-working faith to people’s hearts.

Albert Barnes - By means of faith in Him; that is, by the faith which Peter and John had in Jesus. It does not refer to any faith that the man had himself, for there is no evidence that he believed in him; but it was by means of the faith which the apostles exercised in him that the miracle was wrought, and was thus a fulfillment of the declaration in Matthew 17:20. (Barnes' Notes on the New Testament)

Moody Bible Commentary on faith in this passage - Peter took no credit for the healing. After the resurrection, Jesus’ name possessed the same power as the name of God. The lame man’s spiritual condition prior to the healing is not stated in the text. His healing was not a result of his faith, and in fact he did not even expect to be healed. The primary function of miracles in Acts is Christological—to prove that Jesus was alive and thus Israel’s promised Messiah.

William Larkin says "by faith (both the apostles’ and the beggar’s—compare Acts 14:8–10) in the name of Jesus (that is, Jesus himself present in his resurrection power; compare 1 Kings 8:27–30), this man … was made strong. Literally, the Greek says, “Based on faith in his name this one … his name strengthened.” “Faith is the manner and Jesus’ name is the cause of the man’s restoration” (Kistemaker 1990:130). In the end all is from Jesus, for faith is present not only as a human activity (faith in the name of Jesus) but also as a divine gift (faith … through him). And today the economy is the same. There is no room for relying on manipulative, magical technique. All Jesus asks us to bring is humble dependence lived out in prayer and faith (Jas 5:14)." (IVP NT Commentary - Acts)

Marvin Vincent on by faith (or through faith) - Note the article: the faith which we had (PETER AND JOHN); not the cripple's faith, which was not demanded as a condition of his cure. Through faith (epi) is rather on account of, or on the basis of. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Paul Apple - Whose faith is referenced here? Definitely faith required on the part of Peter and John to look to the Lord for His work of healing But what about the lame man ... any faith involved on his part? Bock: The lame man’s response to his healing shows that he did respond to what God had done and was thankful for it. (The Spread of the Gospel)

Kistemaker - The question we must ask is whether Peter speaks about the faith of the apostles or the faith of the cripple. The answer, of course, is that both the apostles and the beggar had faith. Peter and John performed the miracle only because they fully trusted Jesus to give them the power to heal. The lame man also trusted the Lord to heal him, even if Luke refrains from suggesting anything about his faith at the time the miracle took place (Acts 3:3–7)....Faith in the name of Jesus calls forth a response from the beggar, who extends his right hand to Peter and realizes that his feet and ankles are strong. With this evidence, which everyone in the audience can see, Peter is now at the point of asking the Jews to put their faith in Jesus. (Baker NT Commentary - Acts)

Horton - The man's faith that came through Jesus gave him this complete healing, this freedom from all bodily defect, in the presence of them all. It is also possible that the apostles' faith is meant here, and that the healing caused the man to put his faith in Jesus. (Acts: A Logion Press Commentary)

Some like Stanley Touissant feel "The crippled man’s healing came because of his faith in the name of Jesus. Faith was also evident in many of those whom Jesus healed (e.g., Mark 5:34; 10:52; Luke 17:19)" (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Thomas Constable agrees writing that "Peter attributed the beggar’s healing to the power of Jesus and to the man’s trust in what he knew about Jesus. Jesus had given him faith. If the beggar had had no confidence in the deity and divine power of Jesus, he would not have responded to Peter’s invitation to walk (v. 6)." (Acts 3 Commentary)

John Phillips -  In those early days the message of the church had to be authenticated with miracles. This man's faith in the saving name of Jesus was authenticated by his physical healing. (Exploring Acts)

John Stott - it was Jesus’ name (all he is and has done), together with the faith that comes through him, being aroused by him in those who grasp the implications of his name, which has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (ED: Stott does not address whether it was Peter's faith or the man's faith).

Longnecker is non-committal on whose faith was at play in this miraculous healing - The sermon focuses on God’s Servant, Jesus, whom Israel disowned and killed but God raised from the dead. It is through his name and the faith that comes through him that the healing of the crippled beggar occurred. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!
Let angels prostrate fall

Faith in His Name - Be careful not to make Jesus' Name a "formula of incantation!" Recall Jesus' warning in Mt 7:21-23+ where His Name is mentioned three times by unbelievers masquerading as exorcists, miracle workers, etc! And balance Peter's description with Luke's record in Acts 19:13-16

But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”  14 Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Kistemaker comments that "The seven sons of Sceva without faith invoked the name of Jesus and accomplished nothing, but received a severe beating from the evil spirit they tried to cast out. However, when the seventy-two disciples commissioned by Jesus returned to him, they rejoiced and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17NIV). (Ibid)

NET NOTE on His Name - Here is another example of appeal to the person by mentioning the name.

Early in their history the Hebrews ceased pronouncing their God's name lest they take it in vain (cf Ex 20:7). Instead, they would simply say "the Name" which meant to them the God of the Hebrews. To the early Christians, Jesus' Name was considered equivalent to the Name of Yahweh.

Longnecker notes that Peter "stresses "the Name of Jesus" as the powerful agent in the miracle—a significant fact since "the Name" (to onoma) was a pious Jewish surrogate for God and connoted his divine presence and power. (The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 9)

Kistemaker says that "Faith and the name of Jesus are the two sides of the same coin that represents healing. In brief, faith is the manner and Jesus’ name is the cause of the man’s restoration." (Ibid)

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Bob Utley - The Greek term “faith” (pistis) can be translated into English as “faith,” “trust,” or “believe.” It is humanity’s conditional response to God’s unconditional grace (cf. Eph. 2:8–9). It is basically the believer’s trusting in the trustworthiness of God (i.e. His character, His promises, His Messiah) or faithing God’s faithfulness! It is difficult in the healing accounts of the Gospels and Acts to document the spiritual (i.e. covenantal) side of the event. Those healed are not always “saved” (cf. John 5).

Faith (4102)(pistis) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.

POSB notes that in this passage we see that "belief is a gift of Christ. Faith is not an emotion or a thought or a commitment that a man tries and tries to stir up within himself. It is not of himself. The thought, the impulse, the movement, the tug, the pull to believe is initiated by God’s Spirit. A man’s spirit is dead. It cannot in and of itself move toward a living relationship with God. A dead spirit cannot make any movement whatsoever, for it is dead. When a man experiences and senses the pull to believe, he needs to stop resisting and believe. He needs to let go and trust Christ. When God initiates belief and moves upon a man’s heart with the gift of belief, the man needs to exercise his will in accepting Jesus; he needs to give all he is and has to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is by such belief and commitment that a man is made perfectly sound."

Faith in Acts -  

Acts 3:16; Acts 6:5; Acts 6:7; Acts 11:24; Acts 13:8; Acts 14:9; Acts 14:22; Acts 14:27; Acts 15:9; Acts 16:5; Acts 17:31; Acts 20:21; Acts 24:24; Acts 26:18

Horton - The healing came on the ground of faith in Jesus for what He is. But it was not their faith as such that brought the healing. It was the Name, that is, the fact that Jesus is true to His nature and character. He is the Healer. Faith did have a great part, of course, but it was the faith that was "through him [Jesus]." The faith Jesus himself had imparted (not only to Peter and John, but also to the man) gave complete freedom from defect before their very eyes. (Acts: A Logion Press Commentary)

D L Moody - FAITH is the hand that takes the blessing. But don’t look too much at the hand. Suppose I ask a man who has just received a thousand dollars of a friend: “Did he give it to you with his right hand?” He would reply: “What do I care about which hand; so that I have got the money.”

It is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man - Note it is not just by saying the "Name" but is it all that the Name conveys - Jesus' deity, power, authority, etc. The Name in this context stands for the essence of the Person of Jesus. 

The phrase "Name of Jesus" occurs 11x in 11v in Acts and only 1x in the rest of the NT (Php 2:10) - 

Acts 2:38; Acts 3:6; Acts 3:16; Acts 4:10; Acts 4:18; Acts 5:40; Acts 8:12; Acts 9:27; Acts 10:48; Acts 16:18; Acts 26:9

Has strengthened (4732) see note on stereoo 

Whom you see and know (cf Acts 4:16+) - This repeats the idea of Acts 3:10+ where the crowd was "taking note of" the lame man. God had chosen a sign that would undeniably point to the fact that a miracle had occurred. The Jews knew that a "God thing" had occurred. 

See (2334)(theoreo from theaomai = to look at closely or attentively or contemplatively - even with a sense of wonder; cp theoros = a spectator) (Gives us English = theater) usually refers to physical sight but can also refer to perception and understanding. It means to gaze, to look with interest and purpose, to carefully examine with emphasis on or attention to details. To behold intensely or attentively. Our English word scrutinize conveys this sense, for it means to examine closely and minutely. The picture this verb conveys is to be a spectator and thus to understand or perceive.  Theoreo in some contexts can include the idea of to behold with amazement.

Vincent explains that theoreo "was more than simple seeing. The verb means looking steadfastly, as one who has an interest in the object, and with a view to search into and understand it -- to look inquiringly and intently." (And see the note directly below on "know" for what the Jews may have been pondering as they witnessed the lame man leaping). 

Know (1492)(eido) refers to a fullness of knowledge, an absolute knowledge which is without a doubt, rather than a progress in knowledge (cp ginosko). The point is the crowd knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that a miracle had transpired. How could they refute a lame man now leaping. And some, possibly many of the Jewish crowd, must have recalled the phrase in Isa 35:6+ "the lame will leap like a deer," which they knew was a description of the coming Messianic Kingdom (cf Acts 1:6+, Acts 3:21+). 

And the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health - Note the Source of the faith. What is it? If it is through Him, Jesus is the "instrument" and by implication the Father is the Source. Of course in the mystery of the Trinity all three Members are the Source. 


Perfect health (3647)(holokleria see related word holokleros from holos = whole + kleros = lot, allotment) literally describes one who has his entire allotment (in this lame man's case, his ability to walk again!) It means wholeness, completeness and here speaks of physical wholeness, integrity of parts, of soundness in all the lame man's body parts! He had complete freedom from his previous defect. Used only here in NT and not in Septuagint. The related word holokleros is used in an ethical sense in 1 Th 5:23, Jas 1:4. The related adjective is used by Josephus of a sacrifice complete in all its parts (Antiquities 3.12.2) In other words it described the "freedom from defect necessary for animals used as sacrifices." (Horton). Knowling adds "whilst the noun does not seem to be used by the strictly medical writers, ὁλόκληρος is frequently used of complete soundness of body." This word denotes the thoroughness of the restoration of the man's crippled legs.

In this lame man's case holokleria means he was perfectly sound in both body and soul.

NET NOTE on the faith which comes through Him - Note how this verse explains how the claim to “faith in Jesus’ Name” works and what it means. To appeal to the Name is to point to the Person. It is not clear that the man expressed faith before the miracle. This could well be a “grace-faith miracle” where God grants power through the apostles to picture how much a gift life is (Luke 17:11–19). Christology and grace are emphasized here.

John MacArthur writes - The faith in view here is not that of the beggar but of Peter and John. Although occasionally the faith of the one healed is noted (cf. Acts 14:19), the New Testament gift of healing operated through the faith of the healer, rather than the one healed. To tell those who are not healed that it is because they lack the faith to be healed is another misrepresentation of the biblical nature of apostolic healing. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

I agree with MacArthur that we need to be careful here lest we misinterpret the miracle. The lame man was not healed because he had enough faith to believe God could heal him. He did not even know what was getting ready to transpire, so how could he believe that which he did not know? His personal faith was not a condition for his healing. Some teach if you have enough faith, you will be healed. This is a slippery slope that can end in disaster to one's faith. It almost is a call to have faith in one's faith. On the other hand, while this man's faith was not the reason he was healed, his subsequent actions and attitude of joyfully praising God in the Temple certainly sounds like he had become a believer in Jesus, which would of course have necessitated the exercise of faith on his part.

There are clearly situations where faith was associated with healing. Below are 3 examples from Matthew's Gospel...

"Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once." (Mt 15:28) 

Spurgeon wrote "The Lord of glory surrendered to the faith of the woman."

John MacArthur explains that "Jesus did not give the principle as you have believed as a universal promise to all believers. The principle of healing in proportion to faith was sovereignly applied as the Lord saw fit (see also, e.g., Mt. 9:29). Paul had absolute faith in God's ability to heal him, and he personally experienced, and was often used as the instrument of, God's miraculous healing. But when he prayed three times in great earnestness for his "thorn in the flesh" to be removed, the Lord's answer to him was, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness" 2 Cor. 12:7-9. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew) (See also his sermon The Quality of Great Faith)

Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.”(Mt 9:29)

Commenting on Mt 9:29 MacArthur says "As discussed in the previous chapter, the gospels make clear that faith was not necessarily present in all cases of physical healing. The majority of Jesus' healings were performed apart from the mention of any sort of faith. Some healings, such as that of the centurion's slave, were performed without the afflicted person so much as seeing Jesus. Others, such as the raising of Jairus's daughter and Lazarus, were performed on those who were already dead when Jesus' power did its work in their bodies. But faith is always involved in salvation, and Jesus prompted the two blind men to openly confess their trust in Him surely for the sake of the their spiritual, not their physical, restoration. They came to Jesus acknowledging Him as God's Messiah, the Son of David; and they came to Him asking for mercy, beyond simply healing. Although the term Lord was sometimes used merely as a title of respect, much as our "Sir," the context here convinces one that the two blind men looked to Jesus as their divine Lord, not simply as a man of great dignity. By leading them to confess Him as Lord, Jesus brought them to conversion. (Ibid) 

In his sermon MacArthur says "Now, as I've said before, faith is not necessary for healing.  The gospels are loaded with times that Jesus healed, and people didn't have any faith.  Doesn't say a word about whether they had faith.  But faith is necessary for conversion, and He wanted to bring these men all the way that their faith would take them.....What do you mean, "According to your faith?"  Well, how much faith did they have?  Did they have enough faith to be healed?  Yes.  Did they have enough faith to be saved?  Yes.  If they had enough faith to be saved, that's what they've got, because it was according to their faith that they received.  I don't think faith is the issue in the healing.  I think faith is the issue in the saving.  "Your faith is big enough to encompass redemption, so be it unto you."  That was where their faith was.  You know, faith, in itself, is nothing.  Did you know that?  It's nothing. Archbishop Trench in 1902 wrote this.  I think it's a marvelous thing.  He was writing on this very same account in Matthew, and he said this:

"The faith which, in itself, is nothing is yet the organ for receiving everything.  Now listen to this.  It is the conducting link between man's emptiness and God's fullness; and herein lies all the value faith has [now listen]. Faith is the bucket let down into the fountain of God's grace without which the man could never draw water of life from the wells of salvation.  For the wells are deep and, of himself, man has nothing to draw with.  Faith is the purse which cannot of itself make its owner rich, and yet effectually enriches by the wealth which it contains."

That's a great statement about faith.  Faith is the bucket that dips into the wells of salvation.  Faith is the purse which, in itself, is not the riches, but contains the riches.  It is that by which we receive what God graciously gives, and He says, “Your purse is big enough to receive all that I have to give.  Your bucket is big enough to gather the waters of the wells of salvation.” (Miracles of Sight and Sound)  

Again in Matthew 8:5-13 (esp Mt 8:10) we read of Jesus healing son of the Roman centurion, Jesus concluding this miraculous healing with the words to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” (Mt 8:13). In MacArthur's sermon on Matthew 8:5-13 he says "You say, "That little phrase, 'As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee,' can we claim that?"  Not necessarily.  He said that to the centurion.  Paul believed that God could heal him.  God didn't, right?  That's a sovereign choice.  Sometimes He'd heal people who had no faith.  In fact, if you want to know the truth,the Bible doesn't say the little boy had any faith at all." (Jesus - Power over Disease)

In the presence of you all - In "full view." Nothing hidden. No "magic tricks." Everyone listening to Peter was a witness to this miracle (remember the man present either clinging to Peter or next to him for all to see). Judge yourselves whether this was a real miracle of healing. Obvious to all who saw him. Spurgeon adds “You see him now, and you know what he used to be; there is no question about the identity of the man.”

