Acts 3:1
One afternoon Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
Sermons
Gladden -- the Prince of LifeGrenville KleiserActs 3:1
Habits of Public PrayerR. Tuck Acts 3:1
Then Shall the Lame Man Leap as an Hart'Alexander MaclarenActs 3:1
Peter's Second Sermon and its Results - One Evening's Good WorkP.C. Barker Acts 3:1-4:4
Helplessness and HealingW. Clarkson Acts 3:1-10
The Apostles Workers of MiraclesR.A. Redford Acts 3:1-10
The Healing of the Lame ManE. Johnson Acts 3:1-10
A Picture of Sin and SalvationC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 3:1-11
Alleviations of the Hardest LotC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
Hours of PrayerDean Plumptre.Acts 3:1-11
Love for WorshipActs 3:1-11
Miraculous FaithC. Gerok.Acts 3:1-11
Peter and JohnDean Plumptre.Acts 3:1-11
Peter and JohnRieger.Acts 3:1-11
Public WorshipLechler.Acts 3:1-11
Spiritual Co-OperationG. V. Lechler, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
Spiritual LamenessJ. McNeil.Acts 3:1-11
The Apostles and the Beggar Model of Christian Care of the PoorC. Gerok.Acts 3:1-11
The Cripple and His HealersT. Kelly.Acts 3:1-11
The First Apostolic MiracleW. Hudson.Acts 3:1-11
The First MiracleG. T. Stokes, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
The Healing of the Lame ManJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
The Hour of PrayerW. P. Thirkkield.Acts 3:1-11
The House of GodActs 3:1-11
The Impotent ManB. Beddome, M. A.Acts 3:1-11
The Lame Man At the Gate of the TempleJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
The Lance Man HealedJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
The Miracle At the Beautiful GateC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
The Miracle At the Beautiful Gate -- as a FactD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
The Proper Hour of WorshipActs 3:1-11
We Should have Set Places for the Worship of GodActs 3:1-11
Why Do Christians Go to ChurchH. C. Trumbll, D. D.Acts 3:1-11
In this interesting incident we have an illustration of the urgent spiritual necessities of our race, and of the sufficiency of the gospel to meet them. We have -

I. A GREAT AND SAD CONTRAST. They brought daily to the Beautiful gate of the temple a lame beggar, who asked alms of all that entered (vers. 2, 3). What a striking contrast is here! - the large, strong, handsome gate, wrought by the most skilful workmen, intended to add beauty and attractiveness to the magnificent temple, an object of keen, universal admiration; and, laid down at the foot of it, a poor, ill-clad, deformed, helpless beggar, fain to find a miserable existence by asking the pity of all that passed through. Such contrasts has sin introduced into this world. If we look on this whole fabric of nature as a temple in which God manifests his presence, and on our earth, with all its loveliness and grandeur, as one of its beautiful gates, then we see, in strongest and saddest contrast with it, stricken, helpless, deformed human nature - man brought down to the very ground, unable to sustain himself, the pitiful object of compassion: we behold the fair workmanship of God with all its exquisite beauty, and we see sinning, erring, suffering, fallen man by its side.

II. A PICTURE OF SIN IN ITS STRENGTH. What more forcible illustration of this can he found than in a man lame from his birth (ver. 2)? One born to the heritage of mankind, viz. that of voluntary, happy activity; of walking, running, moving, whithersoever he would, with free power of motion, in all acts of duty, pleasure, affection; - this man doomed to utter helplessness, his deformity or disease becoming more rigid and incurable as the months and years pass by! What a picture, this, of our human spirit, created to enjoy the heritage of a holy intelligence, viz. that of free and happy activity in all the ways of righteousness, piety, usefulness; of moving joyously along all the paths in which God invites his children to walk; yet, from the very beginning, being utterly unable to walk in the way of his commandments, to run in the paths of wisdom and of peace, incapable of doing that for which it was called into being, and becoming more rigidly and hopelessly fixed in its spiritual incapacity year by year.

III. THE INTERVENTION OF THE GOSPEL OF GOD.

1. It demands attention. "Peter. . . with John, said, Look on us" (ver. 4). The gospel of Christ has a right to make this same appeal to all men. No seeking, struggling soul has a right to be regardless of its offers. The beneficent and mighty works of Jesus Christ; the profound spiritual truths he uttered; the beautiful and exalted life he lived; the strange and wondrous death he died; the message of love he left behind him; the adaptation, proved by eighteen centuries of human history, of his system to the deepest wants of human nature; - all these conspire to give to the gospel of God the right to demand attention - to say, "Look on me;" see whether there is not in me the help and healing which you need.

2. It disclaims certain offices. "Silver and gold have I none," etc. (ver. 6). The gospel does not offer to do everything for man which it may be desirable should, in some way, be done. It does not propose

(1) to effect renovation by revolutionary social changes, or

(2) to bring about immediate improvement in the outward conditions of a man's life, or

(3) to guarantee bodily health or immunity from temporal trouble and domestic loss. It tends to ameliorate the condition of mankind in every way, and ultimately it does so; but its first promise, and that by which it is to be tested and judged, is not of this order.

3. It offers one essential service. "In the Name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk" (ver. 6). It says to the stricken, wounded soul, "Wilt thou be made whole?" To the soul burdened with a sense of sin, it offers pardoning love and spiritual peace; to the heart oppressed with care and fear, it offers a Divine refuge in which to hide; to the soul struggling with temptation, an almighty Friend; to the weary traveler, a home of rest and joy. Whatever is the one imperative thing, that the gospel of Christ presents; but its offer is inward, spiritual, heavenly.

IV. THE BLESSED ISSUE. (Vers. 7-10.) This was:

1. Healing to him that had been helpless.

2. Gratitude showing itself in praise.

3. Interested attention on the part of those outside: "They were filled with wonder and amazement;" they were in a state most favorable for the reception of the truth. When we make an appeal to Christ, we are not to be satisfied until we have found spiritual recovery; until our souls are filled with the spirit of thanksgiving; until our restoration has told upon our neighbors as well as on ourselves. - C.







Now Peter and John.
The union of the two brings the narratives of the Gospels into an interesting connection with the Acts. They were probably about the same age (the idea that Peter was some years older than John rests mainly on the pictures which artists have drawn from their imagination, and has no evidence in Scripture), and had been friends from their youth upward. They had been partners as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:10). They had been sharers in looking for the consolation of Israel, and had together received the baptism of John (John 1:41). John and Andrew had striven which should be the first to tell Peter that they had found the Christ (John 1:41). The two had been sent together to prepare for the Passover (Luke 22:8). John takes Peter into the palace of the high priest (John 18:16), and though he must have witnessed his denials, is not estranged from him. It is to John that Peter turns for comfort after his fall, and with him he comes to the sepulchre on the morning of the resurrection (John 20:6). The eager affection which, now more strongly than ever, bound the two together is seen in Peter's question, "Lord, and what shall this man do?" (John 21:21); and now they are again sharers in action and in heart, in teaching and in worship. Passing rivalries there may have been, disputes which was the greatest, prayers for places on the right hand and the left (Matthew 20:20; Mark 10:35); but the idea maintained by Renan, that St. John wrote his Gospel to exalt himself at the expense of Peter, must take its place among the delirantium somnia; the morbid imaginations, of inventive interpretation. They appear in company again in the mission to Samaria (Romans 8:14), and in recognising the work that had been done by Paul and Barnabas among the Gentiles (Galatians 2:9). When it was that they parted never to meet again, we have no record.

(Dean Plumptre.)

In natural disposition, Peter and John did not very exactly correspond with each other; but diamond polishes diamond, and these two precious stones may have advantageously polished each other.

(Rieger.)

Went up together into the temple
The Christian has to regard this —

I. NEGATIVELY.

1. Not as a legal yoke.

2. Not as a meritorious work.

II. POSITIVELY.

1. AS a good and useful discipline.

2. As a thankworthy opportunity for increase in goodness.

(Lechler.)

