Matthew Poole's Commentary
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.Acts 3:1-11 The lame man healed by Peter and John.
Acts 3:12-26 Peter declares to the people that this cure was not
wrought by any power or holiness in himself or John,
but by the power of God through faith in the name of
Jesus, whom they had ignorantly crucified, but whom
God had raised from the dead according to the
Scripture; exhorts them by faith to seek remission of
sins and salvation in Jesus, whose coming had been
spoken of by Moses and all the prophets.
Went up together into the temple; not to communicate with the Jews in their worship, which was now antiquated, but that they might have a larger field to sow the seed of the gospel into; and therefore it was most probably upon some sabbath or festival day, and not unlikely in the evening of that great day of Pentecost (of which in the former chapter).
At the hour of prayer: that God must be worshipped, and daily prayed unto, the law of nature and positive law of God requires; but, says Maimonides, there is no obligation by virtue of any command of God, unto any number of prayers, nor to any certain prayers, nor to any definite time of prayer. Howsoever, they did usually pray thrice a day, and thought each of those three times recommended unto them by one of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Howsoever, the time of offering up the morning and evening sacrifice was recommended or commanded by God, as a time of prayer; a sacrifice being an actual prayer, as the other is real or verbal.
The ninth hour; about three o’clock in the afternoon, the time of the evening sacrifice.
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 them that entered into the temple;Lame from his mother’s womb, and not by any casualty, that so the miracle might be the greater, and the power of the God of nature appear.
They laid daily; by which it was manifest, that it could not be by any correspondence between the apostles and the lame man upon this occasion.
At the gate of the temple; where there must needs be the greater notice taken of him; none going in or out but such as might see him.
Called Beautiful, for the excellency of the workmanship: it was at the entering into the second court, or the court of the Jews from that of the Gentiles. This man, out of pride, being unwilling to beg of the Gentiles, though proselyted, (whom they did contemn), or out of policy, hoping to receive more of the Jews, whom he is nearer related to,
asked alms of them that entered into the temple. Poverty is no sign of God’s disfavour (our blessed Redeemer is in an especial manner called Caput pauperum); but lameness in this man, divers miseries and calamities in others, bring them to the knowledge of Christ, and salvation through him.
Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.Seeing, though lame: every one hath something that is truly valuable, and matter of praise and thanks unto God.
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.The eye affects the heart, and speaks the compassion he had of this poor man, whom he did not disdain thoroughly and seriously to behold: he excites the lame man’s expectation, and requires his attention, that he might the more mind the manner and means of his cure, and be the better prepared to give God the glory of it.
And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.Gave heed, with his eyes and mind too, being intent upon the apostles; this he was commanded to do, and it succeeds beyond all hopes. Thus we receive of God daily more than we can ask or think.
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.Silver and gold have I none; that is, at hand, or about me; neither had he much elsewhere; the apostles abounded indeed, but in grace, not in riches.
Such as I have; a power from Christ to heal.
Give I thee; I apply it to thee, and will make it effectual for thee.
In the name, in the power, or at the command, of Jesus Christ, and trusting unto his promised assistance, who can speak to things that are not as if they were.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth; our Saviour was usually so called, and being known by that name, the apostle does not decline it, though it had been by many (without cause) given him by way of reproach.
And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength.He took him by the right hand; not disdaining to take hold of a poor cripple or beggar; as also being fully persuaded of Christ’s presence with him for his cure.
And immediately, that it might the more evidently appear that this was the work of God, who can without means, and on a sudden, bring aught to perfection,
his feet and ankle bones, whence his lameness did proceed, received strength: thus God can say unto the weak, Be strong.
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, Isaiah 35:6,
Then shall the lame man leap as an hart; and thus the lame man manifested that he was perfectly cured, though in an instant,
walking, and leaping, and praising God, to whom alone he attributed that sudden and perfect (and therefore miraculous) cure; nay, he attributes nothing unto the means; the apostle’s words he knew did little or nothing, but God is all in all unto him: and he leaped, to evidence the truth of the miracle that was wrought upon him, and that his soul rejoiced in God his Saviour.
And all the people saw him walking and praising God:This miracle was so publicly done, that none could deny the matter of fact; which the enemies of the gospel are forced to confess, Acts 4:16.
And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.They knew that it was he; the very same lame beggar, probably notoriously known to many.
They were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him; being so much contrary to what they had seen him but a little while before, when he had begged their alms; and, as he reasoned well, John 9:32,
Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind; so it was never heard, that any strengthened thus the feet of him that was born lame.
And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.Held Peter and John, in an ecstasy of thankfulness unto them, they having been the instruments of so great a mercy from God towards him; as also out of fear, lest when they were gone he might relapse: he that found so great a change in himself could not but be as much surprised as they that saw the change upon him.