Charles Rolls on the Name "Jesus" - The Hebrew equivalent of this name is Joshua, which means, "Jehovah the Saviour," or, "Jehovah will save." The Greek designation means virtually the same, together with the additional insight into its inner significance as declared by the prophet, which signifies that it includes in its meaning, "God with us." The references in which Joshua is rendered Jesus are found in Acts 7:4-5 and Hebrews 4:8. How suggestive that the Old Testament word is appended to a prince, a prophet, and a priest. Jesus in the New Testament is all three. As a name, Jesus is more grandly honored and more grievously hated, more acclaimed and more accused than any other. We find it imprinted over six hundred times on the pages of the four Gospels, and it is the most charming, consoling, comforting name by which our beloved Saviour is known. We are aware that all the sweetest hymns, the richest poems, and choicest music are woven about its wealth of value and worth of virtue. The name stands as a synonym for free healing, friendly help, and full salvation, and is broadcast today in a thousand languages. Jesus was the first in this world to be called the Friend of sinners. As a title, the name signifies that Jesus is the veracity of truth, the visibility of God, the verity of love, and the victory of grace in all perfection. From heavenly altitudes He descended to the level of humanity, and transformed temporal things with His tender touch, while His teaching of celestial truth transfigured the lives of men. Enshrined in this precious title are the richest theme in music, the sweetest note in song, the worthiest word in worship, and the princeliest name in praise. The One who bears this designation of delightful dignity is the fairest Flower in the fragrant garden of virtue, the rarest Treasure in the palatial mansion of truth, the greatest Gift amid the riches of eternal glory, the loveliest Legacy in the lasting heritage of life, the brightest Ray in the brilliant beams of ineffable light, the purest Pleasure in the peerless delights of perennial peace, and the choicest Companion in the celestial courts of communal love. How we revel in the glories of His wondrous grace, while we devotedly sing in worshipful praise. (Names and Titles of Jesus Christ) 

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast:
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.
Jesus, the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
'Tis music in the sinners' ears;
'Tis life and health and peace.

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun (another version) (Scott Wesley Brown)
Doth his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Come, let us sing the matchless worth
Of Him who came in lowly birth,
And died to save our ruined race,
Jesus, the blessed Lord of grace.

To Jesus every day I find my heart is closer drawn,
He's fairer than the glory of the gold and purple dawn,
He's all my fancy pictured in its fairest dreams and more,
Each day He grows still sweeter than He was the day before.

The eternal Father meant this name to mean more than any other. That is why He bestowed it upon His beloved Son. If we carefully consider its fullness of meaning, we shall find it to be the best and most suited that could possibly be borne by One who was sent to save from sin. For it is very evident that the sick of soul needed healing, the far and faulty needed redeeming, the bad and banished needed reconciling, the cruel and corrupt needed regenerating, and the lost and lone needed saving. The Saviour is the only One who can adequately meet these various needs. Paul presents the case negatively and says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). These ten classes have been appropriately referred to as the ten lepers. How grandly the title Jesus befits the One who can grapple with such deplorable cases and not only deliver, but save to the uttermost and perfect forever them that are set apart. Therefore, this blessed name is like honey to the taste, harmony to the ear, health to the soul and hope to the heart. When we attempt to tabulate the treasure, with the weight of wealth, the value of virtue, the measure of merit, and to estimate the excellence, price the perfection, and calculate the comfort contained in His name, we are astounded at the riches of grace and riches of glory that therein reside. Is not the name Jesus a pearl from paradise and a gem from the gloryland? Is it not a sapphire from the heavenly sanctuary of the Most High? Yea, it causes the enlargement before our minds of God's mine of mercy, and enriches greatly His legacy of love. To an undefinable degree, the name enhances the harp of hope, engraces the jewels of joy, embellishes the vessels of virtue, endears the mansions of memories, and ennobles the sweetest of songs. Jesus still stands loftiest in renown, He soars highest in rank and sits chiefest in rule, governing in the power of an endless life, enthroned a Priest forever. (Names and Titles of Jesus Christ)

   Jesus! Name of all names above, Jesus best and nearest,
   Jesus! Fount of perfect love, Holiest, tenderest, dearest,
   Jesus! Source of grace repletest, Jesus choicest, sweetest,
   Jesus! Saviour all divine, Thy name forever, only Thine.

Acts 3:17 "And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.

KJV  Acts 3:17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.

  • I know Acts 7:40; Ge 21:26; 39:8; 44:15; Ex 32:1; Nu 22:6; Ro 11:2; Php 1:22
  • You acted in ignorance Acts 13:27; Nu 15:24-31; Lk 23:34; Jn 7:26,27,52; 16:3; 1 Cor 2:8; 2 Cor 3:14; 1 Ti 1:13
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And now, brethren - He identifies himself with them, which is only reasonable considering he too had temporarily disowned or denied Jesus. 

Albert Barnes makes an excellent point on Peter's use of brethren - Though they had been guilty of a crime so enormous, yet Peter shows the tenderness of his heart in addressing them still as his brethren. He regarded them as of the same nation with himself, as having the same hopes, and as being entitled to the same privileges. The expression also shows that he was not disposed to exalt himself as being by nature more holy than they. This verse is a remarkable instance of tenderness in appealing to sinners. It would have been easy to have reproached them for their enormous crimes; but it was not the way to reach the heart. He had indeed stated and proved their wickedness. The object now was to bring them to repentance for it; and this was to be done by tenderness, and kindness, and love. Men are melted to contrition, not by reproaches, but by love. (Barnes' Notes on the New Testament)

I know (eido) that you acted (prasso) in ignorance, just as your rulers did also - This is a statement literally "dripping" with divine mercy (not giving them what the deserved). In one sense they have had "less" guilt than their evil leaders (but here Peter even shows them mercy!), but they still were not guiltless! Undoubtedly, many of the Jews who went along with the dictates of their religious rulers were not fully award of what they were doing. 

Ignorance (52)(agnoia from the a = not + noéō = to perceive, understand) means literally "not knowing" and so to not have information about— want of knowledge, ignorance. But ignorance is not "bliss" for it leads to mistaken conduct.

(Acts 17:30) “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

(Eph. 4:18)  being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God ( SPEAKS OF GENTILES) because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

(1 Pet. 1:14) - As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance

John MacArthur on the Jewish ignorance - He may be alluding to the Old Testament distinction between willful sins and sins done in ignorance (Num. 15:22-31). Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him, saying "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Paul wrote that if the rulers had understood who Jesus was, "they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor. 2:8). Their ignorance was certainly inexcusable, since the evidence that Jesus was the Messiah was clear from the Old Testament, the words and works of Jesus, and His death and resurrection. Yet, none of them were beyond the reach of God's grace, if they would repent and turn to Christ. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Spurgeon - How like his Master does Peter now speak! Instead of drawing his sword, as he did when he cut off the ear of Malchus, he puts the truth thus mildly: “I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also,”

NET Note on ignorance - The ignorance Peter mentions here does not excuse them from culpability. It was simply a way to say “you did not realize the great mistake you made.”

Albert Barnes on ignorance - Peter does not mean to affirm that they were innocent in having put him to death, for he had just proved the contrary; and he immediately proceeds to exhort them to repentance. But he means to say that that offence was mitigated by the fact that they were ignorant that he was the Messiah. The same thing the Saviour himself affirmed when dying. Luke 23:34. (Cp. Acts 13:27, 1 Cor 2:8). The same thing the apostle Paul affirmed in relation to himself, as one of the reasons why he obtained pardon from the enormous crime of persecution (1 Ti 1:13 = " I acted ignorantly in unbelief.") In cases like these, though crime might be mitigated, yet it was not taken entirely away. They were guilty of demanding a man to be murdered who was declared innocent; they were urged on with ungovernable fury (Lk 23:21+); they did it from contempt and malice; and the crime of murder remained, though they were ignorant that he was the Messiah. (Ibid)

Just as your rulers did also - In 1 Co 2:8 Paul says "the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

Barnes on your rulers - They had expected a prince and a conqueror. All their views of the Messiah were different from the character which Jesus manifested. And though they might have known that he was the Messiah; though he had given abundant proof of the fact, yet it is clear that they did not believe it. It is not credible that they would have put to death one whom they really believed to be the Christ. He was the hope, the only hope of their nation; and they would not have dared to imbrue their hands in the blood of him whom they really believed to be the illustrious personage so long promised, and expected by their fathers. (Ibid)

Rulers (officials) (758)(archon from present participle of archo = to rule) describes  one who has eminence in a ruling capacity, including Jewish leaders (Acts 23:5 = high priest, Lk 8:41 = "an official of the synagogue;" Mt 9:18, 23= ruler over a synagogue) and members of the Sanhedrin (Lk 18:18, 23:13, 35, 24:20).

Millard Erickson on ignorance - One of the New Testament words stressing a cause of sin is agnoia. A combination of a Greek verb meaning “to know” (ginōskō, from gnoō) and the alpha privative, it is related to the English word agnostic. Together with its cognates it is used in the Septuagint to render the verbs שָׁגׇה (shagah) and שָׁגַג (shagag), which basically mean “to err.” Its immediate derivation is from agnoeō, “to be ignorant”. This word is often used in settings where it means innocent ignorance (Ro. 1:13; 2 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 1:22). Some things done in ignorance were apparently innocent in the sight of God, or at least he overlooked them (Acts 17:30). Yet at other points ignorant actions seem to be culpable. Ephesians 4:18 says of the Gentiles: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” In two passages, Acts 3:17 and 1 Peter 1:14, it is questionable whether the ignorance is culpable or innocent. In the former, however, Peter’s immediate appeal to his hearers to repent would suggest responsibility. The one instance of ἀγνόημα is in Hebrews 9:7, referring to the annual visit of the high priest into the Holy of Holies in order to offer sacrifice both for himself and “for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.” These errors or ignorances apparently were such that the people were liable to punishment for them. This was willful ignorance—the people could have known the right course to follow, but chose not to know it. (Christian Theology)

Acts 3:18 "But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

KJV  Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

  • the things which God announced beforehand Acts 17:2,3; 26:22,23; 28:23; Luke 24:26,27,44; 1 Cor 15:3,4; 1 Pe 1:10,11; Rev 19:10
  • all the prophets Ge 3:15; Ps 22:1-30; 69:1-36; Isa 50:6; 53:1-12; Daniel 9:26; Zech 12:10; Zech 13:7
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But the things - What things? The things which actually did occur, specifically in regard to the suffering of the Messiah. Peter goes on to say that these things were not unexpected, but were part of God's predeternined, predestined plan (cf Acts 2:23+, Acts 4:27, 28+).

Paul Apple reminds us that the Jews "stumbled over the cross (1 Cor. 1:22-24) – could not stomach a suffering Messiah – so Peter goes right to the heart of their objection and proves that the sufferings of Christ were consistent with OT prophecies and should have been expected – further intensifying their guilt for rejecting Jesus....The point that especially tripped them up was the aspect of the Suffering of Christ before entering into His glory – this was a necessity and it was literally and completely fulfilled; giving us indication of how prophecies about His Second Coming in glory will be fulfilled."  (The Spread of the Gospel)

Kent adds "The offense of the cross was the great obstacle to Jewish acceptance of Jesus as the Christ."

Which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets - So not only was Jesus THE Prophet, He was the One about whom all the other prophets had prophesied. This passage speaks of God's sovereign, foreordained plan. The ignorance of the Jews was used by God just as He had prophesied. After Peter told them they murdered the only One Who could save them, he says God sovereignly allowed them to kill Him. 

Notice the phrase God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets clearly speaks of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, from God's Spirit, through God's prophets, to the written Word. Fulfilled prophecy is a strong defense of the inspiration of Scripture! Keep in mind that at the time of Acts, the only written Scriptures were the Old Testament, so it was in those writings the fate of Messiah was foretold (cf Lk 24:25-27+).

Related Resource:

Announced beforehand (4293)(prokataggello from pro = before + kataggello = announce, proclaim) literally means to "declare down" before, to foretell (of prophetic utterance) or announce openly with wide distribution. It means to announce before it happens and to declare plainly, openly and loudly! The root verb kataggello was used of solemn religious messages. The only other use (none in Lxx) is by Stephen in Acts 7:52 who boldly asked the Jews "Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become." What a difference a day makes! Peter's similar words brought salvation to many, whereas Stephen's words brought martyrdom! 

Prophets (4396)(prophetes from próphemi = literally to tell beforehand in turn from pró = before, in front of, forth, on behalf of + phemí = speak, tell) is primarily a forth-teller or one who speaks out God’s message, primarily to their own generation, usually always calling the people to God's truth for them at that moment, often using the phrase "Thus saith the Lord." In the present context the while the OT prophets were clearly forth tellers, here Luke focuses on their before telling of events concerning the Messiah. 

That His Christ (Messiah) would suffer He has thus fulfilled - Note "His Christ". Whose "Christ?" Clearly Peter says He is God's One Who has been anointed for ministry. Approximately 25% of God's Word was prophecy at the time it was written, and of that prophecy, about 80% has been fulfilled, this prediction that Messiah would suffer of course referring to Jesus' death. As an aside there is still about 20% of prophecy remaining to be fulfilled. If 80% was fulfilled literally, you can be sure the remaining 20% will be LITERALLY fulfilled (which is why allegorical interpretation or spiritualization of OT prophecies is to be assiduously avoided! Sadly, many in the modern church have willingly accepted the prophecies of Jesus first coming as literal, but fail to hold to the same hermeneutical standard regarding many of the events surrounding His Second Coming! The result is great confusion about prophecy and almost a fear to even diligently study clearly prophetic passages (using a literal approach)! 

So here Peter says that God through His prophets had prophesied in the Old Testament that Messiah would suffer and die, which of course implies He had to become a Man in order to die. (see Ge 3:15; Ps 22:1-30; 69:1-36; Isa 50:6; 53:1-12; Daniel 9:26; Zech 12:10; Zech 13:7)

Suffer (3958) (pascho) means essentially what happens to a person. It means to experience a sensation from an outside source, to undergo an experience (usually difficult) and normally with the implication of physical (or psychological) suffering, in this context of course referring to the suffering of Messiah on the Cross and the horrible mistreatment that immediately preceded His crucifixion.

Although Luke uses the Greek word  Christos for Christ, keep in mind that many if not most of the uses of  Christos are synonymous with the term Messiah. For that reasons a number of Bible translations often use the term Messiah even when the Greek word is Christos (e.g., NLT, GWT, NRSV and CSB all translate Christos as "Messiah" in Acts 3:18). 

Christ (Messiah)(5547)(Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) means one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. The majority of the NT uses refer to Jesus (exceptions = "false Christs" - Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22). Many interpreters over the ages have commented on a possible wordplay between the Greek words for good (chrestos) and Christ (Christos), which as you note differ by only a single Greek letter. Whether a wordplay is intended or not, every believer can personally attest to the truth that Christos is chrestos! The Septuagint occasionally uses Christos to prophetically refer to the coming Messiah. And so in Psalm 2:2 David wrote that "The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed (Hebrew = mashiach/masiah; Lxx = Christos) (Young's Literal = "against His Messiah" Ps 2:2YLT)

Related Resource:

  • Greek word for Messiah = messias

Later in his first letter Peter wrote about the prophets who prophesied of Messiah's suffering

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.(1 Pe 1:10,11+)


He has thus fulfilled - God's "batting average" is 100% fulfilled. The fulfillment was not by chance, but by God's sovereign hand. Of course, Peter is not saying they could use this as an excuse for their sins, for they were still personally responsible for their actions.