"I have in my congregation," said a minister of the gospel, "a worthy aged woman, who has for many years been so deaf as not to distinguish the loudest sound; and yet she is always one of the first in the meeting. On asking the reason of her constant attendance, as it was impossible for her to hear my voice, she answered, 'Though I cannot hear you, I come to God's house because I love it, and would be found in His ways; and He gives me many a sweet thought upon the text when it is pointed out to me: another reason is, because I am in the best company, in the most immediate presence of God, and among His saints, the honourable of the earth. I am not satisfied with serving God in private: it is my duty and privilege to honour Him regularly and constantly in public.'"

The song-birds in our fields have a chosen branch on which they continually perch for their morning and evening songs. In time of encampment Washington reserved to himself a thicket where he could pray undisturbed. Bishop Leighton frequented a grove in a public park which was at last left to him as his own property. In the story of "The Path to the Bush" is an account of the beaten track through the forest to the praying huts of the native converts, and the faithful girl hinting to her sister that "the grass grew on her path."

A new student had come to the university and called to see Professor Tholuck. The latter asked him where he went to church. "Oh," said he, "I do not attend preaching. Instead of confining myself to the four walls of a building I go out into the green fields, and under the lofty arches of the forest trees I listen to the singing of the birds and the countless melodies of God's creatures, where everything that hath breath praises the Lord." Then the professor asked him, "But what do you do when it rains?" Conformity to God's plan is best.

? — Is it chiefly in order that they may give or receive, through the services and their own part in them? These questions would be answered very differently by different persons. Some go, out of a glad and grateful heart, to show and to express their gratitude to God, and to bear a part in His public worship. Others go in order to gain some personal advantage through what they see and hear and feel while there. The one sort are pretty sure to accomplish what they go for. They swell the service of prayer and praise, and by their countenance and evident appreciativeness they cheer the heart of the preacher, and give added force to his preaching. The other sort often find their church-going a failure. The singing is not what they hoped for; the prayers fail to meet their wants; the Bible selections are poorly timed to their requirements; and as to the sermon, "it does not feed their souls. It is a great pity that there are comparatively so few of the first class of Christian worshippers, and that there are so many of the second class. And it is a noteworthy fact that those who go to church to do what they can to make the church service a success, grow steadily in character and in intellectual power; while those who go there with a chief desire to be the personal gainers by their going, shrink and dwindle in their personality. The poorest specimens of church-goers are those who are constantly complaining that the preaching "does not feed" them. Hearers of that sort are like Pharaoh's lean kine; the more they swallow the leaner they look. In this sphere, as well as in every other, the words of our Lord Jesus are true, that "it is more blessed to give than to receive."

(H. C. Trumbll, D. D.)

At the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour
The ninth hour was 3 p.m., the hour of the evening sacrifice (Jos. Ant. 14:04, § 3). The traditions of later Judaism had fixed the third, the sixth, and the ninth hours of each day as times for private prayer. Daniel's practice of praying three times a day seems to imply a rule of the same kind, and Psalm 55:17 ("Evening and morning and at noon will I pray") carries the practice up to the time of David. "Seven times a day" was, perhaps, the rule of those who aimed at a life of higher devotion (Psalm 119:164). Both practices passed into the usage of the Christian Church certainly as early as the second century, and probably therefore in the first. The three hours were observed by many at Alexandria in the time of Clement (Strom. 7. p. 722). The seven became the "canonical hours" of Western Christendom, the term first appearing in the rule of St. Benedict (ob. A.D. 542) and being used by ( A.D. 701).

(Dean Plumptre.)

Rowland Hill well knew how to seize the best opportunity for reproving culpable habits in his hearers. One of them, who, to his great annoyance, avoided coming to chapel in time for the prayers, and arrived only just soon enough to hear the sermon, complained to him of partiality in a magistrate. He gave him one of his most searching looks, and said with an emphasis and manner peculiar to himself, "Then why do you not come to public worship in proper time to pray that God would 'grant all magistrates grace to execute justice and maintain truth'?"

1. The companions. This first verse reveals, as by a flash-light, the spirit of these companions. Peter and John together. What antipodes 1 Peter, impulsive, bold, energetic, daring; John, meditative, timid, loving, trustful. What ground in nature for fellowship between them? Yet, like Luther and Melanchthon in the crisis of a later age, they were joined in the strength and beauty of a friendship in Christ that gave to each supplemental grace and energy.

2. "Going up into the temple," though the vail had been rent and the lesson of the spirituality and universality of worship had been taught them! Peter and John had reverence for sacred places — that reverence which is a mark of depth and spirituality in the religious life. These early disciples did not spurn religious custom, though it was a custom of a decadent Jewish Church. To their devout souls history and sacred associations meant something. Character that is strong has roots. These grow deep and take hold of institutions representing thought and life and history. Luther was loth to leave the old Catholic Church, Romanised and corrupt as it was. Wesley always clung to the Church of England. Superstition you may call this clinging to the venerable and historic. Well, if the choice is between irreverence and superstition, give me superstition. Irreverence weakens conscience and blunts the spiritual edge of character. Superstition, as the devout Neander has well said, often paves the way to faith. God's plan was not to obliterate Judaism at a stroke, but to transform it.

3. "At the hour of prayer" went these devout men. But what need had they for prayer, just fresh from the open revelation and spiritual excitement of Pentecost? By this act they teach that prayer is apostolic; that special seasons of illumination and sanctification are a special call to prayer. Though men may not need more fire, yet need they more grace. Religion means daily duty, not occasional ecstasy. "Suspect any inspiration that makes you contemptuous of ordinary religious duties." After your Pentecost be found "going up into the temple at the hour of prayer."

(W. P. Thirkkield.)

