The Human and the Divine
Acts 3:11-21
And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon's…

Human and Divine elements are here crowded together, as indeed they are in most if not all of the events of our life. We look at -


1. Excitement. The man who had been lame, in the excitement of joy and gratitude, "held Peter and John" (ver. 11), and "all the people ran together... greatly wondering" (ver. 11). In the region of the Divine is calmness, serenity, peace; in that of the human is agitation, disturbance, excitement.

2. Instrumentality. (Ver. 12.) We do not effect anything of ourselves; we are co-workers with God. We depend on his Divine assistance, on the co-operation of forces that are acting around and within us, in virtue of his energizing power, for the accomplishment of our humblest undertakings. How much more emphatically is this the case in the sphere of sacred usefulness, in the communication of spiritual life! There should be, there must be, as in the case of Peter and John, fitness for the work and obedience to the word and will of Christ; but after all it is not "our own power or holiness" that "makes any man to walk" in the ways of God.

3. Guilt, qualified by ignorance. Peter charges his hearers with positive and terrible crime (vers. 13-15); he does, indeed, make the abatement which is due to ignorance (ver. 17): they did not "kill the Prince of life," knowing that it was he whom they were crucifying. But they remained in guilty ignorance of his origin, his character, and his mission; and their ignorance, if it palliated, did not excuse their crime. We also often "know not what we do" when we wrong the innocent, when we sin against ourselves, when we rob God of the glory due to his Name. Our ignorance is not left out of the account by the Holy and the Just One; nevertheless he adjudges us to be verily guilty, and he condemns us.

4. Penitence. (Ver. 19.) We are to be changed in our mind, and be converted or turned from our evil ways to those which are right, pure, godly.

5. Faith. (Ver. 16.) Peter says that "faith in the Name" of Jesus Christ had given the lame man that "perfect soundness" which they all beheld. He does not say, or is not reported as saying, that these "men of Israel" must believe in him whom they had guiltily slain, but that was either implied or expressed in his address to them. "Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ," is the testimony borne by apostles "both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks" (Acts 20:21).


1. Overruling wisdom. (Ver. 18.) What God had shown beforehand needed to be done, he had, in the ordering of his holy providence, caused to take place. Through all these things which happened at Jerusalem, in which the hand of man had so large a share, there ran a thread of Divine agency; so that purposes of heavenly love and wisdom were after all fulfilled. He still "makes the wrath of man to praise him."

2. Glorifying the Just and Holy One. (Vers. 13, 15.) God is bringing many sons unto glory, as well as the "Captain of our salvation." He will ensure the ultimate acquittal and honoring of those who are reviled and wronged. "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness."

3. Restoration. (Vers. 12, 19-21.) It was the Divine hand, and no human magic, which healed this lame beggar (ver. 12) It is the hand of God which gives such blessed recuperative power to our bodily system, and which raises the sick man from the bed of suffering, weakness, acute disease, to newness of physical life. It is God who grants to the condemned but penitent spirit restoration to his loving favor ("that your sins may be blotted out"), and it is he who will one day grant to a renovated world "times of refreshing," the reappearance of Jesus Christ in his heavenly power and glory (vers. 20, 21). There is a sense in which

(1) there is much that is marvelous in the working and outworking of God; it is so far beyond our finite understanding. But there is also a sense in which

(2) there is nothing surprising in any acts of restoration or renovation we witness. It is only what we should ask for and expect of him. "Why marvel we" at that? - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: As the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.

Solomon's Porch -- a Hallowed Spot for Peter
Top of Page
Top of Page