Fulfilled (4137) is the verb (pleroo) which literally conveys the idea of totality or a completed state. Here pleroo speaks of God's promises and prophecies as having come to full and final fruition. It is the same word Luke uses to describe the Church in Acts 13:52 writing "the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." God prophesied Messiah would suffer (Ps 22, Ps 69, Isaiah 53) and that prophecy has been completely, perfectly fulfilled.

It is amazing that God was able to use men's negative response to Messiah to bring about a positive result (cf Ge 50:20). Is there some negative situation in your life dear follower of Christ which you think God could not bring about a positive result in some manner? 

John Piper on fulfilled - This means that when God decrees to fulfill some good purpose for us, no amount of opposition from ignorance or godlessness can stop him. He will simply make all opposition and all ignorance serve his purpose....God will one day establish the kingdom of Christ on the earth. (Times of Refreshing and the Restoration of All Things - 1990)

Acts 3:19 "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

KJV  Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

  • Repent Acts 2:38; 11:18; 2 Ti 2:25
  • and return Acts 11:21; 15:3; 26:18-20; 28:27; Ps 51:13; Isa 1:16-20; 6:10; 55:6,7; Jer 31:18-20; Lam 3:40; 5:21; Ezek 18:30-32; Da 9:13; Hos 14:2; Joel 2:13; Mt 13:15; 18:3; Luke 1:16; James 4:7-10; 5:19,20; 1 Pe 2:25
  • so that your sins may be wiped away Dt 4:29-31; 1 Kings 8:48-50; Ps 32:1-5; 51:1-3,9; 103:12; Isa 1:16-18; Isa 43:25; 44:22; Jer 31:33,34; 50:20; Micah 7:18,19; Rev 21:4
  • in order that times of refreshing may come Acts 3:21; 1:6; 17:26; Ps 72:6-19; 98:1-9; Isa 2:1-3; 49:10-22; 51:11; Isa 52:1-10; 54:1-14; 60:1-22; 61:3,9-11; 62:1-5; 65:17-25; Isa 66:10-14,18-22; Jer 31:22-26; 32:37-41; 33:15-26; Ezek 34:23-31; Ezek 37:21-28; 39:25-29; Hosea 2:19-23; Joel 3:16-21; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 7:14,15; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Zech 8:20-23; Ro 11:25; 2 Th 1:7,10; 2 Pe 3:8
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Therefore - Why does Peter use this term of conclusion? What is he concluding? Who has He just been preaching and of what crime has he just accused his Jewish audience? Now we see another of the manifold Scriptural examples of God's amazing grace offered to those who killed God's Son (that is ALL of us). Apple says "Peter moves quickly from the Indictment to the Invitation." (The Spread of the Gospel)

Repent and return - Both of these commands from Peter are in the aorist imperative which conveys the sense "Do this now!" "Do not delay!" "Do not procrastinate!" How could anyone today claim that repentance was not an integral part of a Gospel proclamation? And yet many still do not regard repentance as a vital component in salvation. 

Warren Wiersbe - Peter was actually calling for national repentance, for the nation through its leaders had denied its Messiah and condemned Him to die. The declaration is that, if the nation repented and believed, the Messiah would return and establish the promised kingdom. (ED: ALTHOUGH 2000 REPENTED) The nation did not repent—and certainly God knew this would happen—so the message eventually moved from the Jews to the Samaritans (Acts 8) and to the Gentiles (Acts 10). (Borrow Be Dynamic).(Bolding Added)

David Thompson says "Biblical repentance means that one changes his thinking and mind about what will save him from his sin. To repent means that you come to terms with the fact that only Jesus Christ can save from sin and get you into a relationship with God. There needed to be a change of mind about Jesus Christ. There are some who think we should never preach repentance, but it is a Biblical doctrine and Biblical word. It needs to be preached, but it needs to be preached properly. George Whitefield, one of the most powerful evangelists to ever preach, used to preach “repentance” (a sermon from Whitefield) and he saw some amazing responses. This idea of repentance though is always in a context of stop rejecting Jesus Christ. In other words, one needs to change his mind and thinking about Jesus Christ’s saving work." (Sermon)

Steven Cole asks "What is repentance? It is a change of mind that results in a change of one’s entire life. It means to turn to God from our sin. Spurgeon says that there is no better definition of it than in the children’s hymn: “Repentance is to leave the sins we loved before, and show that we in earnest grieve, by doing so no more.” No matter how terrible your sins have been, if you will repent, you will experience in advance “times of refreshing” from God, because He will wipe away your sins and bless you."

Paul Apple - To “repent” means to have a heartfelt change of mind about sin, to agree with God about the ugliness of their disobedience to God, about the rightness of His standard, about the reality of their own sin. Repentance involves a sorrow over the harmful effects of sin toward God, toward others, and toward self. It involves a decision to turn from sin and to Christ. Just as we receive Christ by repentance and faith we need to continue to walk in the same way as we grow. (The Spread of the Gospel)

Thomas Constable - The Greek noun translated “repentance” (metanoia) literally means “after mind,” as in afterthought, or change of mind. Concerning salvation it means to think differently about sin, oneself, and the Savior than one used to think. Peter’s hearers had thought Jesus was not the Messiah. Now they needed to change their minds and believe He is the Messiah. (Acts 3 Commentary - see his commentary for several additional excellent descriptions of repentance)

Donald Grey Barnhouse defines repentance - Biblical repentance may be described thus: the sinner has been trusting in himself for salvation, his back turned upon Christ, who is despised and rejected. Repent! About face! The sinner now despises and rejects himself, and places all confidence and trust in Christ. Sorrow for sin comes later, as the Christian grows in appreciation of the holiness of God, and the sinfulness of sin. (God's River - Roman 5:1-11, page 202)

The message of John the Baptist was “Repent (present imperative), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 3:2)

The message of Jesus was "Repent (present imperative) for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Mt 4:17, Mk 1:14,15 = "the Gospel")

If Israel as a nation had repented and received Jesus as her Messiah and King, the Kingdom age would have begun. That is why both John and Jesus said the Kingdom was near. But because the nation as a whole rejected Jesus as their Messiah, the coming of the visible Kingdom on earth (the Millennial Kingdom) was placed on hold, so to speak. And so we now live in the interim period between Messiah's two comings. We commonly call this the "Church Age," but when Israel as a nation repents and receives Messiah, Messiah will return as King of kings and establish His promised Kingdom which has now been postponed almost 2000 years. (See below for excerpts from Dr John MacArthur's introductory sermon on Matthew 13 to help understand the concept of the "postponed" Kingdom).

Repent (aorist imperative)(3340)(metanoeo from meta = with, among + noeo = to think, exercise the mind <> from nous = mind - see study = metanoia) means to have another mind. Metanoeo means to change one's mind in respect to sin, God, and self. To turn to God and from sin (Luke 15:7, 10 = "one sinner who repents", cf 1Th 1:9-note; see also Acts 20:21+). Repentance is NOT just an intellectual decision but is accompanied by a change of mind that is shown to be genuine by a subsequent change of one's behavior. This change of mind may, especially in the case of Christians who have fallen into sin, be preceded by sorrow (2 Cor 7:8, 9, 10, 11), but sorrow for sin, though it may cause repentance, is NOT repentance.

Luke's use of metanoeo in Acts 26:20 is very instructive, in this passage Paul speaking about the Gentiles declaring "that they should repent and turn to (epistrepho) God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance." What is the relationship of deeds to repentance? Or to ask it another way, what role do deeds have in evaluating whether repentance is genuine or merely an intellectual change of mind? Note that Acts 26:20 has this same combination of verbs (metanoeo and epistrepho) as used in Acts 3:19.

Darrell Bock writes "the point is that repentance involves a reorientation of perspective, a fresh point of view. When dealing with God's plan, it means to see that plan in a new way and to orient oneself to it. Luke demonstrates the fruit of repentance expresses itself concretely (Lk 3:10-14). Repentance expresses itself in life, especially in how one treats others."

Note that repentance is (in my opinion) not an act separate from faith, but saving faith includes and implies the true change of mind and subsequent lifestyle which is called repentance

Dear reader, you can mark it down in stone that there can be no genuine conversion without genuine repentance.

As A T Robertson pointed out "This word (repent) was the message of the Baptist, of Jesus, of Peter, of Paul, this radical change of attitude and life." 

And notice Who is is that grants repentance...

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Ro 2:4+; see similar descriptions in Acts 5:31 and Acts 11:18)

Comment - Clearly repentance is a gift. And yet in the mysterious, integral inner workings of Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility, men must still make the conscious choice to repent. 

All the uses of metanoeo by Luke - 

Lk. 10:13; Lk. 11:32; Lk. 13:3; Lk. 13:5; Lk. 15:7; Lk. 15:10; Lk. 16:30; Lk. 17:3; Lk. 17:4; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 8:22; Acts 17:30; Acts 26:20

Here are Luke's uses of the related noun metanoia

Lk. 3:3; Lk. 3:8; Lk. 5:32; Lk. 15:7; Lk. 24:47; Acts 5:31; Acts 11:18; Acts 13:24; Acts 19:4; Acts 20:21; Acts 26:20;

Return (aorist imperative)(1994)(epistrepho from epí = motion toward + strepho = twist, turn quite around or reverse) means to revert, to turn about, around or toward, to return and figuratively to convert. Epistrepho is in the active voice, which speaks of making a volitional choice, a choice of one's will. The idea in then is to make a conscious choice to make a definite turn to God in conduct as well as in one's mind. Instead of turning away from God, turn to God, specifically to Jesus the Savior of the world.

Epistrepho is used by Jesus in Mt 13:15 "AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."

Here are other NT uses of epistrepho in the context of a salvation experience...

Acts 14:15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM.

Acts 15:19   “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,

Acts 26:18  to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ 

Acts 26:20   but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,

2 Cor 3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

It is worth noting that epistrepho is used in the Septuagint in several passages that speak of "times of refreshing" for Israel in the end of this age...

He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.  (Micah 7:19+)

Comment - When will God again (Lxx = "He will return" = epistrepho) have compassion on Israel? While there are partial fulfillments every time a Jew accepts Christ, this prophecy ultimately will be fulfilled at the Messiahs' Second Coming when "all Israel will be saved." (ALL that believe). Notice what He will do with their sins - into the sea! And as Corrie Ten Boom said when He does that, He places a sign saying "No Fishing Allowed!"

Moody Bible Commentaryyou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea is the basis for the Jewish custom of Tashlich (which means “you will cast”), when Jewish people cast bread into a body of water on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize God’s removal of sin. His last words recall the unconditional covenant with Abraham (Ge 12:1–3; 15:12–21; 17:1–8). 

“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return (Lxx = epistrepho) to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return (Lxx = epistrepho) to you,” says the LORD of hosts (Zec 1:1-6 3)

Comment - This promise from Jehovah to Israel is partially fulfilled every time a Jewish person accepts Messiah, but will be ultimately fulfilled when the nation of Israel repents and returns during the Great Tribulation (Mt 24:21+), the time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer 30:7+). 

So that - This marks a purpose clause and begs the question (the answer is not always as straightforward as in this passage) what is the purpose? 

Your sins may be wiped away - What a merciful (mercy filled), great and gracious picture Peter presents to sinners who murdered the Messiah. How deep the Father's love for His Chosen People! 

Sins (266)(hamartia) literally conveys the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Hamartia in the Bible signifies a departure from God's holy, perfect standard of what is right in word or deed (righteous). It pictures the idea of missing His appointed goal (His will) which results in a deviation from what is pleasing to Him. In short, sin is conceived as a missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is the Triune God Himself. As Martin Luther put it "Sin is essentially a departure from God." Ryrie adds that sin "is not only a negative idea but includes the positive idea of hitting some wrong mark." John Blanchard aptly describes sin as that which "defiles man and defies God" or as he states in another way "Sin is moral mutiny by man".

Life Application Bible Commentary -  In this case the "eraser" was God, and the "writing" was a list of their sins—not just their sins of killing the author of life, but all their sins (see Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 1:18). (Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts)

Only the soul cleansing blood of Jesus Christ can wash away all of your sins

What can wash away my sin? 
Nothing but the blood of Jesus 
What can make me whole again? 
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Wiped away (1813)(exaleipho from ek = out, intensive, "completely" + aleipho = wipe, cover over, besmear) means literally to completely wipe off. Literally exaleipho means to remove by wiping off, as when a blackboard is erased. The word was applied to the process of obliterating writing on any material. Some of the uses in Scripture retain this literal meaning but most uses speak of a figurative blotting out or wiping off. The idea in all the uses is to cause something to cease by obliterating or eliminating any evidence. Twice in the Revelation God promises He will wipe away every tear. A number of uses in both OT (Septuagint) and the NT use this verb to describe the blotting out or wiping away of sins. Vincent says this verb pictures "Forgiveness of sins under the figure of the erasure of hand-writing." Exaleipho was used by Thucydides of whitewashing a wall. The Septugaint uses exaleipho in David's great psalm of confession of sin...

(After his sin with Bathsheba David prayed) Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness. According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out (Lxx = exaleipho) my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1. cf second use of exaleipho in Ps 51:9 "blot out all my iniquities.")

Spurgeon writes - My revolts, my excesses, are all recorded against me; but, Lord, erase the lines. Draw Thy pen through the register. Obliterate the record, though now it seems engraven in the rock forever; many strokes of Thy mercy may be needed, to cut out the deep inscription, but then Thou has a multitude of mercies, and therefore, I beseech thee, erase my sins."

Isaiah 43:25 (JEHOVAH) “I, even I, am the One Who wipes out (Lxx = exaleipho) your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins. 

Paul uses this verb in Colossians 2:14+ writing...

having canceled out (exaleipho) the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

To understand the word exaleipho is to understand the amazing mercy and lovingkindness of God. The substance on which ancient documents were written was either papyrus, a kind of paper made of the pith of the bulrush, or vellum, a substance made of the skins of animals. Both were fairly expensive and certainly could not be wasted. Ancient ink had no acid in it; it lay on the surface of the paper and did not, as modern ink usually does, bite into it. Sometimes a scribe, to save paper, used papyrus or vellum that had already been written upon. When he did that, he took a sponge and wiped off the writing. Because it was only on the surface of the paper, the ink could be wiped out as if it had never been! God, in his amazing mercy, banishes the record of our sins so completely that it was as if it had never been; not a trace remained. Hallelujah!


