1] Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer. 2] And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of those who entered the temple; 3] who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4] And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5] So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6] Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7] And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8] So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them – walking, leaping, and praising God. 9] And all the people who saw him walking and praising God. 10] Then they knew it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Our post today isn’t so much about this man and his miraculous healing, though we look at it, but about the idea of healing and those who claim to have that gift and ministry. Before we start, I do believe in divine healing. God can heal any disease or deformity. He often does. I just don’t believe in “divine healers,” for reasons given in the post.
In ch. 2:42-47, we have a general statement about the activity of the early church, as well as the attitude of the people and rulers toward it. We believe chapters 3 and 4 give only one incident out of many which could have been given.
Some general observations:
1. It is obvious that God can, and does, “heal.” This isn’t in question at all. What is questionable is the way some approach it as a “ministry.”
2. Whether in the Gospels or in Acts, healing seem to have been given to those obviously and absolutely without hope, humanly speaking, Luke 8:43; John 5:2-5, etc. The Lord or the disciples never just cured a cold.
3. Perhaps because of this “selectivity,” as well as their obviousness, these healings were indisputable. The evidence was open and available to all, cf. Acts 4:14.
4. These healings were almost always public. In our text, it was right in the temple area, a place thronged with people, v. 1. Even in the raising of Dorcas, Acts 9:36-42, though the actual miracle was done privately, v. 40, there was a public presentation of her immediately afterward, v. 41.
5. From this incident in Acts 3, we note a certain decorum, if you will. Even though the healings were public, there was a certain restraint. There was no sensationalism, no “circus atmosphere.” The early church did not mount an advertising campaign to capitalize on these marvels. There were none who wanted to be known as “healers.”
6. In line with the above, these healings were spontaneous. There was no advance preparation, publicity or promotion by the church. They did not get together a “healing crusade.” There seems almost to be an “off-handedness” about the whole things, as if “healing” were not preeminently important. In the case before us, Peter and John were on their way to worship and, if there had been no commotion, would have simply continued on their way.
7. The healings were done in order that Christ might be glorified and the Gospel verified, Acts 3:13; Mark 16:18.
8. Perhaps most importantly, these healings were healings. There was nothing like what I heard about from a preacher friend. One of his friends, in a wheelchair, was complaining of a certain ache. He went to a “healing meeting.” When my friend next saw him, still in the wheelchair, he exclaimed, “I’ve been healed!”
“What do you mean?” questioned my friend.
“I don’t ache any more!” was the reply.
If this gentleman had truly been healed after the New Testament manner, he would not have needed the wheelchair!