Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.…
General introduction. The witnessing vocation of apostles required miracles - as signs of the kingdom of Christ; as attestations of apostolic authority; as appeals to the world, and to the Jewish people especially, to accept the new doctrine; as corresponding in some measure to the miracles of our Lord, and so perpetuating the blessing of his ministry which he himself promised in his last discourses, "Another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:16). Consider the miracle itself.
I. ITS CHARACTER.
1. Purely benevolent. Performed on a beggar, helpless, miserable, altogether unconnected with the new society, unable to reward his benefactors.
2. Conspicuously real. At a public spot - the temple; at the ninth hour, when worshippers would throng to the place; on one well known to the whole city; daily laid as a public object of pity; helped by no one before, but now helped through Christ; born lame, therefore not labouring under merely temporary infirmity; not even asked for by the sufferer, but offered freely by the apostles, as by a sudden impulse of the Spirit.
II. ITS EFFECTS.
1. Upon the man himself. It raised him up physically and spiritually at the same moment. God often thus speaks to the soul through the body, both by afflictions and by visitations of mercy. It turned his wail of misery into songs of joy. Take the description of the work upon the man as typical of the course of gracious work, the bestowment of a new life and strength, first putting us on our feet with sudden leap of heartfelt gladness, of faith; then "beginning, to walk," feeling the new limbs like a child; then walking forward into the temple; then walking and leaping and praising God," the conscious participation in blessings making us the ministers of joy to others, filling the temple with praise.
2. Upon the apostles and through them on the Church and on the world. The important place of the miracle as evidence of the Divine mission of the messengers. They themselves could scarcely have known what they could do until, by impulse of the Spirit, they put forth the energy. The believers who were sharers with apostles of the gifts of the Spirit would henceforth expect great things. Jerusalem must have been startled into attention and incipient faith. "The people saw him," etc. (vers. 9, 10). Although miracles regarded alone would never convert the world, yet in connection with the Word of God they powerfully arouse the minds of men. "Wonder and amazement" are God's agents in awakening the soul and preparing the ground for the seed of eternal life. Another great effect of the miracle was corrective and didactic. No one could doubt that the apostles were no self-seekers, no fanatics, no ambitious founders of a new sect but simply heralds of the gospel. What they did was "in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth." They began their work upon the poor, they appealed to the impotent and the helpless, they proclaimed their own poverty, and yet invited men to riches such as the world knew not. They showed themselves the sympathizing brothers of all mankind, ready to give such as they had to give, without money and without price, a pattern of simplicity and spirituality. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.