In order that - Another purpose clause

John Phillips - The term times of refreshing refers to those Old Testament prophecies that promised that before the return of Christ there would be an outpouring of the Spirit and that many Jews would repent and turn to God in preparation for the millennial kingdom (Dt. 30:1-3+; Joel 2:28-32+; Zech. 12:10-14+). If the Jews had repented then and there, the initial fulfillment of such prophecies, as were evidenced at Pentecost, would have blossomed into a complete fulfillment, and the return of Christ could have taken place within a generation. A few individuals did repent, but the leaders of Israel and the mass of the people both in the homeland and in the Diaspora rejected God's second call (FROM PETER AND THE OTHER APOSTLES) and the ministry of the Holy Spirit as adamantly as they had rejected the ministry of Christ Himself. But the national principle was clear: no repentance, no refreshing. The individual principle was the same: no repentance, no refreshing. Those who did repent came at once into the good of that refreshing poured out at Pentecost. Those who repent today still do. They are baptized into the mystical Body of Christ. (Exploring Acts) (Bolding added)

Kenneth Gangel on times of refreshing -  If the nation would only turn to God for the washing of sins, times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and Jesus would come again. Peter used two unprecedented expressions in these verses. His references to times of refreshing in Acts 3:19 and the time … for God to restore everything (Acts 3:21) have had commentators scratching their theological heads for years. One truth emerges with clarity: prophecy which determined Christ’s death also will determine a time of restoration. It seems that Israel will repent before Jesus comes again, though we probably cannot conclude from the passage that Christ’s return depends upon Israel’s repentance. Meanwhile, Jesus will remain in heaven until the promised restoration (Ps. 110:1). (Holman NT Commentary - Acts) (Bolding added)

Times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord - While this phrase clearly has eschatological overtones that will be fulfilled in the future when Israel as a nation repents (Zech 12:10-14+, Zech 13:1+, Zech 13:8-9+, Ro 11:26+), there is a sense in which it can be wonderfully applied to the life of every sinner who repents and believes the Gospel. And then as we are filled (Eph 5:18+) and learn to walk by His Spirit (Gal 5:16+), we sense His presence, His face, unhindered by unconfessed sin and rebellion, and we are much more likely to experience times of refreshing, times of relief and rest for soul. Indeed, Jesus Himself invited all to...

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (anapauo). 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST (anapausisFOR YOUR SOULS. 30 For (term of explanation) My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30+)

Times (2540)(kairos) means a period of time, frequently with the implication of being especially fit for something. It means a favorable time, the right time for something to take place.  Kairos can refer to a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for or a strategic point in time. In the present context to what do these times refer? Most conservative literal interpreters of Scripture see this as a reference to the future Messianic Age, when Messiah rules and reigns in righteousness and peace (cf "refreshing"), which will occur in period of time (kairos) known as the Millennium

David Thompson - If we put this in the context of having sins washed away, then when you know that Jesus Christ has wiped away your sins, your soul and your spirit will be refreshed. There is nothing more refreshing than to know your condemnatory sins are gone.

Constable - The phrase “times of refreshing” (v. 19) seems to refer to the blessings connected with the day of the Lord, particularly the Millennium, in view of how Peter described them in Acts 3:20–21. They connect with the second coming of Messiah, the “period” of restoration of all things. They are the subject of Old Testament prophecy. Zechariah predicted that the Jews would one day accept Messiah whom they had formerly rejected (Zech. 12:10–14; cf. Jer. 15:19; 16:15; 24:6; 50:19; Ezek. 16:55; Hos. 11:11). Peter urged them to do that now.  (Acts 3 Commentary - see his commentary for several additional descriptions of the meaning of restoration)

Refreshing (403)(anapsuxis from anapsucho from ana = again ~repetition + psucho = breathe) is a noun used only here in the NT (1x Lxx of Ex 8:26 = "relief") and literally means recovery of breath as one might experience as relief from heat as when one is revived by fresh air. Vincent says "The word means cooling, or reviving with fresh air.BDAG adds anapsuxis describes the "experience of relief from obligation or trouble, breathing space, relaxation, relief figuratively of the Messianic age." Thayer says anapsuxis speaks "of the Messianic blessedness to be ushered in by the return of Christ from heaven." 

TDNT on anapsuxis - "This word means “cooling,” “drying out,” “refreshing,” “alleviation,” “relief,” or “rest.” 

Abridged TDNT has a similar but not identical note to the note from the unabridged TDNT below - The only NT instance is in Acts 3:20. The “times of refreshing” are the eschatological age of salvation which comes with Israel's repentance. The context is one of admonition. To the large number of Jews already converted will be added believing Gentiles. The parousia will thus bring the perfecting of Israel. [E. SCHWEIZER, IX, 664-65]

Schweizer in TDNT 9, 665-665 - In the NT the term occurs only at Acts 3:20. As the aorist of the verb and the choice of the noun kairos in the note of time show, we are not to think of mere breaks in the end-time affliction...The context makes sense only if the “times of refreshing” are the definitive age of salvation. The expression is undoubtedly apocalyptic in origin, as is the accompanying phrase “from the face of the Lord.” The reference, then, is to the eschatological redemption which is promised to Israel if it repents....what is said is simply that the times of refreshing and the redemption of all the promises will come only after a further space of time, so that there is still a chance for conversion. An essential point in Luke is that 3000, 5000 and indeed great numbers of Jews are converted, Ac. 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 21:20. As a distinction is thus made between the authentic and the inauthentic Israel, it is also plain that Gentiles who come to faith are adopted into Israel9 and that in this sense the parousia brings the perfecting of Israel.

NET NOTE on times of refreshing - The phrase implies relief from difficult, distressful or burdensome circumstances. It is generally regarded as a reference to the messianic age being ushered in.

David Thompson - God’s sovereign prophetic plan that included Christ’s death will also determine God’s time of refreshing and God’s time of restoration. (Acts 3:21) There are two ways to apply this. Israel may apply this nationally and we may apply this individually. One point is that Israel will repent before Jesus will come again to fulfill national things, and she will be refreshed and blessed as a nation. H. A. Ironside said when Israel finally repents she will become a means of blessing to the whole earth. This time of refreshing will come from the presence of the LORD. But this is also true for the individual. In other words, if you want a refreshing life and an abundant life that is filled with the blessings of God, it starts with changing your thinking about Jesus Christ....Peter says to these men of Israel, if you don’t change your thinking about Jesus Christ, you will weep when your Messiah returns and not rejoice. God will not send His Son back until Israel has had a national repentance. There are certain Messianic truths brought out here specifically for Israel. Now one question arises and it is this: If Israel, as a nation, had repented and believed on Jesus Christ, would He have established her Kingdom on earth? The answer is yes! (Sermon)

From the presence of the Lord - The Lord Jesus Christ is always a Source of refreshing for one's soul. 

Presence (face)(4383) (prosopon from pros = towards + ops = eye, the part around the eye and so the face) means literally toward the eye or face. Of the face of Jesus transfigured (Mt 17:2), of His face spat in (Mt 26:67) and slapped (Mk 14:65). Most of the uses of prosopon refer to one's face ("toward the eye"). In Mt 11:10 (Lk 7:27, 9:52, 10:1) the idiom "before you face" is rendered "ahead of." Mt 16:3 Jesus acknowledges that they can "discern the appearance (face) of the sky?" To fall on one's face is to worship, to acknowledge the worth of the one before whom one falls (Mt 17:6, Lk 17:16, 24:5, Mt 26:39 = Jesus falling on His face to pray to His Father). Jesus said that the angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father Who is in heaven." (Mt 18:10). 

Prosopon expresses the idea of presence (Lk 2:31, Acts 2:28, 3:13, 19, Acts 5:41, 2Cor 2:10, 2Th 1:9, Rev 6:16, 12:14, 20:11 - Webster says presence = a being in company near or before the face of another, approach face to face) In Luke 9:51 Jesus "was determined to go to Jerusalem" which is more literally set or fixed His face, a Semitic (Hebrew) idiom which speaks of an unshakable resolve to do something (cp use of prosopon in Ge 31:21, Isa 50:7). To send ahead is the idiom to send "before one's face." (Mt 11:10, Mk 1:2, Lk 9:52). In Lk 9:51 to "fix one's face" speaks of determination. In Lk 9:53 "traveling toward" is more literally "his face was going." Prosopon is used figuratively to describe the face of the earth (Lk 21:35, cp "appearance" in Lk 12:56, Lxx - Ge 6:7, 7:4 = the face of the land).

Lord (2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign (of Roman emperors - Act 25:26). As related to Jesus, kurios describes Him as possessor of absolute authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power. He is the One to Whom the believer belongs, the One Who is the master of our lives. 

Spurgeon - “Repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out.” After the notable miracle of healing the lame man, when the wondering people clustered around Peter and John, Peter began at once to preach the gospel to them without a single second’s hesitation. Peter came at once to the essence and heart of his message. He did not beat around the bush. He preached Christ, the person of Christ—Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ glorified by his Father. The strength of the Christian witness is when it is saturated with the name and person and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice how often Peter said “you”: “You” handed him over; “you” denied him; “you” killed him; “you” preferred a murderer. Peter is not afraid of being personal; he rather makes them feel their sins. Nor did Peter, after he had enunciated the gospel, neglect to make the personal application by prescribing its peculiar commands—“Repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out.” “Repent” signifies, in its literal meaning, to change one’s mind. But although that is the meaning of the root, the word has come in scriptural use to mean a great deal more. Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, mourning over the fact that one has committed it, and a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a deep and practical character that makes a person love what once he hated and hate what once he loved. “Turn back” refers to conversion, a turning round, a turning from and a turning to—a turning from sin, a turning to holiness—a turning from carelessness to thought, from the world to heaven, from self to Jesus—a complete turning—with the result that “your sins may be wiped out.”

John MacArthur
The Kingdom "Postponed"

Below are excerpts from Dr MacArthur's very informative sermon series on Matthew 13)...

And so as you come to Matthew 13, you can see the shadow of the cross looming in the background.  Already in Mt 12:14, they had sought to destroy Him. They had reached the point of wanting only to kill Him. They have rejected the King. They have rejected His kingdom.  Now, the question that immediately comes into my mind and in the mind of any intelligent reader or any thoughtful reader is this.  If Jesus came to offer the kingdom, if Jesus came to bring His kingdom to earth, to reign and to rule and to establish that which was promised, and they refused Him and refused His kingdom, what happened to the kingdom?  What happens now?  And that is the question answered by Matthew 13.  It tells us what is going to happen....The kingdom cannot come...until the nation of Israel receives the King. And so the kingdom had to be postponed in terms of its full fulfillment....Because they (ED: ISRAEL AS A NATION) rejected the King, the Kingdom in its full fulfillment had to be postponed.  And it had to be postponed to a future time.  What time?  The Second Coming of Christ. That is why Christ is coming a second time, to bring the Kingdom that was refused the first time. He came and His message was, “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand.” (Mt 4:17)  And the message of John the Baptist,His forerunner, was the same. “Repent for the kingdom is at hand.” (Mt 3:2)  And the message of the apostles in Mt 10:7 was the same "‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand." They were preaching the Kingdom, the Kingdom, the Kingdom. And the people said "NO" to the King and "NO" to the Kingdom and the Kingdom therefore was postponed. You say, “Well, why didn’t God just eliminate it altogether?” Because God made a promise to Israel and God keeps His promises. God is a God of His Word. And if God just set the Kingdom aside and said, “Forget it, I gave you one shot at it,” and dropped it, then his prophecies would not come to pass and His Word would be violated. And so, it is postponed until they (ED: ISRAEL AS A NATION) believe.  And the day will come when they do. For example, Zechariah says, “The day is coming when they will look on Him whom they have pierced and they will mourn for Him as an only Son, and at that moment a fountain of salvation will be opened up to the line of Israel and the nation will all be regenerated.” (Zech 12:10) They will be redeemed.  There’s coming a day when they look on the one they’ve pierced and they will have a fountain of cleansing opened to them (Zech 13:1). They will be redeemed. So, "all Israel will be saved," Paul says (Ro 11:26). We know that’s to come and we believe it to come in the time known as the Great Tribulation.  At that time it says in Revelation 7:9, 14+, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands....“These are the ones who come out of the Great Tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  So, you have the nation of Israel redeemed." You have worldwide Gentile salvation and when the Kingdom of God comes into the hearts of men, internally, (ED: THE "INVISIBLE" ASPECT OF THE KINGDOM THAT EXISTS DURING THE CHURCH AGE) then it will realize its full fulfillment, externally, as Christ reigns on the earth for a thousand years in the millennium, spoken of in Revelation 20:4-6+.  And so, when we talk about the full fulfillment of the Kingdom, we mean that Kingdom which comes to pass on the earth both internally, that is in the hearts of believing people, and externally, as Christ rules and reigns as King on the earth. Now, there was a remnant (OF ISRAEL) who received the King (ED: AND HIS KINGDOM) internally. And there are today those who receive the King internally. But someday there will be a massive response, and when the kingdom comes internally at the level that it does in the tribulation time, then it will come externally in the wonderful millennial reign of Christ on the earth for a thousand years. But what happens in the middle? What happens between now and then? This is the period that some theologians have called “The Parenthesis.”  Some have called it “The Interim.”  Some have called it the “Interregnum.”  But it is a period that is not seen in the Old Testament.  And so, Jesus calls it the mystery (Mt 13:11, Mk 4:11, Lk 8:10+), that which was hidden from time past. They (THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS) didn’t see this period of time. That’s why you have to have Matthew 13 because they had no teaching on what it would be like. And so, in Matthew 13, you have a series of eight parables from verse 1 on to verse 52,and in those parables…listen now…Jesus describes the interim period.  He describes that parenthesis in which we live. We’re in that period. And that is what makes this so profound for us, because if we can understand what Jesus says about this period, then we can understand how to be about doing what He wants done in this period, you see? (Read his full message Kingdom Parables, Part 1)

In Kingdom Parables, Part 2 Dr MacArthur writes "Jesus did what John said he would.  He offered a kingdom. He talked of the kingdom. He taught of the kingdom.  And He called people to acknowledge Him as the King. However, by the time you reach Matthew 13, they have rejected the King and they have refused His kingdom. And so we are at a monumental point in redemptive history.  The people of God, called out of the loins of Abraham, who were to be the channel through whom the world would be blessed, who are the channel through whom the kingdom would come and by whose King it would be ruled, these people have refused the King.  And they have refused His kingdom.  And so, as we come to chapter 13, the kingdom is postponed.  The kingdom cannot come when the people of the King refuse the King.  And so the kingdom is postponed to a future time, a later time, a time when the people of Israel will accept the King, will acknowledge His kingdom and thereby receive it in its fullness. The time, then, between the rejection and the return is a time that we call the mystery form of the kingdom because it is a time hidden from all generations past.  In verse 11 of chapter 13, Jesus calls it the mystery. That’s His term.  We have, then, intervening between the rejection of Christ and the return of Christ to set up His kingdom, a period that has never been described in all of revelatory history.  No one has ever known the details of this period of time until chapter 13, and Jesus gives us the first description.  That description is built upon throughout the remainder of the New Testament, but this is where it all begins.

Now, just to give you a little idea of how the Old Testament sees this mystery period, turn with me to the twelfth chapter of the prophecy of Zechariah.  And this will serve as an illustration to us of the fact that indeed this period is a mystery.  In Zechariah 12, 13 and 14, we find the word concerning the conversion of Israel and the establishment of the great Kingdom of the Lord.  But there are several details within that that I want you to note.  Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son,and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.  In that day shall there be a great mourning.” Now, what is this saying?  It’s saying that there’s going to come a day when the people of Israel will look upon the one they pierced (that speaks of the crucifixion) and they will mourn that they ever did that....Now, that tells us that when the King came, He would be rejected.  He would be pierced.  Psalm 22 tells us the same thing. Isaiah 53 again tells us the same thing.  There would be a piercing; there would be a rejection, a crucifixion. But later a mourning over that. But Zechariah, the Psalmist, Isaiah say nothing about the time in between. When the mourning comes though, Zechariah 13:1 adds “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” When they look on the one they have pierced, they mourn in bitterness, they are sorry for their sin of rejecting the King and His kingdom. Then God will pour out the fountain of salvation upon them. And then Zechariah 14:4, “And His feet shall in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in its midst toward the east and toward the west and there shall be a very great valley and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half toward the south.”  This is the (SECOND) coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, splitting open the hillside there, the Mount of Olives. Then it says in Zechariah 14:9, “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord and His name one.”  Now, what do we see?  Zechariah says there will be a piercing, there will be a killing, there will be a rejection. And the prophet saw that. And later on a mourning on the part of the people of God. And then a salvation of the people of God and then the establishment of the Kingdom. But the one thing they never saw was what happens between the rejection and the mourning, what happens between the refusal to receive the King and the time they will receive the King. That is the mystery period,hidden from all generations past, never discussed in the pages of holy writ, until Jesus opens our understanding here in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. 

