Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.…
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.