Archive for May 2008

Acts 3

May 17, 2008

Peter and John were going to temple at the ninth hour (3PM)[1] at the time of prayer. A man crippled from birth[2] was being carried to the Beautiful Gate [3] to beg. He asked Peter and John for money. Peter and John looked straight at the beggar and told him to look at them. Then Peter said that he had no gold or silver[4], but he would give what he had and he commanded the beggar to walk. He lifted the beggar by his right hand [5]. The beggar not only walked, but jumped and praised God.

People came running to Solomon’s Colonnade and were awed. Reciting the history of the crucifixion, Peter laid the blame on the ignorance of the Jews. He calls them to repent so that the times of refreshing may come. He says Jesus will remain in Heaven until the time for things to be restored. He quotes Deuteronomy 18: 15,18-19 to warn that those who do not listen to the prophet that God sends will be “cut off from among” (extirpated from) his people. He quotes Genesis 22: 18, 26:4 to say that Jesus has been sent to bless the Jews by leading them to repentance, and that they would bless the world.
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Notes:
1.  The ninth hour was the hour of day when Jesus died, according to John 23:44. 
2.  The phrase “crippled from birth” reminds us of the man in John 9, who was blind from birth, as well as the man healed by Paul in Acts 14, who was crippled in his feet and therefore lame from birth. Since the man was crippled, he was prevented from entering the Temple.
3.  Strelan argues that the “Beautiful Gate” is not the Nicanor Gate nor the Gate of Susa, but that it should be rendered as “The Ripe Gate”to indicate that it was the gate through which ripe produce came during festivals such as Tabernacles. This could explain that healing the man from lameness restored his connection with the Temple.
A photo of The Beautiful Gate, widened in the post-Christian era is here
4. Strelan remarks that if these events occurred during the Feast of the Tabernacles, a donation of two pieces of silver would have been expected from Peter. Occam’s Razor would suggest that Strelan’s hypothesis is incorrect, but his counterargument is worth a read.
A question is why Peter says that he has no silver or gold. Did he perhaps have copper coins with him? 
5. The miracle did not occur just by command, but by lifting. What was the role of eye contact in the miracle?  
6. A photo of Solomon’s Colonnade (or Porch) is available here
Jesus walked there (John 10:23) and this location became popular for the early church such that in Acts 5:12, it became a gathering point. In 1 Chron. 18, David supplies the plan for the Porch to Solomon. In 1 Kings 7, Solomon’s Porch is associated with kingly judgment and in 2 Chron. 8, it’s mentioned as being adjacent to the altar where Solomon offered sacrifices. While the Herodian Temple was different than the First Temple, presumably the historical connotations for specific
locations remained the same.
7. Peter’s version of the crucifixion asserts that Pilate had decided to let Jesus go, calls Jesus “the author of life,” and says that the ignorance of the Jews and their leaders was to blame.
8.  The Greek for “refresh” is anapsyxis, literally perhaps “mind rising.”  This occurs only once in the New Testament.
7.  The Greek for “cut off from” or “extirpated” is exolethreuo. This occurs only once in the New Testament.