And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried
I turn to the story because it brings before us very vividly the whole problem that lies before you and me; the whole problem that lies before the Church; the whole problem that lies before our Master. When you see that lame man carried daily and laid in all his helplessness at the gate of the temple, you get a very vivid picture of the whole problem. Do not let us gather round this impotent man in a questioning, philosophical way, and ask, "How did he become so?" Let us not start vain, seemingly wise, but at bottom foolish questions. The real problem is not, How did we come here? Why are we (the grace of God apart) such wretched creatures? Why is there in London and everywhere else such moral and spiritual impotence? Why is there in the East End, and not less in the West End — only it is better dressed and covered up — that which is so powerfully represented by this helpless man, that squirming misery, that loathsomeness, that wretchedness, that godlessness which no power of art or aesthetics can in the least alleviate? With all our culture, with all our philosophy, with all our fine speeches, and all our fine talking, to this hour there is the situation of things: human nature weary, abject, dejected, sick of itself, utterly loathsome, useless, and helpless; and the problem is not as I have said, "How did he come there?" but "How is that man to be got up?" not "How did you fall into the sea?" but "How are we going to get you out?" Let us turn to this story, then, to see how the great problem that baffles man's wisdom and love even at its best, how the great problem is solved by Jesus Christ and by His humble servants in His name, working in immediate contact with an absent and uncrowned Lord. Man or woman here who objects to this description of human nature, disprove what I am saying; rise in the might of your own goodness, rise in the might of your own morality, rise in the strength and dignity of human nature, which you think I am talking against, and display it in this fashion: Walk in your own strength into God's presence. Come, you cannot. The more you try it the more you prove you are an impotent man. This man saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, and he asked help. "And Peter, fastening his eyes on him, with John, said, Look on us." I would we preachers could learn more thoroughly to do after them, for we do not find that the impotent first of all looked at them, but it certainly is strikingly curious that Peter and John fastened their eyes upon him. He saw them. They might have gone past. He looked at them for ordinary help just as he looked at any others, but the point is that Peter and John did not go past that man. They challenged him. Let us challenge the world's need. We are blamed — it is the deepest part of the charge against us in newspaper and magazine articles, and there is too much truth in it, and the sting of it lies in its truth — that we are walking past the problem. Peter and John might have been so busily engaged in talking — talking, it may be, about Jesus Christ and the resurrection — that they would have swept past this man. He was not a very attractive sight to look upon, and it would have been very convenient, would it not, for them to have gathered up their garments and swept into the temple past him to engage in the worship of God, and to engage in high and holy converse on the mighty things which were, of course, within their ken? Is there not a good deal of church-going which is just that to-day? Let me ask you point blank, face to face, what is your church-going very often but just that walking past, and turning your blind eye to the squirming wretchedness all around you? When did you put out your hand to alleviate it? When did you utter Christ's almighty name over it? Aye, this is far too true, that the worship of God with many of us is a denial of God; it is a useless, blind, formalistic, stupid, heartless thing. It has no power towards God or towards man. It is in ourselves and belonging to ourselves — a mere thing of dress, and of Sunday parading to the temple and home again. And the misery of the East End, and of the fat, well-fed, but still wretched West End, is utterly untouched by our Christianity. Not so with Peter and John. Do we believe after all at bottom the conclusion of the whole matter is this: sin is here not to defeat us, but to be defeated by us, to be changed into life and holiness by the power of Him who sits enthroned above the stars of God, even Jesus Christ. It is time that we did, whether we do or not — more than time. Peter and John fastened their eyes upon him and looked at him. They did not go past him. What a lesson for preachers! There are teachers abroad, let me tell you, who do not want to see you; you are a hard nut for them to crack. Why, when you were better off they could speak to you, and you go to them, but since these hard days have come upon you you have dropped going there. When comfort was needed they were too cold. Now, you are right for the gospel. Christ Jesus is here for the sake of this impotent man, and He has lifted up you and me, if we are lifted up, that we may go and fetch the others who have not been brought yet. This is really the whole scope and purpose of the mighty work which God has done upon you, and I rather fear that you are forgetting it. Think of Peter and John stepping forward there. Try to catch the light in their faces as their eyes burned like twin lamps, when, not only they, but Christ, the loving Saviour, in them and through them, bent down and stretched out a hand and looked into the very despairing soul of that helpless creature. And then let me understand, and let you, O Christian worker, understand how much is needed to be, indeed, in this wretched world a servant of Jesus Christ. Oh, if we are able to bring ourselves and our Christ into naked, palpitating contact, let us do so. Let us stand over the perishing as though we meant to take a two-handed grasp of them, and by our own power to lift them right off the sodden bed on which sin has stretched them. Ah, we need an eye in our head, and a tongue in our mouths, and a hand at the end of our arm which has in it some tingle of everlasting love, and we need a heart working behind all three which has been kindled from the heart of Jesus Christ, who for us men and for our salvation took flesh and died upon the Cross. "And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them." That is something. The man gave heed. I do not like a man to hide behind his fingers and peep at me. I have not much hope of that. When the audience looks broadly and frankly up into the preacher's face things are looking hopeful. "He gave heed to them." What followed? "Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none." What an inconsequential, disappointing word! What an anti-climax to all that had gone before! "Silver and gold have I none." Can you imagine the poor man's eyes? All the delight going out of them, and his long face getting still longer and blacker, and perhaps his tongue uttering indignant words, as he might have said, "Sirs, if you have neither silver nor gold do not add insult to my wretchedness. You might have passed on, and left me unnoticed and unchallenged." Ay, there are men who just say that to us. I read a book not long ago with a very fine title by a very learned man. I do not question his learning. He just broadly said this — that we preachers can do nothing for this helplessness that is represented here, that we are only talking. They level against us the objection that was levelled against Jesus Christ, when another helpless man was laid at His feet, and instead of curing his physical wretchedness He went first to what was first in importance — his spiritual wretchedness, and said, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." It is virtually the same thing still. It is a great blessing for that poor man himself that he was not impressed by it when Peter and John said, "Silver and gold have I none." I do not know that we are keeping as faithful to our own wares as Peter and John did. I am not sure that we are not getting to be too much impressed by the thought that what the East End needs is coals and blankets, and boots and shoes, and stockings for itself and its wife and its bairns. But suppose we fed the wretchedness of the East End, and suppose we clothed them; after all, what have we done? At the most and best we have only soothed their passage to the grave. Silver and gold can do much, and far more of the silver and gold that belongs to these who call themselves Christians ought to be spent in this blessed way. But there is an end to the power of silver and gold, and the Church was never better in possession of her true wealth than when she was represented by a couple of penniless fishermen, from the crevices of "whose hands I am not quite sure that the fish-scales had yet been dried. You who have got silver and gold, who have come to Jesus Christ, come as humbly as you can. Forget your silver and gold. "Silver and gold have I none." As I have said, on the surface how disappointing that was! Yet it was well said, and it was better done. "Such as I have give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Now here that poor fellow in a moment, but very truly and also very suddenly, was himself put to solve a very trying problem. Those of us who have been at college know the weary days we spent on what is called summum bonum — "What is the highest good?" It is not a mere vague question of philosophic schools. It is a very practical question, and that poor man lying there that day had to solve for himself very speedily. Virtually this question was put to him: "What is the highest good? Is it silver and gold?" And quicker than my tongue can tell it he came to the swift conclusion: "There is something here that can come to me which is better than anything that silver and gold can do." Have we got that length? Young fellow, you are toiling, you are trying to reach the summum bonum. Put it philosophically or non-philosophically, that is what we are all trying to do. Now, what is your highest good? Does it not lie in the direction of silver and gold, in the direction of all that is covered by these gilded, these very comprehensive terms, both in their notation and in their denotation? Through the grace and working of God's Word and God's Spirit — aye, and through the hardships of life — are not some of us beginning to get an .insight of what flashed upon that poor man: "Here is the greatest blessing that I could have, a blessing that I feel I am capable of receiving, a blessing that I feel I greatly need. I have been looking for it in a wrong direction, the world cannot give it." Those of you who have plenty have said to yourselves, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Thou hast got the summum bonum; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." And you cannot. Silver and gold are utterly failing. They are cheating; God grant that you may find out the cheat in time. Now listen. It is for men and women when they come to that pass that the preacher of the gospel is here. It is not because we are poor preachers; it is because you are poor stuff to preach to. When we get into contact with those who are ripe for spiritual blessing, when they are brought to that condition by the stress and disappointment of life, then the gospel preacher becomes wonderfully eloquent, simply because your ears are getting bored and your heart is getting adapted to the message that is spoken. "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee. Having thus spoken, he took him by the right hand." There must be immediate contact between Christ and you, and, more than that, between the preacher and you. That is one reason why I object to this historical pulpit — just simply because in here a great deal of that magnetism that was present with Peter and John is lost. How Peter stooped down and uttered that mighty name! Never go without uttering that mighty name of Jesus of Nazareth. Peter stooped down to grasp that man by the hand, and I see him yielding to the power of omnipotence. Up he came. Hallelujah! Christ is the power that Peter expected Him to be. Heaven has won, hell is baffled. The tide has begun to turn. From this One learn all. There is One who has power over every form of the enemy's malignant triumph as it extends in all its vastness. Do you not see that it needs all that supernatural work to be wrought upon your impotent soul before you can enter into the temple to appear before God in any profitable way to yourself or in any way that will bring praise and glory to His name? Now what do you know about worship? This is the road to the church, this is the way to the temple. This gospel cannot be preached, and no signs following. Peter and John did not stand over that man for half a day, saying, until it became a dull, stale, flat, unprofitable, weary word. "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk! Rise up and walk! Rise up and walk" while he lay and lay as helpless and as supine as ever. They risked everything, and they were justified in it. And the times are ripe for us to do the same thing still. Sinner, backslider, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up!