The porch that is called Solomon’s; not that which was built by Solomon, for that was destroyed by the Babylonians, as the rest of the temple was, 2 Kings 25:9; unless some part of this porch might not be consumed by the fire, when the other parts of the temple were burned, some morsel often escaping the jaws of that devouring element, fire; or it may be it was built in the re-edification of the temple, in the same place where Solomon’s porch had stood, and thence called by the former name that was so much remembered. If any wonder that a porch should hold so many thousands of people, inasmuch as five thousand of them are said to be converted, Acts 4:4; this porch is thought not only to have been the court of the Gentiles, and that of the Jews, that is, the outward and inward court; but to have contained a great part of the court of the Gentiles, if the whole court of the Gentiles might not be so called, as being indeed but a porch, or an entrance into the court of the Jews.
And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?He answered, for he said, an ordinary Hebraism, though no question was put unto him: thus the evangelist tells us that our Saviour answered and said, when there was no previous question spoken of, Matthew 11:25. Nay, Jesus answered and said unto the fig tree, Mark 11:14; that is, he spake powerfully unto it.
Ye men of Israel; an ingratiating compellation, they ever valuing themselves and others on that account.
By our own power or holiness: holiness, were it never so real and great in men, cannot cause the least miracle, although it is itself, all things considered, a very great one.
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob; he mentions them, because the promise of the Messiah was made to them,
Hath glorified his Son Jesus; or his servant, for so also he is called, Isaiah 53:11; and that he might redeem us, he took upon him the form of a servant, and was obedient to the death of the cross, and did that great work of redemption which God sent him into the world to do.
Whom ye delivered up; the rulers, at whose command our blessed Saviour was apprehended, bound, and delivered unto Pilate, Matthew 27:1,2.
And denied him; this is charged upon the common sort of people also, who were earnest in crying, Matthew 27:25, His blood be on us, and on our children. Their sin is here ripped up, and their sore searched to the quick, that they might entertain the word of salvation with the greater attention and desire.
But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;But ye denied the Holy One; Christ the anointed, when they cried out as with one voice,
We have no king but Caesar, John 19:15; disclaiming our Redeemer, and his being anointed over them.
And desired a murderer; to wit, Barabbas, crying out, Not this man, but Barabbas, John 18:40; which much aggravated their impiety; when the choice was given unto them of two, so vastly different, the just Jesus, and the murderous Barabbas, they chose the latter, to their destruction and confusion unto this present day. Where will blindness of mind and hardness of heart end!
And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.The Prince of life; as God, he is the Author of our temporal life too, in whom we live, and move, &c., and in whose hand is our breath; but Christ, as Mediator, is the guide and way to eternal life, John 14:6. These are said to have killed our Saviour, though neither Herod, nor Pilate, nor probably many (if any) of them that nailed him to the cross, were present; but it was done for their sakes, and at their desires, and therefore by their means; and it is here charged upon them, as done by them.
And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.His name; his power; for by it he is known, as men or things are by their several names; or the name of Christ is put for Christ himself, as the name of God is put for God commonly.
Through faith in his name; calling by faith on the name of Christ, being thoroughly persuaded that he could and would heal this cripple.
The faith which is by him; not only faith, as on Christ as its object, but by and from Christ as its author; faith being twice made mention of in this cure, there being required faith in Peter to heal, and in the lame man to be healed.
And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.Lest the corrosive in Acts 3:13-15 should pierce too far, to prevent despair in his auditors the apostle useth in this verse a lenitive, calling them yet brethren, though guilty of so great a mistake in their judgment, and fault in their practice.
Through ignorance ye did it; whatsoever they did against Christ, whom St. Peter preached, was out of a double error:
1. About the place of Christ’s birth, supposing him to have been born at Nazareth.
2. They were ignorant of the nature of his kingdom.
As did also your rulers; whose fault was the greater, as having seduced others, &c.; yet St. Peter opens a door of hope by repentance, even for them also.
But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.The prophets did all speak the same things, as if they had spoken out of one mouth, as they did speak by one Spirit. God used the ignorance of some, and the malice of others, for his own holy ends: and that it was prophesied
that Christ should suffer, is very plain, Isaiah 1:5-7.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;Repent ye therefore, and be converted; this is the true end, use, and application, both of the preceding miracle and sermon, to persuade unto repentance and conversion.
That your sins may be blotted out; alluding to the manner of writing upon tables in those times, and not much disagreeing from what is in use amongst us, who write upon paper or parchment. There is a book of remembrance, and a record of all our sins kept: The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond, Jeremiah 17:1. When sin is pardoned, it is said to be blotted out, Isaiah 44:22; and not to be found any more, though it should be sought for, Jeremiah 50:20.
Times of refreshing; or times of cooling; as afflictions are called a fiery trial, so deliverance from them is a season of refreshing or cooling. Such a time of refreshing shall come in this life, commonly from many troubles; but when this life ends, a deliverance comes from all afflictions to them that truly fear and serve God.
