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…
I. The AUDIENCE.
1. Different from that previously gathered, which was made up of devout men chiefly, who were interested in the strange phenomenon of the tongues. This was a mingled multitude, partly of temple worshippers, partly of passers-by, including, therefore, many who were present, at the Crucifixion, who had shouted "Crucify him!"
2. Their state of mind. Greatly wondering, ready to be taught, gazing inquiringly at the apostles, almost worshipping them. Strange that they should be so affected after having beheld the miracles of the Lord. Probably already deeply touched and filled with remorseful feelings by the Crucifixion, beginning to believe in the Resurrection, and so filled with alarm lest they had incurred the righteous wrath of God. Peter "saw it," that is, the signs of an awakened mind and softened heart. He "answered," perhaps cries of astonishment and inquiry.
II. THE SUBJECT OF DISCOURSE. Not the miracle as a miracle, but the Messiahship of Jesus, as proved by it, and its practical bearing on those present.
1. The facts of the gospel are set face to face with the words of Scripture. The agency of man is shown to be entirely under the control of an overruling Providence, "the determinate counsel of God." Thus the greatness and graciousness of the faith is at once clearly revealed. The miracle falls into its place as a sign of the Divine working. It is the Name of Christ to which all is to be ascribed. As the multitude were unconscious agents in fulfilling the prophecies, so the apostles are simply ministers proclaiming the gospel, inciting their brethren to believe.
2. The nearness of the kingdom of God is made the ground of an earnest call to repentance and faith. The tremendous responsibility of such a time is declared. If God has been working, how can he pass by the willful disobedience and neglect of those to whom such a message is sent?
3. The day of grace is heralded. While the guilt of a Savior's crucifixion is boldly pronounced, the gate of life is flung wide open. Peter uses his key well. Times of refreshing and gladness will come if impenitence does not hinder them. Jesus has been sent to bless you, not to curse you; to offer up the blood you shed on your behalf, not to call it down upon your heads, as you did in your blind passion. It was an appeal from fear to faith. Behold the power, but understand that the power is not death, but life. Believe and live. A truly gospel message.
III. AN EXAMPLE OF APOSTOLIC EARNESTNESS.
1. Thoroughly pervaded by the spirit of faith. Look, not on us, nor on the healed man, but on Christ. The power and the holiness (or "godliness," Revised Version), is not ours, but God's. We are mere earthen vessels. The excellency of the power is God's. The firm persuasion which gave boldness to the preacher was not mere natural eloquence, or physical strength, or temporary elevation in the eyes of the multitude; but a scriptural faith, which rested on the fulfilled promises of God, which saw the facts in the light of eternal truth, which grasped the hope of the future - "the restoration of all things."
2. Directness of appeal. They were not afraid of their faces. They spoke to their consciences. The guilt of the crucifiers is charged home upon them. We succeed best with men when they feel our hand grappling their conscience; if only they believe in our sincerity and faithfulness. Yet the apostles could not know how such a charge would be taken. Wonder might be changed in a fickle multitude into self-justification and rage against the prophet who said, "Ye are the men." Compare in this respect the New Testament prophets with those of the Old Testament.
3. Sympathy and love to souls. Nothing like inhuman pressing the charge or denunciation. They are "brethren" still. They did it "in ignorance." They can yet be blessed and saved. There is "perfect soundness" for them if they will have it.
4. Inspired wisdom and heavenly skill. They were "taught of God" how to speak. The startling message comes first, "Ye are guilty;" then the Scripture exposition leading on to the loving appeal at the conclusion. Our last note should always be love. Yet the golden thread of gospel faithfulness must run through all. A model of preaching. Make the beginning, middle, and end, Christ. But let it be Christ the Savior from sin; not Christ the mere Teacher, or Example, or Mystery of God; but the Messenger of peace to dying souls. The sermon, doubtless, is given only in rough sketch, for it probably occupied some time, as the miracle was wrought about three o'clock in the afternoon, and the sermon was interrupted in the evening. There was time for a discourse of more than an hour, so that we may suppose the facts and arguments considerably amplified in the delivery. It would seem that some two thousand were converted between the day of Pentecost and the close of Peter's sermon in Solomon's porch. It is, therefore, likely that a large proportion of that number owed their conversion to this sermon; and they were many of them of the populace. Their identification with the Church would, therefore, give great weight to the message, which would be remembered and repeated in substance through the city, and hence handed down to the writer of the Acts. We cannot do better than study such models of simplicity and earnestness, if we would be blessed with similar success among the people. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.