(J. McNeil.)

I. Find A PICTURE OF THE SINNER. The external world is a reflex of the spiritual. That lame man crouching at the gate and unable to enter it is a type of the sinner's condition.

1. He was a cripple, not a sound, complete man. So is every sinner. In him there is a miserable distortion of character.

2. He was a beggar. Sin is want.

3. This man was shut out of the temple. From certain texts in the Old Testament and certain passages in old Jewish writings the inference has been drawn that deformed people were not allowed to enter the temple. Though it is not certain, such was probably the Jewish law. Such is every sinner's condition. He is not merely outside the visible church, but he has no part in the spiritual fellowship of God's people.

II. Find also as a contrast to the above A PICTURE OF THE DISCIPLES. There are two men standing before the lame man. They show us the privilege of Christ's followers.

1. They have fellowship with each other. Notice how close was the intimacy between Peter and John, and how often they are named together. They were very different, yet they enjoyed the communion of saints with each other.

2. They have a love for God's house. They are going up to the temple, not as formal worshippers, but full of the Holy Ghost, and enjoying an intimate communion with God. To them all the service has a new meaning, since they have known Christ. He is the Lamb laid on the altar; He is the Theme of the psalm; He is shown in the vestments of the high priest. They worship Christ while others gaze at the spectacle.

3. They have sympathy for the needy. The love of Christ awakes in the Christian heart a love for every man. Others passed by the cripple with a glance of contempt or with a shudder of disgust. These men looked at him with love, for in that distorted form was a soul for whom Christ died.

4. They have power to help. As Peter looks on the man he feels a consciousness of Divine power to heal him. It is not in himself, but through Christ, that he can lift him up to health and strength. We cannot bring healing to men's bodies, but we can bring salvation to men's souls.

III. Find in this scene A PICTURE OF SALVATION.

1. In the salvation of every soul there is a human instrumentality. God does not save men alone and directly, nor through the agency of angels. There is always a Peter through whom the power of God comes to a needy soul.

2. There is in every lifetime one moment of special opportunity. No one knows how long the lame man had been lying at the gate; but one day he met his opportunity. So the Samaritan woman met hers at the well, so Matthew met his at his table, so the Ethiopian met his in the desert. Success is to grasp at the opportunity; failure is to let it pass.

3. In this miracle the power lay not in Peter's hand, but in Jesus's name — that is, in Jesus Himself, invoked by name. Only a Divine power could heal the cripple, and only a Divine power can make the sinner whole.

4. There was effort required on the part of the man himself. If he had not responded to Peter's strong clasp of the hand with an effort of his own he would have remained a cripple still. That effort was faith.

IV. Find in this scene A PICTURE OF THE SAVED MAN. See how aptly he represents the soul just after the new birth in the image of Christ Jesus.

1. We behold the transformation. A moment ago he was a crouching cripple; now he stands and leaps upon the marble floor. Look at a greater change in every converted sinner.

2. We notice his privilege. His first act is to enter through the Beautiful gate into the temple.

3. We notice his gratitude. Every saved soul should make confession of what God has done for him.

4. We notice his prominence. At once the remarkable event attracted attention. Every converted man becomes at once an object of interest and an evidence of Jesus's power.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The date of this miracle is not quite certain. It appears to be reported as a specimen of those wonders and signs referred to in Acts 2:43. Note —

I. THAT IT WAS WROUGHT ON A LIVING MAN. In all our Lord's miracles there was an exhibition of benevolence. This was the case here, for the miracle was wrought —

1. On an afflicted man. He had been lame from his birth. Every man is afflicted from his birth with an evil which nothing but the grace of God can remove.

2. On a poor man. How could one so circumstanced find employment? He was then hopelessly poor; but "man's extremity was God's opportunity."

3. On a man dependent on his friends. This followed from-his affliction and poverty. And it seems that those friends could only put him in the way of receiving help from strangers. Thus the necessities of nature led up to the manifestation of God's mercy. To how many has affliction been a means of salvation!

4. On a man known to many from the fact that he had been carried there for years. This enhanced the significance of the miracle and promoted its evidential purpose. In like manner does the conversion of the notoriously sinful bear witness to Christianity.

II. THAT IT WAS AN EXHIBITION OF ACTIVE CHRISTIANITY. It was fitting that being the first, it should have this quality. It shows —

1. A desire to do good on the part of Christian men. If men have no such desires, and yet call themselves Christians, their words and characters do not agree.

2. The effort which arises out of the proper desire to do good. Peter did not "consider the case," "promise to do the best he could for him," he took him by the hand and lifted him up. True Christianity turns desire into deed, and makes a missionary, a preacher, or a generous contributor of the man who desires the conversion of the heathen at home or abroad.

3. The course of the working of the gospel in the individual who receives it.(1) Special attention was awakened. "Look on us." The man had already looked in an ordinary way. So the hearers of the gospel have to give it more than their usual attention if they would be saved.(2) Hope was aroused. He "expected to receive something" — what he did not know. So those in whom the gospel is "mixed with faith" when they hear it are made hopeful before they have very distinct views of the joys of personal salvation, and their faith is strengthened until they can apprehend the blessings offered them.(3) Healing was administered. It came in the name of Jesus Christ, and immediately: so does salvation.(4) The healed cripple became a witness. The changes in the man's conduct told observers that he had received a great blessing from God, and was constrained to declare it. So Christians are constrained to bear witness by lip and life.

(W. Hudson.)

The spiritual lessons we ought to learn are —

I. IT IS WELL FOR CHRISTIANS TO BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH WHAT IS GOING ON "AT THE GATE," over the borders of our serene and comfortable lives; we must look after those who dwell on the outside.

II. OPPORTUNITIES OF DOING GOOD LIE IN OUR WAY EVERY DAY AND HOUR, if we really desire to improve them. One slight turn of the eye across the temple-area, where we pass on our way to prayers, will introduce us to two entirely different and totally distinct worlds of feeling, thought, and history.

III. CHRISTIANS OUGHT NOT TO LOSE TIME IN SIGNING AFTER NEW SPHERES OF CONSPICUOUS SACRIFICE. Like Peter and John, we ourselves, children of the covenant, are apt to be jostled against those who are ignorant, poor, feeble, and in pain. But it does not follow that all of them are certainly vicious and unworthy of help; some of them may actually have "faith to be healed."

IV. WORKING HANDS AND WILLING VOICES OUGHT TO GO WITH WEEPING EYES WHEN WE KNOW THE WANTS OF THE LORD'S POOR. Poverty at hand, weakness close beside us, are quite unromantic; it is distance which lends enchantment to the view in many cases as we converse about heathenism. But our home-heathen must not be absolutely neglected because they are so near. Many men, and some women, will shed tears over the painted picture of a Neapolitan boy begging, who would speak most savagely to the same lad if they met him alive in New York streets; they would quote with vigour the first part of Peter's little speech, and leave off the rest of it; and they would not put out their hands at all.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

If there be history in any writing, these verses in their simplicity and minute details are a history. There is nothing here approaching the parabolic or the mythical. See here —

I. POOR MEN BECOMING THE ORGANS OF OMNIPOTENCE. How often has this been the case. Moses, Elijah, and the apostles are examples.

II. A WRETCHED CRIPPLE MADE THE OCCASION OF GREAT GOOD. Thoughtful men have often asked, Why, under the government of a benevolent God, such cases should occur? Why men be sent into the world without the use of their limbs, eyes, or reason? But note —

1. That those who come into the world in this state, being unconscious of physical perfection, feel not their condition as others. Men who have never seen know nothing of the blessedness of vision. Hence persons of constitutional defect in form or organ often display a joy or peace at which others wonder.