And now we have that part of redemptive history that’s known as the parenthesis, the interregnum or the interim, filled up in our understanding by the words of our Lord.  Now, let’s go back to Matthew 13 with that in mind.  And you can imagine how important it is that Matthew 13 be where it is.  Anyone reading the gospel of Matthew, anyone moving along in the account of Jesus Christ, seeing Him come as the King and seeing Him refused and His kingdom refused, is immediately going to ask the question what happens now. And if the kingdom is postponed until a future time, when the people of the King will receive the King and the kingdom will then come, what happens in the meantime?  And that is precisely the question answered bythe series of parables in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew.  Each parable describes a particular facet of this period in which we now live known as the mystery form of the kingdom.  Now, we could also say that this is the church age.  That’s just another term for the same period of time.  It will end when Jesus takes the church out, as it began when He called the church into being. (Kingdom Parables, Part 2)

Acts 3:17-26 Times Of Refreshing By Dennis Fisher

Repent … , so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. —Acts 3:19

What do you find most refreshing? A cold drink on a hot day? An afternoon nap? Listening to praise and worship music?

The biblical theme of refreshing has a variety of physical and spiritual meanings. In Scripture we read of refreshment by resting on the Sabbath (Ex. 23:12), with cool water after physical activity (Judg. 15:18-19), by soothing music (1 Sam. 16:23), and with encouraging fellowship (2 Tim. 1:16).

The apostle Peter describes a time of spiritual refreshment that took place on the Day of Pentecost. He exhorted his listeners to repent and respond to the gospel “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). The apostle’s statement was especially meaningful to the Jewish audience with its reference to the millennium when Messiah would rule. But the good news of spiritual life would also be extended to the Gentiles (Acts 10).

Even now as believers we can experience a time of refreshing by quieting our hearts in a devotional time of prayer and Bible reading. When we spend time alone with the Lord, we can experience His peace and joy which renew us in spirit. Aren’t you thankful for these daily times of spiritual refreshment?

A Prayer: Lord, I need my spirit refreshed and renewed today. Speak to me through Your Word that I might hear Your heart, and help me to share my heart with You in prayer. Amen.

When we draw near to God, our minds are refreshed and our strength is renewed. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Acts 3:13-21 Recall Notice By C. P. Hia

Repent … that your sins may be blotted out. —Acts 3:19

In 2010, auto manufacturers recalled a staggering 20 million cars in the US for various defects. The thought of such a large number of defective cars on the road is startling enough. But what is more disturbing is the apathy of some owners. In one instance, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety warned owners, “It’s a free repair. Get it done. It may save your life.” Yet, despite the risk to their own lives, 30 percent never responded.

Likewise, many ignore God’s “recall notice” to the entire human race. Unlike a defect found in automobiles, the moral defect of the human race is not the Maker’s fault. He made everything “very good” (Gen. 1:31), but people’s sin ruined it. God’s offer to us is “repent … that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).

God offers not just a free repair of the human heart but a replacement of it (Ezek. 36:26; 2 Cor. 5:17). Though the offer costs us nothing (Eph. 2:8-9), it cost God the life of His only Son Jesus Christ. “[Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Don’t ignore the Lord’s call. The free and permanent remedy offered by God for your spiritual defect will save your life!

The heart of man is stained by sin,
From Adam’s fall this has been true;
Yet God in Christ can make a change—
Through faith in Him we are made new. —Fitzhugh

For a new start, ask God for a new heart. 

(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Acts 3:20  and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,

KJV  Acts 3:20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

  • Acts 17:31; Mt 16:27; 24:3,30-36; Mark 13:26,30-37; Luke 19:11; 21:27; 2 Th 2:2,8; Heb 9:28; Rev 1:7; 19:11-16
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


This verse is the second of two uses of the Greek conjunction hopos (3704) which (when used with the subjunctive - both come [Acts 3:19] and [Acts 3:20] send are verbs in the aorist active subjunctive) means "in order that" in verse 19 and verse 20. The two phrases in order that mean that something must occur in order for something else to occur. The thing that must occur is for the Jews to repent and return. That is the "condition" so to speak.  When they repent and return two purposes can be fulfilled - (1) times of refreshing (this of course occurs every time a person receives Jesus) and (2) God the Father might then send Jesus, the Messiah Who has been appointed for Israel. What is Peter saying? If the Jews as a nation will repent and return, both of these events would occur. Did the nation repent and return after Peter's sermon? No, only 2000 repented and returned, and yes, they receive personal times of refreshing and they also received the Lord Jesus into their heart, but He did not visibly return. Most of the nation of Israel rejected Peter's offer, and so the ultimate fulfillment of the times of refreshing and the period of restoration awaits the repentance and return of the the nation of Israel, which is prophesied to occur in the last of the last days. Then the Father will send His Son, their Messiah, and He will restore the Kingdom to the nation of Israel in the millennium (the period of restoration). It should be noted that the interpretation of Acts 3:19-21 become very difficult if one does not (1) accept a literal interpretation of the Scriptures and (2) does not accept that God still has a definite plan for the literal nation of Israel. If one deviates on either of these points, the passage becomes makes little sense and is very difficult to parallel with the disciples' question in Acts 1:6 “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Peter who speaks the words in Acts 3:19-21 is one of the men who ask Jesus that question. And now filled with the Spirit and inspired by the Spirit, he gives us an answer to their question. 

Guzik comments "Peter went so far as to say, “that He may send Jesus Christ,” thus implying that if the Jewish people as a whole repented, God the Father would send Jesus to return in glory."

MacArthur writes on times of refreshing... period of restoration of all things - Two descriptions are given to the coming era of the millennial kingdom. This is clear because they bracket the reference to Jesus Christ being sent from God to bring those times. (The MacArthur Study Bible)

Longnecker - Peter goes on to say that if his hearers repent, their repentance will have a part in ushering in the great events of the end time (cf. the idea of purpose expressed in the conjunction hopos, "that," which starts v. 20). (The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 9: John and Acts)

Constable - If Jesus was the Messiah, where was the messianic kingdom? Peter proceeded to explain from Scripture that the Jews needed to accept their Messiah before the messianic kingdom would begin. He again called on his hearers to repent in view of what he had pointed out (cf. Acts 2:38). He also invited them to “return” to a proper relationship to God that was possible only by accepting Jesus. The result would be forgiveness of their sins. Note that there is no reference to baptism as being essential to either repentance or forgiveness in this verse (cf. Acts 2:38).

In his commentary MacArthur adds "It is a truism that there can be no kingdom without the King. Peter told the crowd that if they would reverse the verdict of Passover evening, God would send Jesus, the Christ appointed for them. Our Lord expressed that truth in Matthew 23:39 when He said to the unbelieving city of Jerusalem, "From now on you shall not see Me until (ED: UNTIL IMPLIES THE TIME WILL COME WHEN) you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'" He will not return until after repentant Israel acknowledges Him as their Messiah (Ro 11:26; Zech 12:10-14:9 - See note on "Kingdom Postponed"). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts) (Bolding added)

Life Application Bible Commentary - The "turning" of Acts 3:19 promises two results: (1) the coming of wonderful times of refreshment, and (2) the return of Jesus your Messiah to you again. In other words, the repentance of Peter's audience would have a part in bringing in the marvelous events of the end times. The expressions "times of refreshment" and "the time for the final restoration of all things" are unique to the New Testament. The word for "restoration" (apokatastaseos) means to return something to its original state. It is used of restorative healing (Matthew 12:13; Luke 6:10) and pictures the Messiah's work (Malachi 4:5-6; Mark 9:12; Matthew 17:11; Acts 1:6). Peter explained that a national restoration could happen if the Jews would turn from their sin and to God by accepting Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. (Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts) (Bolding added)

As an aside, it is interesting that in his first sermon, Peter made no mention of the Second Coming of Messiah, but now he does emphasize this truth and links it with their repenting and returning to Christ. 

And that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you - One day in the future God the Father will send His Son, the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One to planet earth a Second Time. And He will send Him to the nation of Israel ("for you"). And why will He then be able to send Him? Romans 11:26-27 says "all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”  27“THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

J Vernon McGee comments - We will find that Peter is going to offer the Kingdom to the nation (ISRAEL) again because at this time the church is 100 percent Israelite. There are no Gentiles from the outside. The Church began with the Jews in Jerusalem. Later, it will go to the ends of the earth. But this, now, is the Jerusalem period. Don’t try to tell me this is another dispensation. We have hyperdispensationalists today who call this another dispensation. It is not different at all. But it is a period of transition. The Lord had said they were to begin at Jerusalem. They were not to begin by going out to the ends of the earth. Now the Kingdom is being offered to Israel again. This will be the final opportunity. What will be some of the identifying marks of the Kingdom? Well, one is that the lame shall leap! “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Isa. 35:6+). Every instructed Israelite going up to the temple that day marveled at this lame man leaping. They knew this could actually be the beginning of the kingdom. The Messiah had been crucified, raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and seated at God’s right hand. If they would receive Him, He would come again. (Thru the Bible Commentary)

Send (649)(apostello from apo = from + stello = to withdraw from) means to send off, to send forth, to send out. Apostello is more than just to send because it means "to send off on a commission to do something as one’s personal representative, with credentials furnished" (Wuest) In John 8:42 Jesus said the "Father...sent Me." In His high priestly prayer to His Father Jesus prayed "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent.." (Jn 17:3) In Jn 20:21 Jesus said to His disciples “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” All of these examples refer to the First Coming of Jesus. But here Acts 3:20 refers to the Father sending Jesus at the Second Coming. In Acts 3:26 Peter said "For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

NET Note on appointed for you - The language points to the expectation of Jesus’ return to gather His people. It is a development of the question raised in Acts 1:6+

Appointed is in the perfect tense signifying the Father has appointed Messiah and that "appointment" still stands. Remember Peter a Jew is addressing an all Jewish audience. The Messiah was appointed in the past to Israel and that offer has never been revoked nor "taken off the table," so to speak. So much for the false teaching of replacement theology, the arrogant, absurd and aberrant view that God is finished with the literal nation of Israel! The Jews would have laughed in the face of the proponents of this genre of teaching in May, 1948 when the United Nations declared Israel a nation after almost 2000 years of non-existence. Such a thing has never been seen in world history. To put it plainly "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." (Ro 11:29+) You can count on it -- Messiah has a future appointment with the nation of Israel and God always keeps His appointments!

Appointed (4400)(procheirizo from procheiros = ready, at hand from  pro = before + cheir = the hand) means literally to hand forth, to take in hand and then to cause to be at hand. Friberg says "strictly handpick beforehand; hence choose in advance = ordain, appoint (Acts 22.14); passive be appointed (Acts 3.20)." BDAG has "to express preference of someone for a task, choose for oneself, select, appoint." 

Gilbrant - In its earliest occurrences in classical Greek, procheirizomai meant to have something “ready, on hand, easily available for use.” It could also describe people who were ready for action, holding themselves in preparation for a task. It had a more common usage: “take into one’s hand, handle, prepare, equip.” A further meaning is “choose” or appoint a person, especially to a government position. Examples from the papyri often use procheirizomai to describe the choosing and recruiting of troops, or the appointment of people as tax collectors or other minor officials (Moulton-Milligan). (Complete Biblical Library)

There are 3 uses in the Septuagint - Ex 4:13; Joshua 3:12; Da 3:22. The Septuagint uses procheirizomai in the sense of electing or naming someone to a task (Exodus 4:13; Joshua 3:12) and often refers to a military appointment.

There are 2 other uses in the NT, both in context of Paul's appointment as an apostle of Jesus...

Acts 22:14 “And he (Ananias to Saul/Paul) said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth.

Acts 26:16 (Jesus to Saul/Paul) But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;

Acts 3:21 Whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

KJV Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

TDNT of Acts 3:19-21 - “That times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah Jesus ordained for you, whom heaven must receive until the time of the restitution of all that of which (or, the establishment of all that which) God has previously spoken through his holy prophets.”

  • Whom heaven must receive Acts 1:11
  • the period of restoration of all things  Acts 3:19; Isa 1:26; Malachi 3:3,4; 4:5,6; Mt 17:11,12; Mark 9:11-13
  • His holy prophets Acts 10:43; Luke 1:70; 2 Pe 1:21; 3:2; Rev 18:20; 22:6
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Whom heaven must receive - This refers to the Messiah sitting at the right hand of His Father in Heaven and thus implies that He must have ascended to Heaven. 

NET NOTE on must - The term must used here (dei, “it is necessary”) is a key Lukan term to point to the plan of God and what must occur.

Barnes has an interesting comment on what Peter meant by the phrase Whom heaven must receive - The common belief of the Jews was, that the Messiah would reign on the earth for ever, John 12:34. On this account they would object that Jesus could not be the Messiah, and hence it became so important for the apostles to establish the fact that he had ascended to heaven. The evidence which they adduced was the fact that they saw Him ascend, Acts 1:9. The meaning of the expression, "whom the heaven MUST receive," is that it was fit or proper dei that He should ascend. One reason of that fitness or propriety He Himself stated in John 16:7 (cp. John 17:2). It was also fit or expedient that He should do it, to...exercise there his office as a Priest in interceding for his people (1 Jn 2:1,2, Heb 7:25, 9:24 Ro 8:34, etc). It is remarkable that Peter did not adduce any passage of Scripture on this subject (THE ASCENSION); but it was one of the points on which there was no clear revelation. Obscure intimations of it might be found in Psalm 16, etc., but the fact that he should ascend to heaven was not made prominent in the Old Testament. The words, "whom the heaven must receive," also convey the idea of exaltation and power; and Peter doubtless intended to say that he was clothed with power, and exalted to honor in the presence of God. (See Ps 115:3; cf 1 Peter 3:22, Acts 2:33).

Must (1163)(dei from deo = to bind or tie objects together, put in prison and also root of doulos, bond-servant) refers to what is not optional but needful (binding) out of intrinsic necessity or inevitability. Dei refers to inward constraint which is why it is often translated "must". Dei describes that which is under the necessity of happening or which must necessarily take place, and as stated above, conveys a sense of inevitability.

Receive (1209)(dechomai) means to accept with a deliberate and ready reception. In the case of the Messiah Who has "having accomplished the work which" His Father had assigned to Him (Jn 17:4) was welcomed with "open arms" into Heaven. 

Until - This expression of time means the present state of Israel will continue, but not forever in unbelief. The new day is coming for Israel. When the Messiah returns and establishes His Kingdom on earth the "until" will be turned into a "then" so to speak. And not just Israel will be affected, but Peter says there will be a restoration of all things! And what is the "key" that unlocks this "until" changing it to a "then?" WHEN Israel repents and returns, THEN Messiah returns and what the disciples had asked Jesus in Acts 1:6+ will be consummated. Recall their question to Jesus was "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring (apokathistemi) the Kingdom to Israel?” And note that the word restoring is the root of the very word Peter uses here (apokatastasis) in Acts 3:21. This is not an accident! Peter's inspired words promising restoration are without question an answer to Acts 1:6. 

At the return of Christ, conditions will be "restored" to an idyllic state, presumably similar to the Garden of Eden, and yet even in these "near perfect" conditions with a Perfect Reigning Messiah, men are still born into sin and rebel against the Messiah ["nations" in Rev 20:8+]. Peter is not describing the the new heavena and the new earth, which follow Christ's 1000 year reign when "heaven and  earth fled away" (Rev 20:11+, Rev 21:1+). The reference to restoration of all things is to the  millennial kingdom. Jesus' disciples were interested to know when this time would come to pass (Mt 24:3+, Acts 1:6+). 

