The Lame Beggar Healed
 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.  And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.  Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.  And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”  And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.  But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”  And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.  And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God,  and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico
 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s.  And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?  The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.  But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,  and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.  And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. (ESV)
- The Apostles were given a unique power and authority to heal the sick and the lame.
How did people in the early Church come to realize that the Apostles had been given a unique power and authority to teach the Gospel? One of the ways their Gospel teaching and preaching was vindicated was through publicly witnessed miraculous healings. While there are a number of miraculous healings performed by the Apostles in the book of Acts, it is important to understand that not everyone was healed and that this special role was uniquely assigned to the Apostles.
- Miraculous healings are not the point. Jesus is the point.
It is easy to be distracted by the stories of miraculous healing in Acts. However, in every instance of a miraculous healing, the Apostles point away from themselves and the miracle that was performed. Instead, they use the healing to point people to Jesus. They clearly identify Jesus as the One who heals and they urge those who witnessed the miracle to put their trust in him.
- Gospel preaching is not soft.
This is the second sermon we have read so far in our study of Acts. Just like the first sermon, Peter boldly preached hard truths about Jesus. First, Peter connected Jesus with the entire Old Testament narrative. Second, Peter identified the specific sins of the people. Third, Peter proclaimed both the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rather than appealing to the felt needs of the crowd, Peter boldly proclaimed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"...how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will." Hebrews 2:3b–4 (ESV)
- How would the miraculous healings performed by the Apostles have helped to authenticate their message?
- What danger might there be in ignoring the miracles in Acts? What danger might there be in overemphasizing the miracles in Acts?
- Acts records the first sermons the New Testament Church ever heard. How would you describe these sermons? How should Peter’s sermons shape our expectations for preaching in the Church today?
Call to Worship
 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
 Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
 You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
 For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
O Lord, You who are all merciful, take away my sins from me and enkindle within me the fire of Your Holy Spirit. Take away this heart of stone from me and give me a heart of flesh and blood, a heart to love and adore You, a heart which may delight in You, love You, and please You, for Christ’s sake. Amen.