2. That such cases serve by contrast to reveal the wonderful goodness of God. In nature those parts that have been shattered by earthquakes, or lie in black desolation, serve to set off the beauty and order which generally reign. And so a cripple here, or a blind man there, only set off the goodness of God as displayed in the millions that are perfect. These are a few dark strokes which the Great Artist employs to set off in the picture of the world the more striking aspects of beauty; a few of the rougher notes which the Great Musician uses to swell the chorus of universal order.

3. That they serve to inspire the physically perfect with gratitude to heaven. In the poor idiot, God says to us, "Be thankful for reason," etc.

4. That they afford scope and stimulus for the exercise of benevolence. Were all men equal in every respect there would be no object to awaken charity.

III. CHRISTIANITY TRANSCENDING HUMAN ASPIRATIONS. This man wanted alms, "silver and gold"; but in the name of Christ he received physical power, a blessing he had never ventured to expect. Thus it is ever: Christianity gives man " more than he can ask or think." "Eye hath not seen," etc.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

"A miracle is the dearest child of faith."

I. Faith PERFORMS the miracle — Peter and John.

II. Faith EXPERIENCES the miracle — the lame man, who, although not before the miracle, yet after it, appears as a believer.

III. Faith COMPREHENDS the miracle — the believing hearers.

(C. Gerok.)

I. THE PERSON HEALED.

1. He was impotent, carried by others; and where they left him they were sure to find him. He was not so by any accident, as Mephibosheth, but from the womb; and therefore his case was the more deplorable, and a cure the more improbable. This is a fit emblem of the unregenerate, who are not only spiritually blind, and deaf, and dumb, but tame too; so that they cannot tread the paths of wisdom, or stir one foot in the way to heaven. Good men may be ready to halt, and their feet well nigh slip; but these are always halting and slipping; for their legs, like those of the lame, are not equal. It is not legs and feet that they want, but the right use of them; and this has been their case from their birth. Blessed be God for the promises made to such! "I will assemble her that halteth, and gather her that is driven out. The lame man shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing."

2. His poverty added to his distress. If help was to be obtained by medicine, he bad not wherewithal to procure it, for he had to beg his bread. And thus it is with sinners. The saints want many things in the present life; but wicked men want everything that is worth having; and the want of a sense of this is perhaps their greatest want. Give me leave to add, that those to whom God shows mercy are also oftentimes like the impotent man, poor in temporals. The poor, says Christ, have the gospel preached to them. Those who are destitute of outward ornaments and comforts are inwardly beautified with Divine grace, and filled with Divine consolations.

3. He had continued long under his disorder, which made his case the more deplorable. Let this afford encouragement to old and accustomed sinners, if they have a sense of the evil of their way, and are in good earnest seeking relief, let them not despair of obtaining it. He who cured old diseases can save old sinners.

4. He was nevertheless in the way of a cure; for he lay at the Beautiful gate of the temple, where the charitable might relieve him, the pious pray for him, and the intelligent afford him their best advice. Thus the impotent sinner should watch daily at wisdom's gates, remembering that God commands deliverance out of Zion, and is there known for a refuge to His people.

II. THE NATURE OF THE CURE.

1. It was unexpected, and therefore the more welcome. And thus it is in the conversion of sinners. Mercy comes as it did to Zaccheus, to Saul, and to this man: unsought and unimplored!

2. It was instantaneous. Peter does not put him upon a long course of medicine; but takes him by the hand, and lifts him up, Thus, however gradual the work of grace may appear in some converts, yet the implantation of grace is instantaneous. God new creates the soul, as He created the world. He says, Let there be light; and there is light; Let there be life! and there is life.

3. As Omnipotence took it in hand, so it was an easy cure. No violent methods were used: his distorted limbs were not reduced to their proper place by any painful operation. And so the actings of Divine grace upon the soul are as mild and gentle as they are powerful and effectual

4. It was a real and permanent cure. Thus it is when God heals the broken heart, or cures the distempered soul. The one is a miracle of power, the other of grace: and as the former, so the latter is no deception.

III. THE EFFECTS OF THE CURE.

1. "He leaped up." Thus it is with the sinner recovered by Divine grace. The word of the Lord, the way of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, and especially the Christ of God, is his strength; and this strength he employs for the purposes for which it is bestowed. "I will go in the strength of the Lord God." Earnestness and intentness of mind is also implied. He not only exerted himself, but did it to the utmost of his power. Thus when a sinner is capable of acting, especially in the warmth of his first love, he will act with all his might.

2. "He stood." Formerly he could not stand without leaning and trembling. He stood ready for action, as one that would hereafter get his livelihood by working, and not by begging. He also stood to show himself to the people.

3. "He walked." This was a new exercise to him. Thus, by the power of Divine grace, those that are spiritually lame are made to walk with God, and before Him; honestly and uprightly, in newness of life; in the light, in the truth, and at liberty. The Spirit is their guide, the Word their rule, the excellent of the earth their companions, glory their end, and Christ their way.

4. "He entered with the apostles into the temple." At the gate of it he had got many an alms from man: now he would enter into it to get an alms from God. From this part of his conduct we may learn —(1) What place the saints make their chosen residence, the house of God. "My feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem!" Especially when recovered from disorder, and released from confinement. The first place they will visit is the temple, there to pay those vows which they made in the time of their distress, and present their humble and thankful acknowledgments unto God.(2) What persons they choose for their companions. Those whom God has made useful to them, as hoping still to receive the benefit of their prayers and instructions. Thus the jailer brought Paul and Silas into his house, and Lydia constrained them to abide in her house.

5. Still "he walked and leaped," like one in an ecstasy and transport, and "praised God." Whence we may observe, that though he loved the instruments, yet he did not praise them. He gave the praise where it was due.Improvement:

1. Let awakened sinners take encouragement from this wonderful instance of Divine grace.

2. Let the saints imitate the example here set before them, in the warmest gratitude and most affectionate praises.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

(hospital sermon): —

I. THE LAME MAN.

1. Many become lame through accident or sickness; but this man was born a cripple. Luke, who was a physician, gives us to understand that his lameness was owing to a weakness in, and perhaps malformation of, the ankle-bones. But that hardly suffices to describe his helpless condition. Many lame men are able to move about with the help of artificial supports. But this man was so utterly helpless that he was obliged to be carried. Not that there was any weakness in his body, all the weakness was in his ankles. Raphael seems to have seized this feature. He has drawn at a little distance from him another deformed man, who, however, is able to hobble along by the help of a crutch. But I think Raphael was mistaken in drawing his legs in a stiff, rigid form; it was not rigidity in the ankles he was suffering from, but extreme weakness. "Immediately his feet and ankles became firm."

2. And not only was he lame, he was a cripple and a beggar too. It is difficult to conceive a more pitiable condition.

3. There were several reasons why the gate of the temple had been selected as a propitious place for begging. Crowds of people were coming and going through it at least three times a day. Besides, the people who were coming in and going out were the best men and women in Jerusalem. It is the cream of society that frequent places of worship. Moreover, men in going to and coming from church are in a better mood for considering the poor and supplying their wants than in the tumultuous whirl of business. And it is a fact that almost all the alms of the world are administered at the gates of the temple, that charitable institutions are dependent for their support and success on them that go up to the temple at the hour of prayer. I never was honoured with a letter from the Lord Mayor of London till he thought money was required to carry out his humane object. Maybe that every man of science and of business also received a letter from him, which I doubt; but I am sure every minister did. Do I find fault? No; I look upon it as a great compliment to Christianity. Some time ago a daily paper warmly advocated private contributions towards the relief of the famine in India. So far, good. These papers which are going to supersede the pulpit, and do away with preaching, ought to do that. But the money did not come. As a last resort, the paper with its "largest circulation in the world" proposed to have a collection in the churches, forsooth. But where were the readers of the paper? Where the "largest circulation in the world"? Could not the "almighty press" squeeze a little money out of its numerous readers? Do I find fault? Oh, no; it is a high compliment to Christianity and to the ministers who teach their hearers what the papers fail to teach their readers. But Christianity is dying fast, the world can do without the churches? No, my friends, not as long as there are lame to help and hungry to feed. The beggars sometimes sit at the gates of Trade, but they are sternly told to "move on"; and at the gates of Pleasure and of Fashion, but none save the dogs deign to take notice of them. The beggars know that the temple is the great almshouse of the world.

