‘Taking him by the right hand, [Peter] helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.’ (Acts 3:7 NIVUK)
This is the first miracle the apostles performed after the resurrection of Jesus and it points us in at least three directions: upward, forward and inward.
Peter says to the lame man in the second part of verse 6,
‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ (Acts 3:6) Later, he says in verse 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 completely healed him, as you can all see.’ (Acts 3:16) Peter here is pointing people upward towards Jesus. He wasn’t performing this miracle in his strength and power, rather he was participating in Jesus’ ministry.
Then Luke tells us,
‘[The lame beggar] jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God’ (Acts 3:8). Interestingly, we’re told that this man didn’t just walk but he
‘jumped to his feet’ and went
‘walking and jumping.’ This immediately invokes thoughts of what the prophet Isaiah said:
‘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’ (Isaiah 35:5-6). This is describing what’s going to happen in this world when God comes back to restore everything, and Luke in his description of this healing is drawing the same connection. This miracle is pointing people forward to that time, which is why Peter goes on to say,
‘Heaven must receive [Jesus] until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophet’ (Acts 3:21).
Additionally, this miracle points inward. While this man was looking for money to help him in his plight, Peter had something better for him.
‘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) The something better Peter had for him wasn’t just physical healing, it was his complete spiritual healing from inside out – salvation. So, at Peter’s defence of the healing before the Sanhedrin, he says,
‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved’ (Acts4:12). And who should be standing with Peter and John – none other than the man who had been healed
(Acts 4:14). Not only did he praise God for his healing, but the inner change led to him joining with the apostles.
By participating in Jesus’ ministry, we not only point to a future hope when the world will be restored but also to a present deliverance as hearts are changed.
Father, may we be Jesus’ agents of healing in this broken world,
Have a good week participating with Jesus.