Acts 3 – A Healing at the Beautiful Gate

Peter healing a lame man is significant for several reasons. First, Jesus healed many crippled persons during his ministry, Mark 2:1-12 for example. Second, he was a well-known beggar who was crippled from birth. People knew he was unable to walk, and that had never walked in his life. He was not paralyzed or injured. Third, and most importantly for the point of Peter’s sermon, that the lame would “leap for joy” was a key expectation of the Messianic age (Isa 35:6).

Nicolas Poussin (1655)

This text is similar to Isa 61:1-2, a text Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth and applied to himself (Luke 4). There is continuity between Jesus and his messianic announcement and the apostolic ministry of Peter. Isaiah calls on his listeners to prepare for this coming age and to “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.” Here in Acts 3 the feet and ankles of the lame man are strengthened. Isaiah 35 then says:

Isaiah 35:4-7 … say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

Isaiah looks forward to a coming age when physical infirmities will be reversed, the blind will see, the deaf will hear and the lame will leap! Even the desert will gush with water and become fertile. In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit is “poured out” on the people, here in Acts 3 the Holy Spirit is healing physical infirmity.

This is also the first time one of the disciples does the same kind of miracle Jesus did, although they heal “in the name of Jesus.” This indicates Jesus is a powerful name that is able to heal and able to save (Acts 4:12). By Acts 19, some exorcists will try to use the name of Jesus to cast out demons (with unfortunate results). This healing also establishes a pattern in the book of Acts: as the gospel enters new areas it is accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit as witnessed by miracles.

Peter calls for the man’s attention and tells him that he has no money for him, and heals him in the name of Jesus. Why does Peter call for the man’s attention? Perhaps there are a lot of people passing through the gate and the beggar is trying to beg from as many as he can.

The man is instantly healed, his ankles and bones are strengthen and his able to stand. Probably the man had stretched out his hands to take some coins from Peter, but Peter grabs his hands and helps him to stand instead. The fact that he is healed fully and completely is indicated that he walks and jumps, praising God (verse 8). The “leaping” for the formerly lame man evokes the Isaiah 35 passage indicating that this is a sign the messianic age is dawning.

This miracle, therefore, draws attention to the fact the messianic age has to some extent begun with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The coming of the Spirit on God’s people is like water poured out on a dry and thirsty land. Peter and John are representatives of the Messiah and use this healing to call a large Jewish crowd to repentance.

If this is true, then likely there are other indications the kingdom is coming/present in the ministry of Peter and John in Acts 2-5.

What else do you see here that might support this idea?

20 thoughts on “Acts 3 – A Healing at the Beautiful Gate

  1. In Acts 5:12-16, The Apostles were doing “Many signs and wonders” in Solomon’s Portico. The sick were carried out into the streets just in hopes that Peters shadow would pass over them as he walked by. It is amazing to see these people respond to what is being done through Peter by God. This passage just further affirms for me that the period in which Peter and John went through Jerusalem is one of the closest the kingdom has been to coming. The amazing things that took place through these man were a clear example that Jesus will come again just as he promised.


  2. There are many signs and miracles that point to God’s work and the coming of a new age throughout Acts. In Chapter 2, the beginning of the Holy Spirit’s work at Pentecost may have been prophesied by Joel as something that would happen in the coming of the Messianic age. “No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In these last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16-17) An angel of the Lord also tells the apostles as he opens the door of the jail, “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” (Acts 5:20) It is preached by the apostles and even announced by an angel of the Lord that this is a time of “new life” with an opportunity to partake in it.


  3. This story in the Bible is one of my favorites. Throughout the Bible, there are many stories that point to Jesus and the powerful things that he was able to do. God performed miracles on his own and he performed miracles through others. For example, God raised Lazarus from the dead on his own, and God healed the lame beggar through Peter and John. All throughout the book of Acts, there are many more miracles done through the apostles. I think that all the miracles performed throughout Acts were signs of grace or unearned favor. These miracles show that anything is possible and all things do eventually work out for the good as long as you believe. The lame beggar got up after Peter and John prayed for him, and believed he could walk. Mark 9:23 says, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” This passage tells me that God can use anyone and do anything as long as we believe that God can do it.