The period of restoration of all things - Peter is not saying all souls will be restored or saved as is taught in the false doctrine of universalism. (e.g., Mt 25:41). For example, Mormons say this passage points to a restoration of the church (through Joseph Smith) following total apostasy.

Horton - The time of restoration refers to the coming age, the Millennium, when God will restore and renew, and Jesus will reign personally on the earth. The prophesied restoration includes a further outpouring of the Spirit on the restored kingdom. (Acts: A Logion Press Commentary)

John MacArthur writes "The period of restoration of all things is another name for the future earthly reign of Christ, the millennial kingdom. It is reminiscent of our Lord's description of the kingdom as the "regeneration" (Mt 19:28). It is then that the apostles' question in Acts 1:6+ will be answered (cf. Mark 9:12). The kingdom will be marked by peace, joy, holiness, the revelation of God's glory, comfort, justice, knowledge of the Lord, health, prosperity, and freedom from oppression. The universe will be dramatically altered in its physical form (Joel 2:30, 31+; Joel 3:14-16+; Rev. 16:1-21+) as the curse on man and his world is reversed. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Anderson - It was not that the nation would never see their Messiah again. God would send the Redeemer to Zion, but meanwhile the heavens must receive Him; the Forerunner has entered in (Heb 6:20), now seated "on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Heb 8:1). To state clearly the time when they would see the Lord Jesus again, Peter points forward to "the times of restitution of all things". It is not normal to express the truth of the coming of the Messiah in this way. Previously Peter, like the writer to the Hebrews, had stated that He would be there in the heavens until His enemies would be made His footstool, but there he treats the subject more positively. The phrase "until the times of restitution of all things" is a description of the future reign of Christ. It implies the principle of restitution or restoration to which Moses' law paid such attention in Ex 22. It is then that the kingdom will be restored to Israel in fulfillment of the answer to the apostles' question in Acts 1:6. It is then that the related question of Elias coming and restoring all things will be fulfilled (Mark 9:12). When God's King reigns, everything that is out of place in the world will be restored to its proper place. Israel and all the nations will be back where they belong. Every principle of good and evil will be where it belongs, namely, truth on the throne and wrong on the scaffold. Peter adds that God had been speaking about this golden age by all the holy prophets since the world began, although he realised that there had also been false prophets among the people (2 Pet 2:1; Jer 5:31). (What the Bible teaches - Acts and James)

W A Criswell - In conjunction with the consummation of the ages and the return of Christ, all things will be "restored" to their original perfection as in the Garden of Eden. This is a reference to the kingdom or millennial era (cf. Ro. 8:19-22).

Moody Bible Commentary - Cognate verbs of the noun restoration (apokatastasis = restitution of a thing to its former condition) are used in the LXX for the eschatological restoration of Israel as a national entity (Jer 15:19; 16:15; Ezek 16:55; Hos 11:11) (Longenecker, “Acts”, 297). Though Christ had taught his followers more about the Kingdom of God in the 40 days between His resurrection and ascension, Peter and the apostles still anticipated a literal, geo-political messianic kingdom that would be inaugurated with the visible return of Christ to earth. Peter’s expectation favored a literal kingdom for regenerated Israel with Messiah Jesus ruling on the throne of David over them and the world. According to Peter, this offer was for Israel and will be fulfilled whenever the nation turns in faith to Jesus as their Messiah and Lord (cf. comments at Zech 12:10; Mt 23:37–39; Ro 11:25–27). (Moody Bible Commentary) (Bolding added)

John McLean has a well done discussion answering the question "Did Jesus Correct the Disciples’ View of the Kingdom?" (Bibliotheca Sacra - 151, April, 1994). The interested reader is directed to that article for McLean's in depth answer (to read the full article does require a small fee of $5/month). Here is McClean's conclusion -

Throughout the Gospels Jesus corrected the disciples’ and others’ false ideas on a number of occasions. But He did not correct the disciples in Acts 1:6–8; therefore it must be concluded that their perception of a future kingdom was correct. The disciples’ conceived of a future national kingdom for ethnic Israel in which they will reign with Christ. This restoration was shaped by the writings of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets, which anticipated a fulfillment of the Davidic kingdom that will be literal, political, geographical, and national. Peter’s sermon in Acts 3:12–26 evidences his continued belief that this national kingdom would be restored. Therefore believers should anticipate not only the second coming of Jesus Christ but also His establishment of a future kingdom for the nation Israel.

McLean adds that "Even Lenski, who does not accept a future for national Israel, maintains that the disciples thought of a glorious earthly rule for Israel, the Jewish people, through Jesus, the Messiah, when He would return." Here is Lenski's statement...

The fact that the kingdom is, indeed, to be restored to Israel is taken for granted. The scepter had, indeed, sadly departed from Judah—would it now be restored in Shiloh, in Jesus? Luke 24:21: “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” There is a difficulty to determine exactly what the apostles had in mind when they asked this question. We venture to say that they thought of a glorious earthly rule for Israel, the Jewish people, through Jesus, the Messiah, who would soon return in his Parousia

It is interesting that Bob Utley who likewise does not accept a future for national Israel makes a similar statement regarding the apostles' question writing that "The OT prophets predict a restoration of a Jewish kingdom in Palestine centered in Jerusalem where all the nations of the earth gather to praise and serve a Davidic ruler." (Utley's remarks - Roman numeral I, letter E) This is an amazing "admission" of the truth of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the nation of Israel by a writer who firmly disavows any future for the nation! 

Lange (a German theologian in the 1800's) commented on the Kingdom in Acts 1:6 - The kingdom which is the object of their hope, is a kingdom of Israel, a theocratic kingdom, deriving its existence and reality from the Messiah, and intended to give liberty, greatness and dominion to the people of Israel, who were at the time oppressed by a heavy yoke. The apostles believe that they are almost authorized by the words now pronounced by the Lord, to hope for an early restoration of this kingdom. (Comment: So here is a writer who is not a "dispensationalist" who reads the text literally and interprets the apostles' question as referring to a kingdom in which literal Israel would be the head nation. A far cry from modern replacement theologians who are forced to allegorize or spiritualize numerous passages related to the nation of Israel.) 

Restoration (605)(apokatastasis from apokathistemi = restoring, same word used by disciples in Acts 1:6+) means a restoration of a thing to its former situation, as one might do with the restoration of a dislocated limb to its former position (see Kocher's method of relocating a dislocated shoulder - see the root verb used in Mt 12:13, Mk 3:5, Lk 6:10+). In Josephus, (Antiquities 2.3.8) the the verb is used to denote the return of the Jews from the captivity of Babylon, and their restoration to their former state and privileges. The verb also conveys the sense of consummation, completion, or filling up (as in Philo, Greek classics). So one might paraphrase Peter as describing the "consummation or filling up of the times" which in the context speaks of all the events that had been foretold by the prophets. 

Apokatastasis gives us our English word apocatastasis which means  reconstitution, restitution, or restoration to the original or primordial condition.

Vincent on apokatastasis - As a technical medical term, it denotes complete restoration of health; the restoring to its place of a dislocated joint, etc. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Apokathistemi is used by Jesus in Matthew 17:11 "And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore (apokathistemi) all things."

Compare a similar word paliggenesia used by Jesus in Matthew 19

And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration (paliggenesia) when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.(Mt 19:28)

Comment: This is clearly the Millennial Kingdom! Some like the ESV Study Bible equate Jesus' description with the New Heaven and New Earth and skip over the glorious Messianic Kingdom. I agree with John MacArthur who equates Jesus description with Peter's description in Acts 3:21 adding "This is a reference to the earthly kingdom described in Rev 20:1-15, when believers will sit with Christ on His throne (Rev 3:21)." (MacArthur Study Bible)

It is interesting that the ESV Study Bible comment on restoration of all things in Acts 3:21 states that this phrase "looks forward to when Christ will return and His Kingdom will be established on earth, and the earth itself will be renewed even beyond the more abundant and productive state it had before Adam and Eve’s fall (see note on Rom. 8:20-21)." (Bolding mine)

It is interesting also that a respected commentary like Preaching the Word - Acts by R Kent Hughes has no comment on Acts 3:17-26 and also no comment on Acts 1:6, both of which have eschatological implications for the nation of Israel! Interesting!

Spiros Zodhiates has an excellent discussion of apokatastasis - Occurs only in Acts 3:21 where the restitution of all things is to be understood as the day of judgment and of the consummation of the age when the Lord will return. The relative pron. hón, translated "which" in the phrase "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began," does not refer to pántōn, "of all things." If it did, it would limit pántōn, i.e., this restoration would concern not all things, but only those things spoken by God through the mouth of His saints. The relative pron. hón in the masc. gen. pl. must, therefore, refer to the times of restoration and be taken as its attribute. An understandable translation then would be "whom [the ascended Christ] the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, of which [times of restitution] God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets" (a.t.)....It is at that time that life will be restored to the bodies of the dead, and the image of God in man, defaced by Adam's fall, will be perfectly renewed in righteousness. This is a restoration not only of the image of God in man, but also of the recognition of God in nature and by man for all that He rightly is, a wise God who governs the affairs of men. God's power and justice will be recognized once again. He will then render to each person according to his works (2 Cor 5:10). At that time the veracity of God's predictions will be proven (2 Pe 3:3, 4). Apokatástasis may be taken as syn. with paliggenesia, regeneration, in its application (Mt 19:28). Although the believer enjoys Christ's salvation on this earth, it is not complete in view of the fact that man is still in his mortal body and the environment in which he lives has been tainted by sin. Both the body and the environment will one day be changed completely for this restoration to take place (Ro 8:23; Rev. 21:1) when a qualitatively new (kainé) heaven and earth (gé) are going to be created. (Borrow The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Gilbrant on apokatastasis -  Classical Greek - The noun apokatastasis is derived from the verb apokathistēmi, which originally meant “to bring something back to an earlier condition.” Generally it stood for “reestablishing” or “restoring” something. The verb is used, for instance, for “returning” something borrowed or of people being “restored” to health. Later, the word came to denote the “renewal of the world.” In the secular Greek the noun form apokatastasis refers to the return of lost property, the release and return of hostages, the restoration of health after sickness, the repair of a road, and the restoration of a political order. During the classical and Hellenistic periods the term acquired a technical sense in astronomical terminology where it was used in the language of cosmological speculations. Oepke contends that the word became a technical term for the completion of a cosmic cycle (“apokathistēmi,” Kittel, 1:390). The prevailing opinion among the Stoics was that the universe developed through an endless series of cosmic periods. Apokatastasis thus always signified the end of one such period and the beginning of another. Related to this understanding is the usage of the term to describe the return of constellations to their original positions (ibid.). In later Neoplatonism apokatastasis was also called upon to refer to the restoration of the soul of an individual. But this cannot easily be transferred to Biblical soteriology because the Hellenistic concept of salvation in itself stands so far from the Biblical concept that no link is possible. Septuagint Usage The noun apokatastasis does not occur in the Septuagint, but the verb form is found in a number of texts. In nonreligious contexts the word covers a wide range of meanings. But the primary meaning of the word is equivalent to the Hebrew term shûv, “to return; to bring back, restore.” The most important role played by the term is its part in messianic and eschatological expectation. Frequently apokathistēmi is associated with Israel’s expectation that it would be “restored” to its homeland (Jer 16:15; 23:8; 24:6; cf. Jer 15:19; Ezekiel 16:55; passim, the Old Testament). Jewish translators of Aramaic use apokathistēmi as an equivalent of tûv, “to return.” The noun apokatastasis occurs very infrequently in Hellenistic-Jewish documents. Philo of Alexandria used the term in connection with Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, but he also gave the word a more mystical/platonic sense by associating it with the restoration of the human soul. Josephus employed apokatastasis in describing the “return” of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity (Antiquities 11.3.8). (Complete Biblical Library)

About which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time - Note this clear statement that the Scripture is God's Word. In other words when the prophets spoke, God spoke. Today when you read the Word, don't do so lightly, but remember that when you read the Word, you are literally hearing the Words of God! Indeed, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. (2 Ti 3:16) Beloved, the restoration of Israel and all things has been foretold by the prophets, God's "mouthpieces," in the Old Testament. And just as He fulfilled His prophecies in Messiah's first coming (Acts 3:18), God will fulfill His prophecies in Messiah's Second Coming - all things will be restored! Hallelujah!

What Peter is saying in essence is that the things that Peter was saying were not new revelations but had been predicted by God's prophets in the Old Testament. In fact the prophets gave many very specific descriptions of the period of restoration of all things in describing the future Messianic kingdom. 

Related Resources:

His holy prophets - These were men set apart by God and for God's holy purposes. They were God's true prophets in contrast to the false prophets (pseudoprophetes) described in the Old Testament. 

Prophets (4396)(prophetes from próphemi = literally to tell beforehand in turn from pró = before, in front of, forth, on behalf of + phemí = speak, tell) is primarily a forth-teller or one who speaks out God’s message. 

NET Note - What that restoration involves is already recorded in the Scriptures of the nation of Israel.

Norman Giesler - What then does “the restoration of all things” mean? Peter is speaking here to the Jews and makes reference to the “restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Peter said it is referring to the “covenant which God made with our [Jewish] fathers, saying to Abraham, `And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed’ ” (Acts 3:25). This Abrahamic covenant was unconditional and included the promises of possessing the land of Palestine “forever” (Gen. 13:15). It is to the future fulfillment of this Abrahamic covenant that Peter refers. It is the restoration of all things to Israel, not to the salvation of all people (see also comments on Rom. 11:26–27). (When Critics Ask - Acts 3:21—Will all things be restored to God or just some things?)

Steven Cole - After Peter’s indictment of his audience, you would expect him to say, “You’re all going to burn in hell for crucifying Jesus,” and walk off and leave them. But rather, he exhorts them (Ac 3:19), “Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away.” If they would repent, God would send Jesus to bring times of refreshing and to restore all things (Ac 3:19, Ac 3:21), a reference to the millennial kingdom. There will be a major revival in Israel just before the return of Christ (Mt 23:39; Ro 11:26; see Zec 12:10; Zec 14:9). He tells them that God sent His Servant Jesus “to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways” (Ac 3:26). If God is so gracious as to offer forgiveness and His kingdom blessings to those who crucified His Son, then surely He offers grace to every sinner who will repent. The apostle Paul was the chief of sinners, but he found mercy, so that in him as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life (1Ti 1:15-16). God sent His Servant Jesus to bless you, by turning you from your wicked ways! (How to Proclaim the Gospel)

G Campbell Morgan on restoration of all things - If we take these words as applicable to the house of Israel, at once the sequence is seen. The restoration of all things is intimately associated with the coming of Christ to the house of Israel, the Messiah for them, and to them; and His coming to them waits for the repentance and turning to Him of  the  house  of  Israel. Or, to take it in the other order, when the house of Israel repents and turns to Jehovah,  then the sins of  the  house of Israel will be blotted out; and then there will come to the house of Israel seasons of refreshing from the pres­ence of the Lord; then there will come through the house of Israel the restoration of all things, and that in con­nection with the advent of Messiah. We speak of it as a second advent, but it will be the  first  advent  in  which He will be received  by His own  people. If  I  am  asked if I believe that what Peter  expected  will  be so, with­out any hesitation, I  say Yes. I do not think Israel is a lost and abandoned nation. I believe that Israel is to be found and gathered together. It is because I so  believe, that I cannot accept any theory that robs Israel of its present living identity, and merges it in some other nation. Israel will yet repent and turn to  Him,  and  He will blot out their sins. Until  this  time  there  has  been no repentance of Israel; but there will be a day of re­pentance, and a day of turning to Him (ED: e.g., See Zechariah 12:10-14+). What, for us, is the teaching of this address, delivered so distinctly and particularly to the house of Israel? It seems to me there are three lessons as to the economy of God. First, that His ancient purposes are unchanged; secondly, that the restoration of all things waits the Advent of Jesus; and thirdly, that  this  will  be the  time of the recovery of Israel. (Acts of the Apostles - 1924)

Wikipedia on restoration of all things - The usual view taken of Peter's use of the "apokatastasis of all the things about which God spoke" is that it refers to the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel and/or the Garden of Eden and not "all things that ever existed." (ED: Even Wikipedia's comments are more accurate than many modern evangelical comments!)

