Immediately following the accounting of the events of Pentecost (Acts 2), Dr. Luke takes us to the scene of Peter and John going up to the temple to pray (3:1ff). There at the gate, on the ground, was a man who had never walked (v. 2a). As a lifelong consequence, his legs would have been essentially folded under him, with the appearance of “skin over bones,” the musculature atrophied to the point of “absence,” with no movements of the joints owing to permanent contractures. Though his expectation from these two men was the same as any other passerby (v. 3b and 5b – alms, a small offering usually motivated by pity for his hopeless physical condition), he was about to have his life immeasurably altered. Peter said in essence, “I don’t have any money, but what I do have, I’ll give you. IN THE NAME of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
The space for these few brief thoughts is inadequate to describe the physical transformation (instantaneous, at that) woven into the words of verse seven.
Then, verse eight says twice that this man was “leaping” as he went into the temple with his two new friends! NOT ONE so-called “miracle healing” in our day comes close to this event. The “amazement” of those watching (v. 10 – ekstasij [ecstatic]) could be appropriately termed, “They could not get their minds around what they had just seen!”
Yet, as indescribable as this supernatural change was, it pales in comparison to the eternal spiritual transformation which took place to those who believed on the Name of Christ for salvation. Peter attributes the man’s physical healing to the power of the Name of Christ (representative of His divine person and His cross work (suffering, death, burial, resurrection – 3:6; 13-4:2, 7-12, 30) and he links the offering of Salvation to mankind inextricably to that same exclusive Name (4:12).
The Jewish hierarchy, recognizing the power in this Name, forbid the men to associate their lives and ministry with it (4:16-18), but they are emboldened, as were the Hebrew young men in Daniel 3:16, to immediately defend it unashamed (4:19-20). Oh, the power of that Blessed Name!
Written by Steve Anderson, Field Administrator with Baptist World Mission