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  4. As a sports fan I have seen many p:layers show flashes of greatness.have seen players who do things nobody thought they could do, and more often then not, the can not do it again. This is not the case for the Disciples and those who do things in Jesus name. This is proven as a new work of God and not fake when you have people trying to cast out demons in acts 19. When unbelievers in Jesus try to use his name the enemy responds to them “But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”- acts 19:15. when the time of refreshing came those who believed repented and power came on them, thus supporting that Jesus indeed is the Messiah!


  5. I find it truly interesting how, in my mind, the Jewish Apostles became “Christians” and changed their lifestyles overnight. I never thought that they might have chosen to eat pork immediately (or ever) but I did not really stop to consider that they would have still observed other traditions – such as this hour of prayer.

    This was a great place for a beggar to sit, as everyone had to come by – so from Acts 3, it appears that God had again planned to have some seriously solid eyewitnesses that would have known the man before as well. God’s kingdom does appear to be present as mentioned in the post, but it still took a full speech from Peter to explain that it was not his doing – but God’s. Peter gives glory to the Messiah, explains that the Jews killed him, and is thus arrested shortly after. The Jews were not ready to accept that Messiah had come and were not willing to open their eyes to what had happened with the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    Also, in regards to the kingdom – Peter does state that the prophets foretold of these days, reminding them that they are Gods chosen people. So he believed that the kingdom was come, or was to immediately follow…


  6. I think that there is a lot to be said about the boldness in which Peter and John conduct their ministry. Not only did Peter and John do a lot of things that people weren’t used to seeing, but they refused to stop it. They were so confident in the Lord and that they were moving into the kingdom that they did not care about any punishment that may come their way because of their actions. In chapter 4 verses 19-22, Peter and John are challenged by the high priests to stop what they are doing and their answer is kind of sassy. They basically said, ‘look if you think we are wrong, then whatever. All we know is that we need to talk about and act out what we have seen and heard.’ I love that. I think that the confidence in this answer and in how they carry themselves in general really shows the message that Peter and John the kingdom is coming.


  7. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have felt like to have read and known these Old Testament prophetic scriptures all your life and then live to see them fulfilled. And yet, the religious leaders (the ones who likely knew the scriptures best) didn’t see any of this happening right under their noses.

    I find it really kind of interesting that Peter calls out to the crippled beggar, kind of harshly, actually. In the NASB he yells at him “Look at us!”. This poor beggar guy probably wasn’t used to people trying to get his attention, since it was usually the other way around. And then, even more expected, he holds out his hands for money, only to receive none, and then get something infinitely better. This guy had a big day!


  8. Miracles happen all the time because of the power of God. The healing of the beggar is an example of that. Someone rejected by all and someone that people would not turn to but turn against, was someone that Peter turned a helping hand too. The man that was lame jumped and leaped of pure joy showing the great power of God and also the great ability that the Holy Spirit can do on the people. The coming of the Lord is like a flowing of water upon the individual. “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” Acts 3:6. Peter and John were not going around giving money or physical objects but rather they were going around proclaiming the gospel and performing miracles.


    • Yes Miranda I would agree! It seems to me that these things happen to those who others least expect them to happen to if that makes sense. It is an unfortunate reminder though too of how some people were and still aren’t really helpful to those who needed it more. At the same time though, what is comforting is that some of those same people still accepted the gospel and the message that Peter and John were proclaiming.


  9. The first question that I noticed you proposed here deals with Peter when he called out to the lame beggar in Acts 3. In a sense I would agree here that the beggar was probably from every and anyone that crossed by him. Another way to look at this is maybe with as large of a crowd as there was in this story, it could be a good assumption to say that Peter was calling for the man’s attention so that way all of the people surrounding in the area could hear Peter, thus would turn their attention to what he was about to do with healing the lame beggar. That way, once everyone saw the miracle performed, there would be more and more people that would be intrigued about how we was able to do what he did and then also believe in Jesus.