4. There were about ten gates to the temple, all of them very costly and superb. The Jews did not as a rule grudge the most lavish expenditure upon the adornments of the temple. But there was one gate far surpassing all others in material and design. God's house should always be the most beautiful house in the neighbourhood, and God's people ought to contribute towards its adornment. If our congregations increase in wealth, God expects a part Of it to flow to the sanctuary. Trade must do homage to religion, and "offer unto it gifts — gold, frankincense, and myrrh." When the Church was in a state of comparative poverty, a mound of earth served for an altar and was acceptable in the sight of God. But when the Church increased in numbers and refinement, the altar of earth was justly superseded by an altar of shittim wood overlaid with brass; instead of the rude mound, there was to be a little artistic work. Finally, when the Church had increased in numbers and possessions, God required an altar overlaid with fine gold. Do Christians increase in wealth? Let a portion of it flow to the sanctuary of the Highest; let there be built a gate called the Beautiful. And at the gate let there stand a sister of mercy to administer alms to the helpless and forlorn. However beautiful was the gate of the temple, more beautiful in the sight of God were the hands which gave alms to the cripple. Beauty of stone and of metal is not to be compared with beauty of disposition and of character.

II. THE CURE OF THE LAME MAN.

1. Peter and John went up to the temple. The apostles did not abruptly sever themselves from the old dispensation; sudden ruptures never take place in the kingdom of God. First, there is a division in the Church, then a division from the Church. That was the ease at the establishment of Christianity; first, a division in Judaism, next a division from Judaism. That was the case at the time of the Protestant Reformation. That was the case in the history of the Establishment in our own country. The heathen who adopted Christianity were called upon to break off at once their connection with idols; but the Jews who adopted Christianity were only gradually weaned from Judaism. One could not be an idolater and a Christian; but one could be a Jew and a Christian.

2. As they were about to enter, their attention was called to the. impotent man who asked an alms. He had long ago ceased hoping for anything else. Forty years of helplessness and beggary will kill ambition in the most sanguine heart. We have known people who had been lying on a bed of suffering for years. If you spoke to them at the close of the first year, you would discover a shade of discontent — they had a strong desire to get up and walk. But at the end of ten years the most fiery spirit is quite tamed.

3. They fastened their eyes on him. A characteristic feature of Christianity is that it fastens its eyes on the destitute and the sick. Science fastens its eyes on inanimate matter; art on the "gate called Beautiful"; but Christianity on the poor cripple. Science seeks out the secrets of the world; art its beauties; but Christianity its ills. There is a great deal in a look. The sympathising eyes of Peter caught the wondering eyes of the beggar, and the latter felt a strange sensation, like a stream of electricity, thrilling his entire system.

4. The man sought alms; but the apostles gave him what was better — health. Health without money is infinitely better than money without health. Moreover, by endowing him with health they were conferring on him the ability to earn money: In this the miracle was a "sign." The gospel does not directly aim at improving men's circumstances; it aims at improving men themselves. But no sooner does it that than a noticeable improvement is seen in their surroundings. The gospel converts the man; the man converts the house. The gospel does not directly aim at increasing the material riches of a nation; it aims at increasing its funds of spiritual health; but no sooner does the nation feel new blood palpitating in every limb and member than it shakes off the lethargy of centuries, and marches fearlessly forward in the upward path of discovery and enterprise, and, as a natural consequence, riches flow in plentifully to its exchequer. The gospel came to a crippled world. It said unto it, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk," and forthwith it began a career upward and forward, and Christianity has indirectly added enormously to its material riches. Which are the most flourishing nations in our day? England, America, and Germany, the countries that have received most abundantly of the life and health that are lodged in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Utilitarianism says, Give men better houses, higher wages, purer air, more wholesome water, and by improving their circumstances you will improve their constitutions. But what says Christianity? I will strive to improve men, for I know that no sooner will men feel beating within them new and potent energies than they will set about to improve their external condition. Men need better houses, and purer air, and more wholesome water; but the great want of men is life — more life; and I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly. Utilitarianism does men good, Christianity makes them good.

5. The Apostolic Church had no silver and gold, it had only health to impart. But it is in the power of the modern Church to give both money and health. There are in this huge city over eighty hospitals, and you will find on inquiry that every hospital is well-nigh full of people who have not the means to pay for professional attendance at home; and it is a duty incumbent on the churches to maintain these institutions: in a state of high efficiency. Hospitals in a special sense are the earliest and mellowest fruit of our holy religion. Where was the first hospital founded? In Ephesus, the home of John, the beloved disciple who taught that "God is love." And by what name were hospitals first known? Lazarettoes; the very name bears on its forefront the stamp of the gospel, from the touching story of Lazarus sitting at the rich man's gate. And who founded and endowed the great hospitals of this metropolis? Christians. Saint Bartholomew's, Saint Luke's, Saint George's, with a few exceptions the hospitals are all saints I They are the precious legacies of the Christianity of the past; they have a strong claim on the Christianity of the present.

6. But I also trust that in acquiring money we have not lost what is of incomparably greater value, the faith and the courage to say to poor humanity, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Hundreds who go into hospitals founded by Christian philanthropy and supported by Christian charity come out "able to stand and to walk." But I trust that in a still deeper sense it is true. Have we not witnessed the power of the gospel in our own midst, giving strength to the weak and life to the dead? Men dead in trespasses and sins have risen in newness of life; men crippled in the spiritual nature have received strength; men weak in their feet and ankle-bones have received fresh power — they now enter the temple, they run in the way of the Divine commandments, they leap for joy like harts on the mountains of spices. The Church is fast increasing in riches; let us pray that it may also increase in the power to impart health to men "lame from their mother's womb."

(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)

I. THE COMPANIONS — "Peter and John."

1. Their destination — "the temple." Those who have been the greatest blessing to mankind through all the ages have loved God and frequented His temple. The theory that a man who is able to go to church can serve God at home, and never go, is contrary to the teaching of the New Testament.

2. Their harmony — "went up together." Nothing like Pentecostal power to harmonise opposite temperaments, and hold in check possible discordances and selfish tendencies in human nature.

3. Their look. Christianity is the only system in the world that knows how to "fasten its eyes upon" the afflicted and destitute, the guilty and the lost.

4. Their devotion — "at the hour of prayer." If any men were justified in supposing that they could dispense with the ordinary routine of religious worship, "Peter and John" were surely those men. But no men in Jerusalem were more consciously indebted to the means of grace, or more utterly dependent upon God. The more religion a man has, the more he will love "the temple" and "the hour of prayer."

5. Their poverty — "silver and gold have I none." Then a child of God may be poor. Then God may be specially honouring men, and fitting them for extraordinary careers of usefulness, who are without worldly means or influence. In this materialistic age, when men are judged of by their money, and not by their character — by what they have, and not by what they are, it is well to emphasise the fact that manhood and money are nor. interchangeable terms. The power that lifts and heals a crippled world is not carried about by men in their pocket-books, nor does it grow out of their bank accounts or social standing. It comes through the right relationship of the soul to Jesus Christ, and absolutely without regard to a man's worldly condition.

6. Their power — "Rise up, and walk." That is the main power the Church lacks just now to make her ready for the conquest of the world; and that is the power for the exercise of which a crippled world fastens its eyes upon us. Neither wealth, nor education, nor social influence can atone for the want of this Divine afflatus.

