Event(s): A lame man is healed
Today’s Text: Acts 3:1-10
Tomorrow’s Text: Acts 3:11-26
This chapter opens up with a beautiful example of Peter and John’s willingness to let their plans go interrupted for the sake of Jesus’ glory. If we are to operate in the things we saw the disciples operating in, if we are to experience the supernatural in the way our forerunners did, then a shift must take place in how sensitive we become to His promptings to act when He places an opportunity in our path. The Spirit is always willing to do the works of the kingdom, and the fields all around us are ripe for the harvest, but oh, how weak is our flesh. We must learn as the disciples did, that abiding in the Spirit meant frequent, intentional trips into His Presence.
Acts 3:1a “Now Peter and John went up together” What makes for the best of friends? People who are likeminded and who share a passion to pursue God. We all need people in our corner who are pursuing a God-first life. Not just for the sake of companionship, but as Ecclesiastes 4:10 reminds us, “If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Peter and John were incredibly different, unique in their own way. But as a team, they were a force to be reckoned with.
Acts 3:1b “the hour of prayer” It was customary for the Jewish people to pray at the third hour of the day, the sixth hour, and the ninth hour. (cf Daniel 6:10) But unlike our 24 hour day which starts new at midnight, the Jewish “day” starts at sunset (with the appearance of the stars, typically around 6pm). There are then 12 hours of the evening, followed by 12 hours of the day. Thus, the ninth hour that is mentioned here would have been the ninth hour of the day, which was about 3pm.
Interestingly, the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred at the third hour (Acts 2:15), this healing miracle took place at the ninth hour and later, we’ll see other great works that took place at the sixth hour (i.e. Acts 10:6).
There was the spontaneous, unexpected works of God that happened throughout the day, but then there were those that took place during these set times. How different would our lives look, and how much more of the supernatural would we see take place if we set aside regular times throughout our day to get alone with God? Prayer is like a meal, because God always satisfies us. And the more spiritual calories we burn, the more we need to get in His presence to remain filled.
Acts 3:6 “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” The name of a person represents all the inherent qualities of that person. And when it came to the name of Jesus, that name represented ultimate authority.
So when Peter healed this man in the name of Jesus, he was saying that it was Jesus who was ultimately responsible for his healing, not Peter, not John. Having God’s authority and operating in His power are two wonderful gifts, but we must never forget nor lack in giving honor to Who’s authority and power it is we operate under. All the acts of the kingdom are to point people to the Person who made the kingdom accessible to us. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Acts 3:8-9 “walking, leaping, and praising God” This healing miracle touched this man’s body, soul and spirit. It is always God’s desire to see the whole person healed, not just address one condition while neglecting another. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
What is the difference between healings, miracles, signs and wonders? Differentiating can help us know more specifically how to pray.
Healings: Whenever we see healing take place in the Bible, we find that it typically refers to the removal of something. Be it the removal of an illness, disease, infirmity, affliction, or even a demon.
Miracles: on the other hand, are the regeneration or recreation of something. They are an interference with nature by supernatural power. Such as, a limb growing back out, or changing the molecular composition of water into wine, or an ear being recreated, or even raising someone from the dead. Though they are distinct, there are times in which both, a healing and miracle took place. The regeneration of salvation, for example, is absolutely both – a miracle, regenerating our spirit and making us a new creation. But it’s also healing, as we experience the forgiveness, the lifting, the removal of sin, which afflicted our souls.
Signs: point to a greater reality. Think of driving down the freeway, looking for your exit. There are signs that point to your destination. The signs themselves are not the destination, but they signify it’s coming. Contractions during childbirth is another great example. Contractions are not the baby. They’re signs that the baby is near.
Jesus often used signs in the natural to point to a greater reality in the supernatural. When He turned water into wine, for example, that was a miracle. But John records that this was the beginning of signs that manifested the glory of the Messiah (John 2:11). Signs are most definitely miraculous, but they’re meant to get our attention for a greater purpose.
Wonders: denotes extraordinary occurrences, unusual manifestations, and acts that are so unusual they cause the observer to marvel or be in awe. Whereas a sign appeals to our understanding, wonders are unexplainable. Some great examples of this would be Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, His ascension, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as well as the plagues of Egypt, which God actually referred to as wonders (Exodus 7:3).
Miracles, healings, signs and wonders. We have been given the same authority and power to operate in these acts of the Kingdom. But it starts with having the faith and hunger to see Jesus glorified in this way. We serve an amazing God who longs to display His power and authority to and through His people as well as to those who do not know Him.
It is through these manifestations that others can come to know God exists and that Jesus was who He said He was – the Son of God. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Do I believe?” and then secondly, “Am I hungry for it?”