    Another case where a miracle occurred that would support the idea of the kingdom coming and being present in the book of Acts is in Acts 5 where the Apostles healed many people to the point where everyone who heard about it came to them. Acts 5:15-16 NIV says that, “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Peter, John, and the rest of the Apostles obviously trusted Jesus with their lives and believed in Him and His ministry, so because of this blatant trust, they were blessed with helping others in the same way Jesus would have.


    • This lame man was a man that most people that go past that gate would see on the daily. They see him begging time and time again for food and money. Its very clear that the use of this man was meant to show the most skeptical person the power of the Holy Spirit through Peter. This visual was confirming the true love that God has for the weak and the poor. The result of peoples belief was by the simple fact that just by getting in the shadow of Peter would be healed. This was a promise that Jesus shared with the apostles in the Book of John and that they would be able to do the same and even greater things. With all the prophecies coming true don’t you think that these things should start to show the pharisees that the man that they killed truly was the son of God?

      These people are getting the chance to see and believe right before their eyes. Miracles happen to day, but what a changed world we would live in if miracles were happening at this level. I do believe that our faith is much stronger because it is without seeing. I do believe that the power of healing is perfectly possible through us today, but to much doubt gets in the way and we lose to much of our focus.


  10. Reading Acts 3, I am presented with a scene from a movie. Peter and the lame man, with the crowd in the background. To the lame man, it is an ordinary day, little does he know his whole life will be changed. Peter comes to him, calls for his attention. Surely the lame is surprised because someone was seeking out to him for once. Maybe even questioning if he was in trouble. Regardless, the man focuses his eyes on him, with sincere hope in the power of man. To this man’s surprise, Peter gives him not the worlds empty fulfillment, but God’s eternal power. Peter stretched out his hand and helped the man up, which if I were the lame man, I would be a little confused at this point, doubtful even. Peter helps him up, the man is leaping. We see this prophesized in Isaiah 35. This is the first time one of the disciples does a miracle as Jesus did. It is a new hope for people at this time. This hope leads many of the crowd around them watching, to come to the end of themselves, the end of man’s power, but to trust in God’s power. I like how the book put it in describing this lame man getting up and leaping, while the crowd was in amazement (Jipp, 47). It was a new age, and I bet Peter did this without his own benefit in mind, he was on a mission to be God’s hands and feet. Acts 3 goes on to tell Peters acknowledgments to Jesus the Nazareth and the resurrection powers of God. I bet Peter had an incredible feeling when he laid down to rest that night. In regard to this passage, and just seeing the kingdom coming in chapters surrounding this, I look at Acts 5, the work and power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 5 shows the true power of the Holy Spirit and work into the lives of believers. This shows the coming kingdom and work of Peter and John because he is working directly with their ministries and pointing out the sin in Ananias and Sapphira’s life. Although the Holy Spirit did work before this in lives, it is every present in the coming chapters.


  11. To answer this question, we must first identify what the things are that would signify the coming/existence of the kingdom. I think these things are at least partially described in Peters sermon in Acts 2:17-21. Though some of these things have not occurred yet, but will occur at the tribulation and second coming, some of these things have happened and do signify the kingdom. One thing that happened is described in verse 17 as the Spirit being poured out on all flesh. This can be seen in Acts 2:1-4, with the Spirit ascending at Pentecost.

    Another passage that supports the coming and existence of the kingdom is Acts 5:12-16. In it, it describes the apostles doing many signs and wonders – healing the sick and drawing out spirits. Though this passage isn’t within chapters 1-5, Acts 14:8-10 also gives an account of Paul performing a miracle by healing a crippled man. Furthermore, in Acts 2:4-11 it describes them being filled with the Holy Spirit and teaching to all who were there at the time of Pentecost all in their own language.

    All these things that were done signified a change in the age. They all signify the kingdom. These miracles were done to bring more people to the Lord and to bring Him glory. This really is the purpose of these miracles, to further His kingdom and to bring Him glory.


