It wouldn’t be difficult to understand a man’s joy, if he were suddenly able to walk after being crippled for over 40 years. Peter healed such a man sitting at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple when he and John went up to pray (Acts 3:1-2). The man was expecting a small donation for a meal, but ended up being made whole. The text says that he was put at the gate daily, no doubt by someone in his family, but who would have thought when they put his socks on that morning…What a surprise!
I have often wondered how many times Jesus walked by him without healing him. If he was put there daily, Jesus must have seen him, but his time to glorify God wasn’t until Peter and John went up to the Temple to pray on that fateful day.
Looking back from the twenty-first century, it seems odd that no one seemed to attach any spirituality to the event until Peter spoke up. Yet, neither the man nor the people who recognized him and knew something wonderful had occurred seemed to be aware that God had suddenly and without warning reached into our world and touched that man and made him whole. Everyone looked upon Peter and John as though they were responsible for the event, but Peter spoke out and told them they were wrong to imagine so great a thing was done by them (Acts 3:12).
Peter testified that the man was healed through the authority of Jesus, whom they had delivered up and denied before Pilate (Acts 3:13). They preferred a murderer over their Messiah (v.14) and killed the very Prince of Life who was sent to save them (v.15)! Peter’s point in all this was that, if this man was made whole through the authority of the One who was crucified (v.16), then this could only be done if God had resurrected Jesus and placed him on his throne (v.15). And, Peter and John claimed they were eyewitnesses to the fact that Jesus was truly raised. They saw him alive three days after the crucifixion and up to 40 days later (Acts 1:3).
Both Moses and the Prophets had foretold that such a one like Moses would come who would suffer many things, and God fulfilled these promises in Jesus of Nazareth (vv. 21-22). However, repentance is commanded, because their rebellion against God must end, if one would enter the Kingdom of God and receive the “times of refreshing” or the Holy Spirit which comes from the presence of the Lord (v.19).
Jesus will come again, but first all things must be restored to their original condition at creation when all things were in subjection to the Lord (vv.20-21). Anyone who refuses to repent will be cut off from among God’s people (v.23). All the prophets from Samuel onward foretold of those very days in the 1st century (v.24), but the blessings of God come through Jesus only upon those who repent and turn from their rebellion—to the children of the prophets and the covenant first, and then to the Gentiles throughout the world (vv.25-26).