Acts 3:6, 16
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
The Revised Version, in its rendering of ver. 16, sets the Name forth even more prominently than the Authorized Version. It reads, "And by [or, 'on the ground of'] faith in his Name hath his Name made this man strong." This represents the actual order of the Greek words. The incident is so graphically described by Luke, that a suggestive picture of the scene may be given as introduction. The point of difference between this and our Lord's miracles which needs attention is this: Our Lord required signs of faith before he wrought his miracles St. Peter did not wait for such signs in this object of the healing power. Two reasons may help to explain the difference. St. Peter had to show the faith which he and the other apostles had in Christ. Signs of their faith were just then the important thing, rather than signs of the man's faith. As our Lord acted directly, and not as an agent, he could give entire attention to the recipiency, or receptivity, of the objects of his power. And we may also say that the miracle was wrought rather for the people's sakes than for the man's. It was a call to them to give heed to the apostles' witness; and therefore St. Peter was, properly, more concerned about the influence of the miracle on the people than even about the moral condition of the lame man. St. Peter acted on a sudden impulse of the Holy Ghost which dwelt in him, and it was fitting that he and the rest of the disciples should keep themselves open to the Spirit's leadings, ready to follow and obey the inward inspirations and monitions. Compare Paul's response to Divine direction, in Acts 16:6-10. We need, in these days, to recover our lost faith in the presence and lead of God the Holy Ghost, and to win the attitude of watching for his gracious guidance. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. St. Peter's explanation of the miracle is that it was wrought in the "power of Christ's Name." This we endeavor to understand.
I. CHRIST'S NAME GATHERS UP HIS RIGHTS AND ATTRIBUTES. A name should be the expression of what a thing is, or what a man is. Nowadays names of persons are conventional and without significance; they are fixed by accident or by sentiment. In olden times they held meanings, and were appropriate to individuals; so a name was an explanation or revelation. In sympathy with this it is said that the redeemed are to have a "new name" on their foreheads. It will gather up into an expression their privilege and their joy as the fully redeemed. F. W. Robertson, in his sermon on 'Jacob wrestling' (First Series, p. 41), says, "In the Hebrew history are discernible three periods distinctly marked, in which names and words bore very different characters. In the first of these periods names meant truths, and words were the symbols of realities. The characteristics of the names given then were simplicity and sincerity. The second period begins about the time of the departure from Egypt, and it is characterized by unabated simplicity, with the addition of sublimer thought and feeling more intensely religious. The third period was at its zenith in the time of Christ - words had lost their meaning, and shared the hollow, unreal state of all things. Jacob lived in the first age, when men are sincere and truthful and earnest, and names exhibit character. To tell Jacob the Name of God was to reveal to him what God is and who." "The use of Name as the equivalent of power is very Jewish. It grew out of such passages as Psalm 106:8, 'He saved them for his Name's sake.' In the literature of the Jews great power was attributed to the Name of God, even when only inscribed, e.g. as it was said in tradition to have been on the rod of Moses." The Name of "Jesus of Nazareth" stands, therefore, for his Messiahship, his mission, his infinite worthiness, his accepted work, and his present power. Or, we may say, it stands for him, and sets him forth as the present Redeemer, "able to heal and to save unto the uttermost."
II. CHRIST'S NAME INVOLVES HIS SPIRITUAL PRESENCE. This would be a familiar association to the Jew. God was in the bush, but Moses only had his Name. God delivered Israel from Egypt, but Israel knew him present with them only in his Name. They worshipped a God whom they never saw, and only could "exalt by his great Name, Jah. And so Jesus Christ was gone out of the sphere of the senses. Really, however, present still, spiritually present, and working gracious and mighty works through faith in his Name. This is all we have of Christ - his Name. And yet for us too it is the grasping of the spiritual reality of his presence.
III. CHRIST'S NAME CAN HEAL THE SICK. Because he is present in the Name. The Name did not work as a formula of incantation; it required, on the part both of the worker and receiver, faith in that which the Name represented - the manifestation of the Father through the Son." The most striking illustration of the apostle's faith in Christ's Name, i.e. Christ's actual presence and power to heal, is found in the recovery of Aeneas (Acts 9:34). St. Peter spoke as if he saw Christ there, saying, "AEneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole."
IV. CHRIST'S NAME CAN HEAL THE SIN-SICK SOUL. For all outward and material healings are but illustrations of what Christ is now doing in moral spheres, in our hearts and lives, if we will, by faith, open to him. And what is called faith is simply this: soul-opening to the living Saviour, who, in his Divine power and grace, can come in, and heal, and cleanse, and save. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock," etc. Appeal as to whether there has yet been this openness to Christ. Impress that, in all healing and saving work, man may be the agent, but the power lies in the Name, which gathers up for us a present living Savior. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.