  12. Part of the message here is definitely the coming of the Holy Spirit and the indication that the eschatological age is beginning (just as Peter was pointing out in his sermon in Acts 2). However, even Peter’s remark about not having money draws attention to an eschatological view of material things.
    “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you (Acts 3:6a).” Peter definitely shows that he values not only Jesus of Nazareth, but that he believes that Jesus is of greater worth than material things. While we may think that this is true from our own perspective (it may even feel like a Sunday school answer)…it is important to note that Peter is making this expression as if he is giving the lame man a gift (in the same way that he would otherwise have given him money). There is value in knowing who Jesus of Nazareth is, because there is a time coming when He will return (again, Peter hints at this in Acts 2, and then again later in Acts 3:19-20 with his response to the people at the Temple).
    There is a call to action from Peter here (and no…not John…who doesn’t say anything in written record), and it is a call to take the matter of Jesus Christ seriously. Jesus was not just another man, and he is no longer dead. He is in fact the Messiah, and he is worth far more than anything that we ask for or think of in material terms. In addition, there is a futuristic time in which Jesus is coming back, and there needs to be some level of urgency about that. I think that the healing of the lame man is not just a random miracle because Peter felt bad for the guy, but rather a statement that Jesus is in fact Messiah and that He is truly powerful and valuable.


  13. In addition to this miracle drawing attention to the fact that the messianic age had begun, this miracle further connected the Apostles to Jesus. Something that the Jews of the day looked for from the Apostles was proof that they were who they said they were; followers of Jesus that witnessed his resurrected body. Confirming the truth of this would bring many more Jews to a belief that their words were true. This miracle is the first of many that the Apostles would do in the name of Jesus. However, this was a crucial miracle seeing as it was a public healing. The Jews who visited the gate were aware of this man and his condition. Seeing him walking and jumping would shock those around him. The miracle pointed back to Christ not only in its healing nature but additionally in how it impacted the crowd around them. This miracle could also point us to the truth of how Christ’s sacrifice had opened the doors of salvation to those outside the temple system. The cripple could represent the Gentiles that would soon be given the gospel for salvation apart from the Jewish law. While Peter did not intend this miracle to be impactful in this way, it is entirely possible to read it from this perspective.


  14. It is truly amazing to think about what the Holy Spirit did back then. Don’t get me wrong there is still that same power in the believers today, but it seems to have taken on a new form. I have always wondered why the disciples were able to speak in tongues and heal people like that but nowadays it is much more of a rare case, when it seems that Peter was healing people left and right. I think not only does the crippled man point to the coming messianic age it also seems I think point to the possibility of the healing of Israel. It is known throughout scripture that Israel has had a hardened heart towards God, and it needs to be healed and opened. Through the healing of this man it could show the first steps towards the healing of Israel.


  15. When reading Acts 3, my mind does go in the direction of the kingdom beginning and becoming apparent during the ministry and speaking of Peter and John (lack-thereof speaking for him). For example, the moment Jesus’ blood atoned for our sins on the cross, salvation as we know it really began. With Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, Peter convicts those gathering around that they are the reason, or the ones responsible, for murdering Jesus unjustly and releasing Barabbas. The reason for Peter pointing the finger at those responsible who turned over Jesus and who witnessed his death is because he is trying to build a bridge that stems from that aggressive approach of the past into what is now opened up for Jews, salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Peter speaks of signs and wonders, what we know to be miracles, and I believe anyone can relate to the saying of, “I need to see it to believe it,” and in that time and in their case using signs and wonders was a way of doing that. Knowing that people had witnessed Jesus performing signs and miracles, Peter reflects that concept and performs his own in Acts 3, healing a lame man outside the temple through the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. (Acts 3:6) This is the beginning of the kingdom, I think we see the signs from that point forward, between Saul’s conversion in Acts 9 at Damascus, where Christ told him to be the mouthpiece to the Gentiles, and Jesus’ ascension where He announces that He will return again, and ever since that announcement we have been going down the path that leads to the eventual eternal kingdom. I do believe all of these scriptures, signs and wonders performed, and the prophecy that we have and the promises we have of restoration and return of and through Christ point to the kingdom being already established and one that we are currently in today.


  16. I am happy to read about God store’s, John, Peter and orders who obey Him ( God ), when I saw all these pictures, there’s another spirit that came into me to be afraid of God the more.


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