HCSB Study Bible note - Early Christians looked with expectation to the second coming of Jesus and the restoration of all things that accompanies the establishment of His earthly kingdom. God had foretold the time of "restoration" through the prophets, starting as far back as Moses (Acts 3:22; see also Ro 8:18-25).

There is a chapter in the book The Gospel as Center Renewing Our Faith and Reforming Our Ministry Practices (Edited by D. A. Carson & Timothy Keller) entitled The Restoration of All Things a most promising title, but it fails to deliver! It is written by a well known pastor Sam Storms and sadly when one reads his chapter, although he does at least make some mention of Israel, he gives absolutely no suggestion that the question the disciples of Jesus asked in Acts 1:6 (see commentary) will be answered with restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. Sadly, this genre of teaching by names that are greatly respected in evangelicalism (note the editors of the book) has gained increasing traction and avoids attempting to answer the question of the disciples "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”  It is very important to note that Jesus did not correct His Jewish disciples, "You are mistaken, for the Kingdom will be given to the Church (as implied in Storms' article!) and not to the nation of Israel when she experiences national repentance." Beloved, God is is a covenant keeping God and He is not finished with the nation of Israel, and to suggest that He is finished requires one to twist many Scriptures that are prophetic promises to Israel (such as Acts 3:19-26). Dear reader, do not believe everything you read, even if the names of the authors are famous! (See Wikipedia on Supersessionism)


KJV  Acts 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.

  • Moses Acts 7:37; Dt 18:15-19
  • A prophet Luke 13:33; 24:19; John 8:12; 12:46; Rev 1:1
  • from your brethren Ro 8:3; 9:5; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:9-17
  • like me Dt 18:18
  • To Him you shall give heed Isa 55:3,4; Mt 17:4,5; Mark 9:4-7; Luke 9:30-35; John 1:17; 5:24,39-47; Heb 1:1,2; 2:1; 5:9
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Moses said - Literally this reads more like the KJV "Moses truly" or like Young's Literal which has "Moses indeed..." Our English word "indeed" conveys the sense of "in truth" (often tends to intensify) or "used for adding a statement that supports and increases the effect of what you have just said."

Peter had just said God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3:22) and now proceeds to give them a specific example, using Israel's greatest prophet through whom God spoke about the coming Messiah. 

As Barnes says "The authority of Moses among the Jews was absolute and final. It was of great importance, therefore, to show not only that they were not departing from his Law, but that he had actually foretold these very things. The object of the passage is to prove that...He was truly the Messiah." (Note)

THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN - Peter is quoting from Dt 18:15 a passage that was familiar to his audience, one that they should have understood as a prophecy of the Messiah.

We see that throughout Jesus' ministry Jews questioned whether He was the Prophet about Whom Moses had prophesied. 

(Jn 1:21) They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

(Jn 1:25) They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

(Jn 6:14) Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Comment - Jesus' miraculous provision of bread would have reminded the Jews of the "manna" God provided in the wilderness journey and in this context the Jews considered Him to be the Prophet, i.e., the Messiah, but their subsequent withdrawal demonstrated (Jn 6:66) they did not understand what "Messiah" really meant. They were looking for an earthly provider and one who would deliver them from the rule of Rome and not from the bondage of sin! And so they clearly did not recognize Jesus as God, nor the purpose for which He came. 

(Jn 7:40) Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.

Adam Clarke - From this appeal to Moses it is evident that Peter wished them to understand that Jesus Christ was come, not as an ordinary prophet, to exhort to repentance and amendment, But as a legislator, who was to give them a new law, and whose commands and precepts they were to obey, on pain of endless destruction. Therefore they were to understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was that new law which should supersede the old. (Note)

Will raise up (450)(anistemi) means literally to cause to stand again, and was used by Peter in Acts 2:24+ to describe the resurrection of Jesus. In Acts 3:22 and Acts 3:26 anistemi conveys the sense of God appointed or commissioned Jesus for a specific role, Acts 3:26 stating that role was "to bless you (Israel, Jews - by application of course to Gentiles) by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” Sadly, most them rejected His offer. In this sermon Peter is giving His Jewish hearers a "second chance" so to speak, but he warns them that if they reject Him again the only thing left for them is utter destruction (Acts 3:23)!

Jesus was a Prophet (prophetes) Who while Himself God, nevertheless submitted to His Father and spoke for God with clarity, power and authority. Jesus repeatedly emphasized that what He spoke, He spoke from the Father. For example He said "I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world....I speak the things which I have seen with My Father...For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak....The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works...for the words which Thou gave Me I have given to them (the disciples). " (Jn 8:26, 38, 12:49, 14:10, 17:8) In short, when Jesus spoke as a Prophet, He spoke for God and from God. Stated another way, the Father spoke through Him. Jesus' instructions are therefore to be received as a communication from the Father.

Like me - Like Moses, but of course not in every way, but only "in being able to make known to them the will of God, and thus preventing the necessity of looking to other teachers. The resemblance between Moses and the Messiah should not be pressed too far. The Scriptures have not traced it further than to the fact that both were raised up by God to communicate his will to the Jewish people, and therefore one should be heard as well as the other." (Barnes)

Horton on like me - In what way was Jesus like Moses (ED: THESE EXAMPLES ARE ACTUALLY MORE CONTRASTS THEN LIKENESSES)? God used Moses to bring in the old covenant; Jesus brought in the new covenant. Moses led the nation of Israel out of Egypt and brought them to Mount Sinai where God brought them to himself—into a covenant relation with himself (Ex 19:4-5). Jesus, by shedding His blood, became the new and living (resurrected) way whereby we can enter into the very holiest presence of God (Heb 10:19-20). Moses gave Israel the command to sacrifice a lamb; Jesus is Himself the Lamb of God. God used Moses to perform great miracles and signs. Jesus performed many more miracles and signs—but most of His were signs of love rather than of judgment. (See Heb 3:3-6, which proclaims the superiority of Christ to Moses.) (Acts: A Logion Press Commentary)

From your brethren - The Prophet will be a Jew born from and among Jews. As Barnes says "On this account it was to be presumed that they would feel a deeper interest in him, and listen more attentively to his instructions."

TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you - Give heed is the verb that normally means to hear (akouō), but in this context is used to  indicate that the Jews were not just to hear Jesus speak, but to obey what He spoke. To heed in English means "to pay close attention to" or "to consider someone's advice or warning and do what they suggest" (MacMillian British Dictionary) That was true for Israel then and it is true for us today, so as we "hear" Jesus speak in the Scriptures, we are "heed" what we hear.

This call to hear and heed reminds us of Jesus' warning at the end of His Sermon on the Mount (the words the Jewish crowd had just heard)...

"Therefore everyone who hears (akouō) these words of Mine, and acts upon them (HEEDS THEM!), may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. 25  "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears  (akouō) these words of Mine and does not act on them (DOES NOT HEED THEM!), will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27“The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” (Mt 7:24-27+)

NET Note adds that  give heed is the Greek verb "hear, but the idea of “hear and obey” or simply “obey” is frequently contained in the Greek verb (akouō) and the following context (v. 23) makes it clear that failure to “obey” the words of this “prophet like Moses” will result in complete destruction.

Acts 3:23 'And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'

KJV Acts 3:23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.

  • that every soul Acts 13:38-41; Dt 18:19; Mark 16:16; John 3:18-20; 8:24; 12:48; 2 Th 1:7-9; Heb 2:3; 10:28-30,39; 12:25; Rev 13:8; 20:15
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And it will be that every soul that does not heed that Prophet - Peter has boldly proclaimed the good news and now warns the Jews that if they failed to believe in the Prophet, Jesus Christ, the only alternative was to experience eternal separation from those who did enter the New Covenant.

They must heed His warnings such as in the Gospel of John

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (Jn 8:24)

He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. (Jn 12:48)

A T Robertson - They had refused to "hearken" to Moses and now, alas, many had refused to "hearken" to Christ. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

Every soul - So here Peter expands his warning from the Jewish audience to every person ever born. To fail to heed Jesus in time is to succeed in going to Hell for eternity!

Paul uses the same phrase every soul in issuing a similar warning in Romans 2

 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, (Ro 2:9+)

That Prophet - In context this is clearly Jesus Christ, God's final Prophet who has given God's final word to every soul of mankind, as the writer of Hebrews declared...

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son (THE PROPHET LIKE MOSES), Whom He appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the world. (Heb 1:1-2+)

Heed is the same verb (akouō) as used in the previous passage (see comments there). One is reminded of the warning from Jesus' brother James

But prove (present imperative) yourselves doers (poietes) of the word, and not merely hearers (akroates) who delude (deceive, fool - paralogizomai)  themselves. (James 1:22+)

And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet - Peter is quoting from Dt 18:19 - it is not a direct quote but conveys a similar sense.  

‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen (Heb = shama; Lxx = akouō) to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him (i.e., I WILL PERSONALLY HOLD HIM RESPONSIBLE - AND LXX ADDS "I WILL TAKE VENGEANCE ON HIM").(Deut 18:19)

Comment  - "I will require it of him" - The idea is "I will hold him answerable or responsible for it; I will punish him."  God is saying in essence "I will personally hold him responsible." The Septuagint adds "I will take vengeance on Him" which is a good parallel with Peter's description that those who refuse to heed will "be utterly destroyed."

Peter also seems to be alluding to a description in Leviticus 23:29, especially the Septuagint which uses the same verb (exolothreuo) as Peter uses in this verse...

“If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off (Lxx  = exolothreuo) from his people. (Lev 23:29)

Shall be utterly destroyed from among the people - Note the two related consequences of rejecting the Prophet, the Messiah - (1) destruction and (2) separation. The phrase from among the people speaks of being cut off or being irrevocably separated from God's people, God's family.

Paul described this utter destruction and separation not just from among the people but worst of all from God Himself...

For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus (COMPARE "EVERY SOUL THAT DOES NOT HEED THE PROPHET"). 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction (olethros), away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Th 1:6-9)

Shall be utterly destroyed (1842)(exolothreuo from ek = intensifies meaning of + olothreuo = to destroy) utterly destroy, root out, completely cut off, to eliminate by destruction, all indicative of a serious action. The word never means cessation of existence or extinction but a change in state which involves judgment! 

How "utter" is this destruction? Let's look at the derivation to get a sense of the meaning. Exolothreuo is derived from the root noun olethros (from verb = ollumi = to destroy) which describes a state of utter and hopeless ruin and the end of all that gives worth to human existence! Do not confuse this with a state of annihilation (or non-existence such that there is no longer an actual personal perception) for olethros signifies an unavoidable, very real experience of distress and torment! The destruction Paul warns about is a time of unavoidable distress, disaster and ruin. This destruction will not be a loss of being but rather a loss of well-being. The idea of olethros is to suffer the loss of all that gives worth to existence. Let us read that last line again and may it cause us to weep for all God's Chosen People and for all of our friends and relatives who make the fatal choice to reject the Prophet Jesus!

Exolothreuo Uses in Septuagint - Gen. 17:14; Exod. 8:24; Exod. 12:15; Exod. 12:19; Exod. 30:33; Exod. 31:14; Lev. 17:4; Lev. 17:9; Lev. 17:14; Lev. 18:29; Lev. 19:8; Lev. 20:17; Lev. 20:18; Lev. 22:3; Lev. 23:29; Lev. 26:30; Num. 9:13; Num. 15:30; Num. 19:20; Deut. 1:27; Deut. 2:34; Deut. 3:6; Deut. 4:38; Deut. 6:15; Deut. 7:4; Deut. 7:10; Deut. 7:17; Deut. 7:23; Deut. 7:24; Deut. 9:3; Deut. 9:4; Deut. 9:5; Deut. 9:8; Deut. 9:14; Deut. 9:19; Deut. 9:20; Deut. 9:25; Deut. 9:26; Deut. 10:10; Deut. 12:29; Deut. 12:30; Deut. 18:12; Deut. 20:19; Deut. 20:20; Deut. 28:20; Deut. 28:45; Deut. 28:48; Deut. 28:61; Deut. 28:63; Deut. 31:3; Deut. 31:4; Deut. 33:19; Jos. 2:10; Jos. 7:25; Jos. 9:24; Jos. 10:1; Jos. 10:28; Jos. 10:32; Jos. 10:37; Jos. 10:39; Jos. 10:40; Jos. 11:11; Jos. 11:12; Jos. 11:14; Jos. 11:20; Jos. 11:21; Jos. 13:6; Jos. 13:12; Jos. 13:13; Jos. 14:12; Jos. 15:14; Jos. 17:12; Jos. 17:13; Jos. 17:18; Jos. 22:33; Jos. 23:4; Jos. 23:5; Jos. 23:9; Jos. 23:13; Jos. 23:15; Jos. 24:8; Jdg. 1:17; Jdg. 1:19; Jdg. 2:3; Jdg. 4:24; Jdg. 6:26; Ruth 4:10; 1 Sam. 2:31; 1 Sam. 2:33; 1 Sam. 15:3; 1 Sam. 15:9; 1 Sam. 15:15; 1 Sam. 15:18; 1 Sam. 15:20; 1 Sam. 24:21; 1 Sam. 28:9; 2 Sam. 4:11; 2 Sam. 7:9; 2 Sam. 21:5; 1 Ki. 2:4; 1 Ki. 9:15; 1 Ki. 11:15; 1 Ki. 11:16; 1 Ki. 12:24; 1 Ki. 15:29; 1 Ki. 16:33; 1 Ki. 18:5; 1 Ki. 21:21; 1 Ki. 21:26; 2 Ki. 9:7; 2 Ki. 9:8; 2 Ki. 18:4; 2 Ki. 23:14; 1 Chr. 17:8; 1 Chr. 21:12; 1 Chr. 21:15; 2 Chr. 8:8; 2 Chr. 20:7; 2 Chr. 20:10; 2 Chr. 20:23; 2 Chr. 21:7; 2 Chr. 22:4; 2 Chr. 28:3; 2 Chr. 32:14; 2 Chr. 33:2; 2 Chr. 34:11; 2 Chr. 36:5; Ps. 12:3; Ps. 18:40; Ps. 34:16; Ps. 37:9; Ps. 37:22; Ps. 37:28; Ps. 37:34; Ps. 37:38; Ps. 44:2; Ps. 54:5; Ps. 73:27; Ps. 83:4; Ps. 83:10; Ps. 92:7; Ps. 101:8; Ps. 106:23; Ps. 106:34; Ps. 109:15; Ps. 143:12; Ps. 145:20; Isa. 10:7; Isa. 29:20; Isa. 48:9; Isa. 48:19; Jer. 4:7; Jer. 36:29; Jer. 47:4; Jer. 48:8; Jer. 50:16; Jer. 50:26; Jer. 51:11; Jer. 51:53; Jer. 51:55; Jer. 51:62; Ezek. 6:3; Ezek. 6:6; Ezek. 14:19; Ezek. 14:21; Ezek. 21:3; Ezek. 21:4; Ezek. 25:7; Ezek. 25:13; Ezek. 25:16; Ezek. 31:12; Dan. 9:26; Hos. 8:4; Joel 1:16; Amos 1:5; Amos 1:8; Amos 2:3; Obad. 1:14; Mic. 5:9; Mic. 5:10; Mic. 5:11; Mic. 5:13; Nah. 1:14; Nah. 2:13; Nah. 3:15; Zeph. 1:11; Zeph. 2:11; Zeph. 3:7; Zech. 9:10; Zech. 13:2; Zech. 13:8; Zech. 14:2; Mal. 2:12;

MacArthur writes that "Rejection of the Messiah would result in loss of the covenant blessings. That was the perilous condition in which Peter's hearers found themselves. Those who persist in rejecting Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, will forfeit God's promised blessings. They will be utterly destroyed from among the people—killed and damned. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts) 

Spurgeon on shall be utterly destroyed - Hear this, then, you who have heard Christ, through his Word and through his servants, and have heard him preach,— ay, scores and hundreds of times. Let me read this text to you again; and as I read it, may it sink into your hearts. “It shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”

Albert Barnes has a solemn, sobering comment on this verse - To be destroyed from among the (JEWISH) people means, however, to be excommunicated, or to be deprived of the privileges of the people. Among the Jews this was probably the most severe punishment that could be inflicted. It involved the idea of being cut off from the privileges of sacrifice and worship in the temple and in the synagogue, etc., and of being regarded as a pagan and an outcast. The idea that Peter expressed here was, that the Jews had exposed themselves to the severest punishment in rejecting and crucifying the Lord Jesus, and that they should, therefore, repent of this great sin, and seek for mercy. The same remark is applicable to all people. The Scriptures abundantly declare the truth, that if sinners will not hear the Lord Jesus, they shall be destroyed. And it behooves each individual to inquire with honesty whether he listens to His instructions and obeys His Law, or whether he is rejecting Him and following the devices and desires of his own heart. It will be a solemn day when the sinner shall be called to render a reason why he has rejected the teachings and laws of the Son of God! (Notes)

Acts 3:24 "And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days.

