Have you heard the saying “spectator value”? Radio 702 had a “Traffic Reporter” named Attie. Often he would tell listeners of an accident, say on the N1 North where the Highway was blocked due to the crash. The other side, the N1 South was travelling at snail pace … and he added … this was due to spectator value. The same would be true of a street fight, police making an arrest or something else of interest. Following on from yesterday’s Bible Reading and Daily Note, we find spectator value or interest developing rather quickly.
Ac 3:11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”
1) The beggar was healed by God through the agency of Peter (and John) … and he “held onto” them. Some translations use the words like “clinging, clung and held tightly”. This was not because he was unsteady on his feet. Rather it was due to the man’s personal amazement at what happened. These men had helped him walk for the first time in his life! It was such an unbelievable experience that his joy and happiness included not wanting these two men, Peter and John to disappear. He wanted to remain with them. On the spiritual plain I have experience people being led to salvation … and for them what happened was so life transforming that they did not want to part from the presence of the person or persons who were instrumental in their salvation. You might have had a similar experience.
2) More than spectator value … all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. These people were those who had seen the beggar as they approached the temple. He had pestered them for money and maybe some gave him cash or food, much like what happens today. The word astonished is associated with “render immobile” but they were moving … running to the beggar, Peter and John. The concept of being confused and amazed drove them to what they saw … a cripple now walking, running and jumping! Solomon’s Colonnade was built on the eastern side of the temple with a roof covering it to provide protection from the weather as the temple’s courtyards did not. If you passed through this Colonnade to the west you would arrive at the area where the gentile believers would meet. You get people who will gather anywhere there is an attraction. These people did so when Jesus was crucified (v13-15). Now they run to “the miracle” they saw before their eyes. They were about to find something unexpected! The caution for us today is not to run off to this gathering or that gathering where we hear of “miracles” happening. Many do this, not so much because they are nosy … but because they are expectant. They want to see a miracle, but more, they want to experience a miracle. Sadly as said many times … although God can do the miraculous should He want to, the spectacular gifts have been withdrawn because we have the complete Bible … and the Bible authenticates the Gospel of Jesus! But then … the greatest miracle is being born again. This is what we need to make the greatest fuss about … but most don’t want the spiritual miracle, they only want the physical.
3) God uses this miracle to reach souls with the Gospel. From verse 12 to 26 we have Peter preaching again. The gift of discernment is clearly seen in this short sermon. Often pastors have this gift … because if they themselves are born again, they understand the human heart and what it craves. In other words … the sinful disposition hankers after that which pleases the sensual dimension. Look how masterly Peter exposes the human heart and actions.
(1) Why be surprised at what you see?
Ac 3:12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?”
He addresses the “men of Israel”. The reason he gives them this label is because he wants them to grasp that they are religious people. The Messiah came firstly to the Jews. “Men of Israel” are the favored people of God. He was complimentary, not insulting. Then he questions their surprise at the healing of the beggar who was crippled from birth. Following this question he asks them if they think he and John had the power and the godliness to perform such a miracle. This is astounding! Most “so called healers and miracle workers” today draw attention to themselves as if to say they did whatever they claim happened. We need to be extremely careful about claims when the focus is on the man and not God.
(2) Now Peter claims that a “specific God” has glorified Jesus Christ of Nazareth in whose name the miracle was performed. In verse 13 he says this God is the God of the first father of the Jewish people, Abraham, and is also the God of his son Isaac and grandson Jacob who are the fore-fathers of the Jewish Nation. This is significant because these Jews held to their fore-fathers. This God glorified Jesus through this miracle. Stop and consider this. This miracle was to authenticate Jesus and His redemptive work as described in the Gospel’ message. Due to the flow of the rest of the sermon, we will leave the rest for tomorrow. What we need to establish in our hearts is that Peter and John refused any praise or glory for doing what they did because they were just God’s instruments and all the glory, honor and praise needed to be directed to God. As believers, when we exercise our spiritual gift mix coupled to our natural abilities we must remember that we are God’s servants and if there is any glory coming from what we do, it belongs to God and not ourselves. When we do this we will be filled with great happiness because our God is receiving all the glory which is His right.
Lord God Almighty, help me to remember who You are and who I am for Jesus’ sake. Amen.