II. THE CRIPPLE — "A man lame from his mother's womb."

1. His location — "At the gate of the temple." Then this cripple was no fool. He understood the philosophy of benevolence. The kindest and most sympathetic people in the world are praying people. Persons who obey the first table of the law are most likely to obey the second. Nine-tenths of all the money raised for benevolent purposes, and for the support of our charitable institutions, comes from the pockets of those who go "up to the temple at the hour of prayer."

2. His attitude — "Lay at the gate." We have seen thousands of lame men who could go almost anywhere, through the aid of artificial supports. But this man was obliged to be carried.

3. His vocation "To ask alms." Both the place and time selected by this cripple to ply his vocation indicate that he was a shrewd, thoughtful man.

4. His cure.

(1)It was instantaneous.

(2)It was thorough — "Walked and leaped."

5. His gratitude. The accession of strength was sudden, and his manifestation of it was equally sudden. There was no timid shrinking, lest he should overtax his new strength. The man that God blesses and saves need not be afraid of overdoing, and bringing on a relapse, by anything his heart prompts him to do, in the shape of letting others know what has happened. The want of the times is a joyful, happy, triumphant Christianity.

III. The crowd — "All the people."

1. Their evidence — "Saw him."

2. Their recognition (ver. 10). He had sat at the gate so long that everybody knew him, and that may be the reason why he was favoured with this miraculous cure.

3. Their excitement. They wisely argued that the change could only be effected by a Divine cause. Extend this reasoning, and you have one of the. most unanswerable arguments in favour of Christianity. The transformations wrought by it in society prove it to be Divine in its origin.

4. Their emotions — "Wonder and amazement." Strange that they should be so affected by this miracle, after having witnessed so many by the Master.Application:

1. Let us imitate Peter and John in our appreciation of the means of grace.

2. Let us not disturb the services by coming in late; but, like them, let us try to be punctual; "at the hour."

3. Pentecostal blessings of yesterday cannot supply our need of God's inspiration and blessing to-day.

4. It is the duty of the unconverted to "fasten their eyes" upon spiritual matters, to yield to right influences, to allow themselves to be carried daily to the gate of right feeling and conduct. If this lame man had rebelled that morning against being carried "to the gate of the temple," he might never have been healed.

5. Learn that, though the eyes of the sinner may be fastened upon the servant, the Master only can heal.

(T. Kelly.)

You will not see the whole beauty of this paragraph unless you connect it with the chapter preceding.

1. You remember the infinite excitement of that chapter. There had never been such a day in the Church before. Life was raised up to a higher level than it had ever attained, and the people were praising God from morning till night. Surely the millennium had come! After this there will be no more common-place. Who would willingly come out of the blue heavens to walk again on the pathways of ordinary life? But read the opening words of the third chapter. After the excitement of Pentecost, is not this of the nature of an anti-climax? Two men, former partners in the fishing trade, "went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer." Then see that the ecstatic hours of life ought to be succeeded by quiet worship, for that alone can sustain the heart with true nourishment. God grants unto His Church hours of enthusiasm, days when the whole horizon opens like an infinite door into the upper places of the universe; but after such peculiarly solemn manifestations of power and grace, He expects us to go up into the temple to pray, as He knows such visions make all other life ordinary and common. Whatever luxuries you may enjoy occasionally, you must have bread permanently. We cannot always live in the extraordinary; for by the very fact of its being always extraordinary, it would cease to be other than usual.

2. But were not the men inspired? Yes; yet the two men "went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer." The clock was not altered; the great Pentecostal storm had rushed across the heavens, and had left behind it showers of blessings. Still the quiet clock ticked and travelled on to the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, and Peter and John were not so transported by special ecstasies as to forget their daily and customary engagements with God. Suspect any inspiration that makes you contemptuous of ordinary religious duty. Inspiration never lessens duty. Any supposed inspiration that has withdrawn men from the temple and poisoned them with the delusion that they could sufficiently read the Bible at home, is an inspiration coming otherwhere than from heaven. You were not made to live at home always. There is in you that which finds its completion in public fellowship. It does every man good to be now and then in a crowd; public assembly has an educational and social influence upon the individual life. Standing alone, a man may seem to be very great, important, self-complete; it is when he enters into a crowd that he realises his humanity, his littleness, and yet the very greatness that comes of that contraction of individuality. "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together." Peter and John did not. Are we not wrong in supposing that prayer can ever be of the nature of common-place? What is prayer? Is it not communion with God. The apostles had not lost their inspiration, as is evident by what they did. Verily, these men then had not lost their inspiration, or they never would have taken this course with the suppliant at the Beautiful gate of the Temple. They could work this miracle. Let that be taken as a proof of the continuance of their inspiration; and yet we see that, notwithstanding, they are going up like ordinary humble worshippers to pray in the temple. Beware of any inspiration that leads you away from apostolic practice. Your ambition may be easily excited, and you may not require a very expert tempter of the human mind to say to you that perhaps you may be a genius, that you need not submit to take upon you the yoke of religious custom. When such temptation seduces you, give it the lie. The law would seem to be that every great effort of human life should be followed by a religious exercise; every outgoing of the soul should have its compensatory movement in silent communion with God. After you have been striving arduously and valiantly in the fight, plunge into the bath, so to say, of Divine meditation and heavenly communion, and therein leave your weakness and recover your strength.

3. This incidental conversation with the poor lame beggar at the Beautiful gate of the Temple gives us some particulars about the apostles themselves, and those particulars are the more valuable because of the way in which they are introduced into the narrative.

I. IT IS PERFECTLY EVIDENT THAT HAVING ALL THINGS COMMON HAD NOT ENRICHED PETER AND JOHN. Apostolic communion was no priest's trick; it was no attempt to enrich the apostolate at the expense of the Christian public. "Silver and gold have we none." So much the better for them I Woe unto the apostle who spends one half of his life in getting silver and gold, and the other half in watching that they do not run away from him. What had they then? Divine energy, spiritual life, social sympathy, and hearts to bless those who needed benediction and assistance. The poverty of the apostles was in material substance only; and therefore it was no poverty at all. He is the poor man who has nothing but money. He is rich who has high ideals and noble sympathies, and who lives in the presence of God and in the service of truth. Have your riches in your mind, in your heart, in your thoughts, in your purposes, in your beneficent plans.

II. THIS ACTION SHOWS HOW POSSIBLE IT IS TO BE GIVING LESS THAN OTHERS, AND AT THE SAME TIME TO BE GIVING MORE. "Silver and gold have I none." "Then he could give nothing" would be the swift and shallow reasoning of those who read the surface only. "But such as I have give I thee." That is the giving that does not impoverish; the more given the more left. The sun has been giving his light for thousands of years, and yet he is as luminous as when he first looked out upon the darkness which he dispelled. Give mechanically, and you will weary of the exercise; but give spiritually, and you will increase your possessions by the very giving of your alms.

III. A MAN MAY PRAY NONE THE LESS PRAYERFULLY BECAUSE HE HAS AIDED SOME POOR CREATURE BEFORE HE ENTERED THE SACRED PLACE. We should have enjoyed the service many a time much more keenly if before coming to it we had made some sorrowful heart glad. That is the preparation for prayer. If you want to come .up at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice with glowing, thankful hearts, ready to receive any communication God may make to them, spend the intervening hours in doing good to those who sit in solitary places. Then you will come, not in a spirit of criticism, but in a spirit of sympathy, and from the first note to the last there shall be a shining forth and revelation of the Divine presence.