Shall come from the presence of the Lord; God’s presence is the cause and ground from whence all the refreshment his people take do arise; heaven would not be heaven (a place of bliss and glory) without it: and as God is the object of our beatitude, so he is the giver of all comfort, and his Spirit is the only Comforter.
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:To remove all evils and miseries from his people; when that Sun shines all clouds and mists are scattered. This refers especially to Christ’s second coming, which is here promised, to encourage us to do good, and to deter us from doing evil; as also to move us to repentance, and to comfort us when penitent.
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.Whom the heaven must receive; that is, contain after it hath received him, as a real place doth a true body; for such Christ’s body was, which was received into heaven: and heaven is the palace and throne of this King of kings and Lord of lords, where he shall reign until he hath put all his enemies under his feet, 1 Corinthians 15:25.
Until the times of restitution of all things; or restoration of all things, when all things shall be restored to that condition from which sin put them: for the fall hath maimed and disordered the whole universe; and probably there is not that excellency in any of the creatures which there was at first, before man (for whom they were made) by his sin brought death to himself, and as it were a dead colour over all them; this makes the whole creation groan and travail in pain until now, Romans 8:22. But the end of the world will be a time of restitution of all things unto man especially, who shall be then restored unto God, and to a blessed immortality: for unless this be granted, all their preaching and prophesying was in vain, 1 Corinthians 15:14.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.For Moses truly said unto the fathers; their ancestors in the wilderness, Deu 18:15, as also in the Deu 18:18. St. Peter names here but one of their prophets, but a most remarkable one.
Like unto me;
1. In wisdom.
2. In miracles.
3. In being a Mediator between God and his people.
4. In their being both and of their brethren,
i.e. of the seed of Abraham.
5. In that they were both sent from God after an
Him shall ye hear in all things; if any prophet did come amongst them, and did foretell future things which came to pass, or did work a real miracle, they were bound to believe him, if he did not endeavour to draw them to worship a false god; and by consequence they were bound to have believed our Saviour, who taught them only to fear that true God, whom the law and all the prophets had spoken of.
And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.Every soul; that is every one.
Hear that prophet; that is believe and obey him.
Shall be destroyed from among the people; as those that disobeyed Moses were destroyed, many perishing by strange and sudden deaths: we read of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and all that belonged to them, swallowed up for this sin, Numbers 16:1-50. The apostle demands, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? Hebrews 2:3. For a greater than Moses is here, and God hath undertaken to require it of every one that will not hearken unto him, Deu 18:19.
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.Though there were some prophets betwixt Moses and Samuel, yet they were but such as prophesied in some particular exigences and cases; and in Samuel’s days the word of the Lord was precious, or rare, 1 Samuel 3:1; but then David, that lively type of Christ, appearing at the throne, the Messiah began to be more discovered in and by him: besides, Samuel was the first who wrote his prophecies, and erected the schools of the prophets, and therefore he is first mentioned; and the date of the prophets is here begun from him.
Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.Children of the prophets; the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are called prophets, Psalm 105:15, and did prophesy, foretelling things to come, &c. The disciples of the prophets are also called their children, or sons, 2 Kings 2:3; and so these pretended and desired to be accounted. Children of the covenant are sixth unto whom the covenant belongs, which God made with Abraham and his seed; hence they are called the children of the promise, Romans 9:8 Galatians 4:28; and the children of the kingdom, Matthew 8:12. And this covenant of God with Abraham was the cause, that notwithstanding all the sore and heavy calamities of that people. God did always preserve some, and there was a remnant saved.
Kindreds; families, or nations.
Be blessed: through Christ, who is this seed of Abraham, all mercies in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, are bestowed; grace and glory, and every good thing.
Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.Unto you first; the Jews and inhabitants of Jerusalem, who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel. St. Peter did not yet know, that the Gentiles should be called, until he was taught it by the vision, Acts 10:1-48; and though our Saviour had told the apostles that they should be his witnesses unto the uttermost part of the earth, Acts 1:8, they understood it only of those of their own nation, scattered or dispersed abroad, 1 Peter 1:1.
Raised up his son, Jesus; which word does not only refer to the resurrection of Christ, but to his being constituted and appointed to be a Prince and a Saviour; thus it is said, a great prophet is risen up amongst us, Luke 7:16; and, God hath, raised up a horn of salvation, Luke 1:69. Howsoever, it is by virtue of Christ’s being raised from the dead, and carried into his kingdom, that we are blessed. In turning away everyone of you from his iniquities; this is the greatest blessing indeed; hence our Saviour hath his name imposed by God on him, Matthew 1:21, and was called Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins; and without this being saved from our sins, nothing can be a blessing to us, Isaiah 3:11; and, There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked, Isaiah 57:21. Add to this, that if any be turned from their iniquities, it is through the blessing of God in Christ.