KJV Acts 3:24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.

  • all the prophets who have spoken  Acts 3:19,21; Ro 3:21
  • Samuel Acts 13:20; 1 Samuel 2:18; 3:1,20; Ps 99:6; Jer 15:1
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

He has just mentioned Moses and now skips several centuries to Samuel as there were few (if any) prophets between these two prophets.

Horton adds that "Samuel was the next great prophet after Moses (1 Sa 3:20). From that time on, all the prophets "foretold these days," that is, the days of God's work through Christ. Some may not have given specific prophecies in their writings, but all of them gave prophecies that led up to or prepared for these days." (Acts: A Logion Press Commentary)

And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward - What is Peter saying? Basically, he is saying that the OT prophets spoke about the ministry of the Messiah Who would come to Israel and offer them salvation not from Rome but from their sin. And yet they rejected His clear witness that fulfilled over 300 Messianic prophecies! In short, the Jews sinned against a "flood of light," which is why those who never believed in Him will suffer a greater degree of eternal punishment than an African native who never believed in Him! (cf Mt 11:21-24)

A T Robertson on from Samuel - Schools of prophets arose in his time, few before him (1 Samuel 3:1).

Also announced these days - What days? In context the days of Messiah's first advent (when God would raise up a Prophet like Moses - Acts 3:22) and all that His ministry in Israel entailed. See also Acts 3:18+ "the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets."

Jesus Himself made a similar statement declaring "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me." (John 5:39)

On the Road to Emmaus after His resurrection Jesus rebuked the two were walking with Him...

And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.  (Luke 24:25-27)

Announced (proclaimed) (2605)(kataggello from kata = an intensifier, down + aggelos = messenger and aggello = to declare, report) literally means to "declare down". It means to announce, with focus upon the extent to which the announcement or proclamation extends and so to proclaim throughout. It means to declare plainly, openly and loudly! It was used of solemn religious messages, in this case the messages of the OT prophets.

Thomas Constable writes that "Samuel announced that David would replace Saul ( 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 15:28; 1 Samuel 28:17; cf. 1 Samuel 16:13), but we have no record that he ever gave an explicitly messianic prophecy. Peter seems to have meant that in announcing David"s reign Samuel was also anticipating Messiah"s reign. The other prophets Peter apparently had in mind were all those who spoke of David"s continuing dynastic rule. Peter"s statement in this verse, by the way, shows that Joshua did not fulfill Moses" prophecy about the coming prophet."  (Acts 3 Commentary)

NET Note - What Peter preaches is rooted in basic biblical and Jewish hope as expressed in the OT scriptures.

Acts 3:25 "It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.'

KJV Acts 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

  • It is you who are the sons of the prophets  Acts 2:39; 13:26; Ge 20:7; 27:36-40; 48:14-20; 49:1-33; Ps 105:8-15; Mt 3:9,10
  • the covenant which God made with your fathers  Ge 17:9,10,19; 1 Chr 16:17; Neh 9:8; Luke 1:72; Ro 9:4,5; 15:8; Gal 3:29
  • And in your seed Ge 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Ro 4:13; Gal 3:8,16
  • All the families of the earth shall be blessed - Ps 22:27; 96:7; Rev 5:9; 7:9; 14:6
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


It is you - You is emphatic. You who? Jews who at this time were not yet saved. As Paul said in Ro 11:2 "God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew." How can one argue with this declaration of God's faithfulness?

Who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers - The Jews were the descendants of the prophets and they were sons of the covenant in the sense of being Abraham's physical offspring. To which covenant does Peter refer? We do not have to guess for Peter quotes from Genesis describing the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant that was cut with the Jewish patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Notice they are called "sons...of the covenant" (the Abrahamic Covenant) indicating that the Abrahamic promises to the Jews has not be abrogated in the New Testament, contrary to what many teach today!

Sons of the prophets and of the covenant recalls Paul's description of his Jewish brethren in Romans 9

For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.  (Ro 9:3-5)

Even Jamieson an older (non-dispensational writer) acknowledges "Ye are the children...of the covenant and so the natural heirs of its promises."

John MacArthur makes an interesting observation in light of the increasing number of folks who hold to the false teaching of replacement theology - The amillenialist who comes along and says that because the Jews crucified Jesus Christ, they forfeited the covenant doesn’t understand the Scriptures. He says to them right here, this is obvious. This is what you have done, but he says in Acts 3:25, “You are the sons of the...covenant.” And he still treats them as the men of Israel, covenant people. God is not yet through with Israel. They have not been totally set aside. Only temporarily blinded as Paul clearly brings in Romans 9, 10, and 11. (Peter Preaches Christ)

The covenant which God made - This is literally "the covenant which God covenanted."

A T Robertson - The covenant (agreement between two, dia, tithēmi) was with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and repeated at various times (Ge 18:18; Ge22:18; Ge 26:4, etc.). In Hebrews 9:15-18 the word is used both for covenant and will. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

Covenant (1242)(diatheke from diatithemi = set out in order, dispose in a certain order <> from dia = two + tithemi = to place pictures that which is placed between two Thus, a covenant is something placed between two = thus an arrangement between two parties) literally conveys the idea of a testament, as in one's last will and testament.

Made (1303)(diatithemi from dia = through or as an intensive, root meaning = "two" + tithemi = to place or put) properly means, to place apart, to set in order, to arrange. If one considers the root meaning of dia ("two"), then the definition could be rendered "to place between two" as a covenant which is something that is placed between two, an arrangement between two parties. This verb is used in the NT only in the middle voice.

Related Resources:

Saying to Abraham, 'AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.' - Note that "Seed" in this verse is in the singular. Peter is quoting from Genesis and the most direct passage (of several similar passages in Genesis - Ge. 12:3; 22:18; 26:4) is Ge 22:18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” The seed that wold bless the earth could be none other than Jesus. Paul made this clear in Galatians 3:16+ "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ." 

ALL THE FAMILIES - Families is the rare patria (from pater = father) which can literally refer to a family as in Lk 2:2 where Joseph is described as of the "family of David." However patria can have a wider sense meaning peoples or nations, which indicates that this blessing would not be restricted to the Jews but would extend to the Gentiles, as proved to be the case. It would first be offered to Israel (see Acts 3:26 = "for you first', cf Ro 1:16+ = "to the Jew first and also to the Greek")."However, a great deal of prejudice had to be broken down before the way was clear for first century gospel preachers to give their message to Gentile audiences, and this applied to Peter as well (Acts 10:9-16, 28)." (What the Bible teaches – Acts)

Acts 3:26 "For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways."

KJV Acts 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

  • For you first Acts 1:8; 13:26,32,33,46,47; 18:4-6; 26:20; 28:23-28; Mt 10:5,6; Luke 24:47; Ro 2:9,10; Rev 7:4-9
  • God raised up His Servant  Acts 3:15,22
  • sent Him to bless you Acts 3:20,25; Ps 67:6,7; 72:17; Luke 2:10,11; Ro 15:29; Gal 3:9-14; Eph 1:3; 1 Pe 1:3; 3:9
  • by turning every one of you from your wicked ways Isa 59:20,21; Jer 32:38-41; 33:8,9; Ezek 11:19,20; 36:25-29; Mt 1:21; Eph 5:26,27; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:5-8; Jude 1:24
  • Acts 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


For you first - Peter reminds them of their privileged position. The blessing brought by God's (suffering) Servant although promised to all the families of the earth, was given first to the Jews. 

Robertson on for you first - The Jews were first in privilege and it was through the Jews that the Messiah was to come for "all the families of the earth."

Thomas Constable - The gospel went to the Jews before it went to the Gentiles (cf. Matt. 10:5; Acts 13:46; Rom. 1:16) because the establishment of Christ's earthly kingdom depends on Israel's acceptance of her Messiah (Matt. 23:39; Rom. 11:26). Before Christ can reign on the earth, Israel must repent (Zech. 12:10-14).  (Acts 3 Commentary)

Gilbrant - The blessing promised to all the families of the earth came first to the people of Israel. What a privilege! Yet this was not favoritism on God's part. It was their opportunity to receive the blessing by repenting and by turning from their "iniquities" (their sins, their evil or malicious acts). (Complete Biblical Library)

God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you - Peter uses Servant (pais) which is the same description of Messiah that he used when describing how they had delivered Him up and disowned Him in the presence of Pilate (Acts 3:13+). The One they had delivered up to become a curse (Gal 3:13+), would be the One Who would bless them. They should have been cursed but instead are blessed. Is this not radical grace....totally unmerited favor! This is the same radical grace we have all received in Christ, in Whom there is grace "piled upon" grace (Jn 1:16+).

Raised up - see anistemi above in Acts 3:22+. In context this means God raised up Jesus for His ministry. Obviously God also raised Him from the dead but that does not fit the context as well. 

Sent - see apostello above in Acts 3:22+

Bless (present tense = continually) (2127)(eulogeo eu = good + lógos = word; see cognates eulogetos and eulogia) means speak good or well. When God blesses men He grants them favor and confers happiness upon them.

By turning every one of you from your wicked ways - The idea in this verse is as causing someone to change from incorrect to correct behavior. This of course is not just self-will but is a Spirit-enabled supernatural act. Fallen man will not (and cannot) by himself turn away from the wickedness of his own fallen flesh, his own wicked heart, for he is enslaved by Sin which rules as "King" in his heart. (Jn 8:34, Ro 6:16, cf Ro 6:11 and Ro 6:12-14)

Turning is epistrepho in Acts 3:19 and here the verb is apostrepho. In Acts 3:19 it is turning to and here it is turning away from. In a sense the combination of these two verbs gives us a description of repentance which is a turning to God and a turning away from sin. We see this illustrated in the pagan, idol worshipping Gentiles in Thessalonia, Paul writing

For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you (FORMER IDOLATERS), and how you turned to (cf EPISTREPHO) God from (cf APOSTREPHO) idols to serve a living and true God (cf BRINGING FORTH FRUIT IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE!), 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. (1 Thes 1:9-10+)

Turning (654)(apostrepho from apo = away from, a marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association and indicates separation, departure, cessation, reversal + strepho = turn quite around, twist, reverse, turn oneself about) means literally to turn back or away. To cause to turn away in a positive sense (active voice as in Acts 3:26) but also in a negative sense (2 Ti 1:15, 2 Ti 4:4, Titus 1:14). The use of apostrepho in the warning passage in Hebrews would be appropriate in the present context as Peter warns the Jewish audience that to turn away from the Prophet (Jesus) will bring utter destruction...

See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from (apostrepho) Him who warns from heaven. (Heb 12:25+). 

Apostrepho is used in the Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 59:20

“A Redeemer (Heb = goel/ga'al; Lxx = rhuomai) will come to Zion, And to those who turn from (Lxx = apostrepho) transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD. 

Comment - Paul quotes the Septuagint version of Isaiah 59:20 in Romans 11:26+ as he explains how "all Israel will be saved" noting that “THE DELIVERER (rhuomai) WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” 

MacArthur - The Messiah, the Suffering Servant (ED: "THE DELIVERER"), will redeem Zion and all faithful Israelites. This unalterable promise to the nation was the basis for Paul's reassurance of the future salvation of Israel (Ro 11:26, 27). (The MacArthur Study Bible)

ESV Study Bible note says "In Ro 11:26-27, Paul combines this verse (Isaiah 59:20) (from the lxx) with Jer. 31:33+ (and perhaps Isa. 27:9) to describe his hope for his ethnic kin....the salvation of the end-time generation of the Jewish people in the future....The Deliverer coming from Zion probably refers to Christ (cf. 1 Th 1:10+), suggesting that the Jews will be saved near or at the Second Coming." (ED: THE JEWS!) (Bolding added)

This verse will be fulfilled completely for the remnant of believing Jews when Messiah returns. Paul describes this future turning by the nation of Israel using apostrepho in Romans 11.26+ writing that "all (ALL THAT BELIEVE) Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” 

Each (each individual) (1538) (hekastos from hékas = separate) every single one, of each one separately. The idea is that each one is singled out. Turning from wicked ways would be individual by individual and clearly is the supernatural work of the Spirit of Jesus.

Wicked ways (4189)(poneria from poneros from pónos = labor, sorrow, pain and and poneo = to be involved in work, labor) refers to depravity, to an evil disposition, to badness or to an evil nature. Poneria is used in the NT only in the moral and ethical sense and refers to intentionally practiced ill will. Poneria is active malice. Poneria is malevolence, not only doing evil, but being evil. Ponēría means maliciousness and it is to be distinguished from kakía which is simply the evil habit of mind, depravity, not necessarily being expressed and affecting others. Poneria is used only 7x in the NT - Mt 22:18; Mk 7:22; Lk 11:39; Acts 3:26; Ro 1:29; 1 Co 5:8; Eph 6:12.

NET Note on wicked ways - For the translation of plural (poneria) as "iniquities," see G. Harder, TDNT 6:565. The plural is important, since for Luke turning to Jesus means turning away from sins, not just the sin of rejecting Jesus. 

Surgeon - They were to have the first proclamation of the gospel; from among them would be gathered many of the first converts. The preacher did not know immediately what result this sermon produced; it was not like the sermon preached at Pentecost, for he did know what happens after its delivery. This is quite as good a sermon every way, and we have every reason to believe that as many were converted by it. The Spirit of God was with Peter; yet even the Spirit of God, does not always work in the came way upon men. You see, the apostles had no opportunity to have a talk with the people afterwards, and to find out what had been done, as they had on the day of Pentecost.