IV. CHRISTIANITY NOW, AS THEN, MUST PROVE ITS DIVINITY BY ITS BENEFICENCE. "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Peter did not preach a sermon to the man. To the excited multitude he expounded the Scriptures; but when he came face to face with the man, he preached no sermon, except as the mention of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is always a sermon, but bade him rise up and walk. Here is the sphere in which Christian argument may yet secure its highest triumph. Words can be answered by words, phrases beget phrases, and the easy trick of recrimination is the favourite amusement of mere controversialists; but a Church seeking out the lowly, helping the helpless, healing the sick, teaching the ignorant, standing by the cause of righteousness, defying the oppressor, and suffering and working for the right, is a Church whose beneficence is its noblest attribute, and whose character is the only vindication it requires.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Look at the miracle in the light of what has just taken place. There is great enthusiasm in the Church. The Divine life is, so to speak, at its highest point. We should consider, confining ourselves within the limits of the Church, that the age of human unity and love had come in all its golden glory. We are now invited to go beyond the Church line, and at our very first step we find a man who appeals to our sympathy in his pain and helplessness. See how world lies within world, and how misleading are all the inferences drawn from a limited set of facts.

1. The man who has access to every means of mental and spiritual culture may think all the world as highly privileged as himself.

2. The healthy and prosperous family may forget that other households are afflicted and depressed. Look beyond your own sphere. You have not far to look; there is but a step between thee and the world which is either higher or lower than thine own. The lesson has a double application; the prosperous man is to look down that he may help; the unsuccessful man is to look up that he may hope.

I. THE SOCIAL SIDE of this incident.

1. We may be able to carry the cripple when we are unable to heal him. Do what you can. Human helplessness is a continual appeal to human power. There are secondary services in life. We cannot always do the great deed; nor can we always stand in the full light, that we may be seen of men. Sometimes we can only carry. We cannot restore.

2. The commonest minds, as well as the highest, have always associated the idea of charity with that of religion. This is right. This is a high compliment to any form of religion. See how it has been paid to Christianity above all! The theology that has no philanthropy is its own vain god.

3. Look at the compensations of the poorest life. The man was carried daily by friendly hands, and had the temple as his daily hope. The sun shines even on the poorest lot.

II. THE APOSTOLIC SIDE.

1. The apostles never attempted to do without public worship. Such worship has its distinct advantages.(1) Provocation of thought.(2) Development of sympathy.

2. They. never neglected human want in their anxiety to render Divine worship. Some people are one-sidedly religious.

3. They never attended even to physical necessities in their own name.Conclusion: The incident suggests two questions.

1. Are we too pious to be philanthropic?

2. Has the name of Jesus lost its power?

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Viewing the Acts as a type of what all Church history was to be, and a Divine exposition of the principles which should guide the Church in times of suffering as well as of action, we can see good reasons for the insertion of this particular narrative.

I. THIS MIRACLE WAS TYPICAL OF THE CHURCH'S WORK, for it was a beggar that was healed, and this beggar lay helpless and hopeless at the very doors of the temple. The beggar typified humanity at large. He was laid, indeed, in a splendid position — before him was extended the magnificent panorama of hills which stood round about Jerusalem; above him rose the splendours of the building upon which the Herods had lavished the riches and wonders of their gorgeous conceptions but he was nothing the better for all this material grandeur till touched by the power which lay in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And the beggar of the Beautiful gate was in all these respects the fittest object for St. Peter's earliest miracle, because he was exactly typical of mankind's state. Humanity, Jew and Gentile alike, lay at the very gate of God's temple of the universe. Men could discourse learnedly, too, concerning that sanctuary, and they could admire its beauteous proportions. Poets, philosophers, and wise men had treated of the temple of the universe in works which can never be surpassed, but all the while they lay outside its sacred precincts. They had no power to stand up and enter in, leaping, and walking, and praising God. This miracle of healing the beggar was typical of the Church's work again, because it was a beggar who thus received a blessing when the Church roused itself to the discharge of its great mission. Christianity is essentially the religion of the masses. Its Founder was a carpenter, and its earliest benediction pronounced the blessedness of those that are poor in spirit, and ever since the greatest triumphs of Christianity have been gained amongst the poor. Here, however, lies a danger. Its work in this direction must be done in no one-sided spirit. Christianity must never adopt the language or the tone of the mere agitator. A Christianity which triumphs through appeals to popular prejudices, and seeks a mere temporary advantage by riding on the crest of popular ignorance, is not the religion taught by Christ and His apostles. But yet, again, the conversion of this beggar was effected through his healing; and here we see a type of the Church's future work. The Church, then, as represented by the apostles, did not despise the body, or regard efforts of the bodily blessing beneath its dignity. Schools, hospitals, sanitary and medical science, the dwellings and amusements of the people, trade, commerce, all should be the care of the Church, and should be based on Christ's law, and carried out on Christian principles.

II. THIS MIRACLE WAS THE OCCASION OF ST. PETER'S TESTIMONY BOTH TO THE PEOPLE AND TO THEIR RULERS. His discourse has two distinct divisions. It sets forth, first, the claims, dignity, and nature of Christ, and then makes a personal appeal to the men of Jerusalem. St. Peter begins his sermon with an act of profound self-renunciation. When he saw the people running together, he said (ver. 12). The same spirit of renunciation appears at an earlier stage of the miracle (ver. 6). One point is at once manifest when St. Peter's conduct is compared with his Master's under similar circumstances. St. Peter acts as a delegate and a servant; Jesus Christ acted as a principal, a master — the Prince of Life. St. Peter's words teach another lesson. They are typical of the spirit which should ever animate the Christian preacher or teacher. They turn the attention of his hearers wholly away from himself, and exalt Christ Jesus alone. Earthly motives easily insinuate themselves in every man's heart, and when a man feels urged on to declare some unpleasant truth, or to raise a violent and determined opposition, he should search diligently, lest that while he imagines himself following a heavenly vision and obeying a Divine command, he should be only yielding to mere human suggestions of pride, or partisanship, or uncharitableness.

(G. T. Stokes, D. D.)

I. THE PROPER DISPOSITION from which Christian care for the poor should flow.

1. Love to God. The apostles were on their way to the temple.

2. Love of our neighbor. They regard the poor man with sympathy — John feeling, Peter helping.

II. THE PROPER MEANS which Christian care of the poor should employ. Silver and gold is not the chief concern. Alms quickly thrown to the poor costs little, and bears little fruit. But —

1. Personal and living intercourse with the poor. "Peter looked," etc.

2. Evangelical counsel and comfort from the Word of God. "Such as I have," etc.

III. THE PROPER RESULT in which Christian care for the poor should delight.

1. Bodily restoration — he could rise up and walk.

2. Spiritual health — he praised God.

(C. Gerok.)

It is seldom that the co-operation of both parties — the doer and the receiver — is so clearly seen as here.

I. IN THE LOOKS OF BOTH PARTIES. Peter looking on the lame man with sympathising love, ready to help and to heal; and the lame man, at the order of the apostle, regarding him and John steadfastly with a petitioning and hopeful spirit.

II. IN THEIR BELIEVING APPREHENSION OF JESUS. Peter speaking and commanding in the name of Jesus; and the lame man, also hopeful and susceptible, with his whole soul attaching himself to Jesus.

III. IN THEIR SPIRITUAL AND BODILY EXERTIONS. Peter stretching forth and taking the man by the right hand; and the man, with miraculous strength of will and muscle, lifting himself up. The name of Jesus, the person of Jesus, His grace and Divine saving power is the centre; in Him the souls meet, the men reach forth their hands, and find spiritual and bodily strength in giving and receiving.

(G. V. Lechler, D. D.)

It would not be fair to say even this limping beggar had no alleviations to his lot. He was not blind; he could see the Beautiful gate, with its wonderful pillars of brass overlaid with vast plates of gold and silver. He was not deaf; he could hear the priests' trumpets on the feast-days; he could even listen to the singing of the daily psalms and the chanting of the evening prayers in the courts of the loveliest edifice under the sun. He was not dumb; he could ask for alms as a beggar, he could cry for mercy as a sinner. He was not forsaken; he had a circle of patient friends to bring him to his wonted place every afternoon. Discontented poor peoplemight as well count up their manifest mercies now and then.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

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