Acts 3 Bible Study
What time did Peter and John go up to the temple in Jerusalem?
"At the hour of prayer, the ninth hour", which is 9 hours from sunrise at 6am - i.e., 3pm.
Where were they about to go through?
"The gate... called Beautiful"
What was so beautiful about this gate?
Josephus, the Jewish historian, described this gate, which separated the inner court from the outer Court of the Gentiles on the east, as the gate that “greatly excelled those that were only covered over with silver and gold.” This gate was about 75 feet high and its huge double doors would have been opened wide at this hour to accommodate the foot traffic.
What was the lame man's strategy?
Position himself to benefit from a strategic location, time and mindset of potential donors.
How did Peter heal the man?
"In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth."
Did Peter have any doubt that the man would be healed?
No, "he took him by the right hand and lifted him up" before the man heeded his words to "rise up and walk."
How quickly was the man healed?
"Immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength."
What did he do next?
He walked into the temple with Peter and John "walking, leaping, and praising God."
What was the reaction of the crowd?
Nobody seems to have asked for their money back: "They knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple were filled with wonder and amazement."
How did this healing serve God's purpose?
It showed His mercy on a lame man, He received praise, and gathered an audience for Peter's sermon to follow.
What was the "porch which is called Solomon’s"?
It was a double row of wood-roofed marble columns that lined the eastern wall of the temple’s outer court.
What does this imply about the timing?
They were now outside the temple, so it was after the afternoon prayer.
To whom did the crowd attribute the miracle?
Peter and John: "Men of Israel... why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?"
To whom does Peter attribute it?
"Jesus...the Prince of life... His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong."
Is it true that Pilate had been "determined to let" Jesus go?
Yes: "Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” From then on Pilate sought to release Him.” (John 19:6-12)
What "murderer" had they asked "to be granted to" them?
Barabbas: "And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas” - who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder." (Luke 23:18-19)
What is Peter doing?
He is leveraging the incident to preach a sermon to those gathered.
What had they done "in ignorance"?
Call for the crucifixion of Jesus.
Which "rulers" is Peter referring to in Acts 3:17?
Members of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel that includes the chief priests and Pharisees.
Who "had foretold... that Christ would suffer"?
"All of His prophets", including David, who described in precise detail 1000 years in advance how Christ would suffer on the cross: "All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me." (Psalm 22:7-8, 14-17)
What is Peter saying about Jesus in Acts 3:20-21?
That He will be in "heaven" until His Second Coming.
What passage is Peter referring to in Acts 3:22-23?
Deuteronomy 18:15,19: "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him." It should be noted that many sects, cults and religions have claimed this passage as foretelling the arrival of their particular so-called prophets, all of whom made prophecies that didn't come true. We only needs to read the rest of the passage to disqualify them: "But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ - when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
What does Peter mean by, "You are sons of the prophets"?
Their ancestors included the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament.
What does "And in your seed all the families of the
earth shall be blessed" mean?
It's what God had said to Abraham no fewer than five times 2000 years prior in Genesis 12:3, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4 and 28:14 to tell him that the Messiah who will bless all nations on earth will be born a Jew.
Was Peter's statement, "You denied the Holy One and
the Just... and killed the Prince of life" at the start of this
sermon directed at the entire crowd or just some people in the crowd?
The entire crowd.
What does that confirm once again?
The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus had been such universally supported and recognized events in Jerusalem, respectively, that 40+ days later, Peter saw no need to exempt anyone from having called for His death or to talk about the evidences for His resurrection.
How applicable is this sermon today?
It is absolutely applicable. After all, it was our sins as well that "killed the Prince of life", for which we must "repent therefore and be converted, that" our "sins may be blotted out." (Acts 3:19)