Peter speaks of the New Covenant in this chapter. Unlike the Abrahamic covenant, which involved God doing and man receiving, the New Covent actually requires something from mankind: obedience.
Peter explains to his listeners that the New Covenant begins with action from us. According to the text, we must turn away from our sinful actions (repentance) and turn in the direction of God.
In that same vein, it is often said that the New Covenant is all about grace, while
another earlier covenant (the Mosaic Covenant) was about works; this is a false
dichotomy. Both covenants were based on grace because both covenants were
based on the theological concept of substitution of an innocent victim in place of
the guilty perpetrator. The primary difference was that the older covenant
required the life of an animal as a substitute each time atonement was needed,
while the newer covenant required the life of Messiah as a one-time substitute.
And, as concerns the Law, what could demonstrate more grace than for God to
let the guilty human being live while an innocent animal died in his/her place?
Further, repentance was equally required for both covenants. An animal sacrifice
without repentance was not effectual. Saying one believes in Yeshua (Jesus) for
salvation but without true repentance is equally ineffectual. - Tom Bradford
One day Peter and John - The disciples that Christ loved (John) and the one He chose to lead His Church(Peter).
were going up to the temple at the time of prayer— Jerulilum was elevated higher than the surrounding villages as well as considered a spiritual high ground. It was three in the afternoon. These men were not randomly going to the Temple to pray; they were fulfilling the Jewish custom of Minchah. The minchah was the middle prayer of the day for those observing Judisum.
The Three Prayers Of A Jewish Day
The Jewish people were required, by Rabbinical Law, to pray three times daily to God. Jewish Law claims it is the duty of all Jewish people to pray three times daily: in the morning, in the afternoon, and at nightfall. These prayers are called morning prayer (shacharit), afternoon prayer (minchah), and evening prayer (arvith or maariv ).
The Sages of old tell us that the custom of praying three times a day was originally introduced by our Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham introduced prayer in the morning, Isaac—in the afternoon, and Jacob added one at night.
Now a man who was lame from birth - Lame is the inability to walk due to a birth defect.
was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. - The Court of Gentiles ( the outermost court on the Temple grounds) was the furthest a gentile could penetrate the Temple. We have no idea if this lame man was a Jew or a Gentile, as both could be present.
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. - This was a common practice.
Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. - This man acted with the disciples in much the same way we act when we first meet Christ, with expectations.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. - The lame man thinks he is in need of money, and Peter has other, better plans for him.
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” - The mear name of Christ has power that surpasses all understanding.
Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. - Countless times in scripture, we hear the words "instantly or immediately" when dealing with Christ. The promise of Christ does not require a lengthy initiation process, hazing, or a membership card; the remission of sin occurs instantly once we accept who and what Jesus is and what He did on the Cross for us. Our salvation and hopeful obedience begin immediately.
He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. - So excited and grateful was this man that he walked and jumped in the courts of the Temple. Jewish men did not act in this way. Remember the story of the prodigal son and how uncustomarily odd it was for the father to lift his robe to run? For this man to act this undignified in public must have been a huge spectacle.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. - Seeing is believing with us, stiff-necked humans. This does illustrate the importance of our testimony and how we must witness our faith in public.
While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. - They have now moved to the East side of the Temple to the Women's court.
When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? - Peter has a captive audience to begin preaching to. Notice even though Peter is an apostle, he still identifies as an Israelite,
Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? - Humility. All praise and glory must go to the Lord. Pastors and churches must constantly stay vigilant so that they never begin to see themselves as the saviors, resisting the urge to celebrate when people come into the doors of the church and constantly go the last step of directing people towards the cross.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. - Peter evokes the name of the patriarch to remind the Jews of the connection between what happened to Jesus and the scripture.
You handed him over to be killed, - Peter is speaking of the religious people of the Temple.
and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.- Matthew
twenty-seven tells of this betrail.
So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood;[a] see to it yourselves.”25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”26 Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[b] Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. - Matthew 27:24-26
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. - It was the power and spirit of God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead.
Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. - This man is referring to the lame man.
It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.-
“Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. - Ignorance is "agnoia". In Greek, this word offers the idea of willingly ignoring the truth. It is vastly different than acting without knowledge. The Old Testament is littered with prophesies and predictions of Jesus. The Jewish people could not claim they did not know.
But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer.- Messiah comes from the Hebrew word mashiach which means “anointed one” or “chosen one.” Jesus, God's anointed son, suffered great pain and mystery at the hands of man during the trial, punishment, and crucifixion.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, - Peter echos the first message of both Christ and John the Baptist.
The Message of Repentance
John first preached a message of repentance, which Jesus later preached after reminding us of John the Baptist's message.
In those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:1
For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him - Matthew 21:31
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” - Matthew 4:17
and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, - A generic or worldly savior would not do; God appointed Jesus Christ as our personal savior. All others are imposters.
whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. - This is a reference to scripture from the book of Isaiah. So loving is God the Father that even now he elects to allow a second chance to those Peter just accused of murdering Christ in ignorance. This applied to the people of the day, and in some odd way, it still applies to us today.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. Isaiah 35:1-7
For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. - A reference from Moses in Deuteronomy which directly points to Jesus, grace, and redemption.
Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’ - Loss the rights of salvation.
“Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. - There are roughly 576 prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament.
And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ - Peter explains the Jewish people, even after the death of Christ, are still in a covenant with God as His chosen people. This is important as soon, a new group of people, the Gentiles, will be grafted into the family.
When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” - After the resurrection, Jesus went to His people, the Jews, to bless them and offer them a chance to repent, to change their way, and believe in the beauty of the unification of the old and new covenant.
Bible Study Questions - Week 3
Why was it important in v. 1 to know the time that Peter and John prayed?
What did Peter have to give the beggar in v. 6?
Who gave them the authority to give this gift from v.6?
Why was it important to note that the man's feet and ankles grew strong immediately in v. 7?
What did Peter mean in V. 12?
What do we know about the gate called beautiful?
In v. 14, who is Peter speaking about?
What should we make of v. 23?
Which days did the prophets speak of in v. 24?
In v. 25, what does it mean to be heirs?
Who did God send in v. 26, and to whom did He send this person?
What did you learn or rediscover about God the Father in this Chapter?
What did you learn or rediscover about Jesus Christ in this Chapter?
What did you learn or rediscover about the Holy Spirit in this Chapter?
What did you learn or rediscover about the church in this Chapter? Does it Differ from what you understood?
What did you learn or rediscover about what a pastor should do in this Chapter? Does it Differ from what you understood?
What is the biggest thing you learned or rediscovered in this chapter?
So what? How will the answer to the question above change how you live life on a day-to-day basis?