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He misunderstood their meaning, imagining that they intended to prepare him for receiving alms.
6. Then said Peter, 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.
As a disciple and follower of Jesus, who is the Christ, I say unto thee, Arise. It has already been shown that to pray in the name of Christ, is to pray as his disciples; and to perform a miracle in his name, signifies the same thing. In each case, the authority of Christ for what is done must be understood. The name of Christ is mentioned on this occasion, not as a charm for effecting a cure, but to awaken the faith of the lame man, who had probably heard of the fame of Jesus, and to point out the design of the miracle, which was to confirm his divine mission.
7. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength.
8. And he, leaping up, stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God.
It was perfectly natural for a man who had just recovered the use of his limbs, to try them in every way, in order to be assured that they were restored to perfect soundness ; and it was no less natural for a devout mind to offer public thanks to God for so great à favour. We learn from this last action, by whose power, according to the man's idea, the miracle was performed.
9. And all the people saw him walking, and praising God;
10. And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple : and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
This miracle was well adapted to make a strong impression upon the minds of spectators; for the subject of it was so completely a cripple, as to be unable to move, and to make it necessary for him to be carried to his station ; and on this account he was particularly calculated to excite the pity of beholders. He was well known to all those that frequented the temple, having been placed there daily, many years, being forty years old at this time. Yet in an instant his limbs are restored to perfect soundness, without the application of any natural remedy. If such a miracle had not excited amazement, human nature could not have been then what it is now.
11. And as the lame man who was healed held Peter and John, all the pople ran together unto them,
in the porch, or, “ portico," that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.
Solomon's portico was a part of Solomon's temple, left standing when the rest of the temple was rebuilt by Herod. The man upon whom the miracle had been performed, was probably induced to lay hold on Peter and John, to prevent his benefactors from leaving him, when they showed an inclination to depart. This afforded the multitude an opportunity of gratifying their curiosity, by assembling round them. Peter takes occasion hence to explain the cause and design of the miracle.
12. And when Peter saw it, he answered, “he said," unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this ? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though, by our own power or holiness, we had made this man to walk ?
By the eagerness with which the multitude gazed upon him and his companion, Peter concluded that they must suppose, that the man was healed, either by some extraordinary medical virtue, existing in themselves, or by the power of God, as a testimony to the excellence of their characters ; he takes care, therefore, to undeceive them, by declaring that the miracle was intended principally to do honour to Christ, whom they had lately crucified, being performed by power which God had conferred upon him for that purpose.
13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son, “his servant,” Jesus, whom ye delivered up, and denied him, " rejected him," in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
The word which is here rendered "Son," in its primitive sense, signifies a boy, and as boys were generally employed as servants, it came in course of time, to signify a servant. In this sense it frequently occurs in the New Testament. Thus we read in Luke, s if that servant say, My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to beat the men-servants :" in the original, the same word which is used here. But our translators, who believed Jesus to be God, equal with the Father, were shocked at the idea of calling Christ a servant of God, and therefore called him his Son ; a name which he undoubtedly sometimes bears, but which Peter had no intention of giving him in this place. A similar observation may be made on the translation of the next verse.
14. But ye denied, 66 ye rejected,” the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you ;
The proper translation of the first clause of the verse is undoubtedly the holy man and the just man, in opposition to the murderer ;
but the translators were not prepared to follow Peter in calling Christ a man, and therefore have adopted a phrase which may imply that Christ was something more than human.
15. And killed the prince of life, “ the leader of life,” whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses.
When Christ is called the leader of life, there is an allusion to the situation of an officer of an army, who goes before, or leads his men. In like manner, Jesus is the leader of Christians to eternal life, being the first of the human race who rose from the dead to that condition. It was to remove the imputation cast upon the character of Jesus by the Jews, who preferred a robber, and crucified the Messiah, that God conferred upon him the honour of bestowing miraculous powers upon his disciples, and particularly, that of enabling one of them to produce the present cure. And this is what Peter refers to, when he says, (verse thirteenth,) that the God of their fathers had glorified his servant Jesus. It was to Christ, principally, and not to the two apostles, that God meant to do honour by this event. He next explains how so great a favour came to be conferred upon the man who was cured of his lameness : he derived this benefit from his faith in Christ.
16. And by faith in his name hath he given strength to this man, whom ye see and know : that name, I say, and that faith therein hath given him this perfect soundness in the sight of you all.
In this manner may this verse be translated, by only a small alteration in the punctuation, which renders its meaning clear and obvious ; whereas it is very perplexed and confused, according to the common method of reading. The apostle asserts, that the name of Christ, or rather, faith in Christ, which the mention of his name excited, produced this extraordinary cure. This declaration corresponds very well with the language of Christ upon similar occasions, who often said to those whom he cured, Thy faith hath made thee whole. It was only upon such as had some degree of faith in the divine power, that God thought fit to confer these favours.
17. And now, brethren, I wot, " I know," that through ignorance ye did it, without any intention of fulfilling the divine purpose, as did also your rulers.
18. But those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
The apostle is not here offering an apology for the Jewish people and rulers, in their preceding conduct in rejecting and crucifying the Messiah, by saying, that it was the effect of ignorance, and therefore, in some degree excusable. But he asserts that in ignorance, or contrary to their intentions, they had fulfilled the purpose of Divine Providence, which had been foretold by all the prophets which spake of Christ, that he should suffer death. In that event, therefore, there was nothing which ought to give them offence.
1. The wretched condition of this cripple, who could neither walk nor move, should teach us to be thankful to God for the use of our limbs. In his case we see and acknowledge the propriety of his praising God for restoring the use of them, and should have charged him with the grossest insensibility and ingratitude, if he had neglected to testify a sense of his obligations in this manner. Yet to a like charge we are ourselves liable, if, after having enjoyed, for thirty or forty years, the favour now first conferred upon him, we have not perceived its value, and acknowledged it in grateful praise. Whatever our past conduct has been, let us be careful that we do not incur the same reproach in future. Let us admire the skill which framed the curious limb, which endued it with its various movements, and which preserves it in a sound state and fit for use, notwithstanding the many accidents to which it is liable, and the constant exercise in which it is employed. To awaken our gratitude, we need only consider how unhappy our condition must be, if, instead of conveying ourselves from place to place, we must be conveyed by others; if we could not walk when we pleased, to execute the business of life, to visit our friends, or to attend the house of God: we need only look at those unfortunate men among our brethren who have lost a limb, or cannot use it without pain.
2. This story furnishes us with a striking example of the unassuming, disinterested conduct of the apostles. The first converts had already divided their substance, and all things were common; and the apostles of Christ, no doubt, by their superior authority, might have secured a large portion of it to themselves. But we have no reason to suspect them of any selfish, interested views: we still find them poor fishermen, without silver or gold to give away. When a miracle is performed, and the astonished multitude are disposed to regard them with extraordinary veneration, as the authors, they ascribe all the honour to their Master, and assume nothing to themselves. Thus we discover, that their attachment to the gospel, and their zeal for propagating it in the world, was a pure, disinterested regard; for they sought not to enrich or to aggrandize themselves; and, therefore, in the highest degree honourable to them, and to the cause which they espoused.
3. Let Peter's resolution respecting this man, be ours, respecting all those who may be in like circumstances: such as I have, give I unto thee. Ability to confer alms is confined to a few, and may not be within our reach. But there is a variety of other ways
in which we may do good to the distressed. If we cannot relieve them by charitable donations, we may afford them assistance or comfort by personal services, by our advice, or by our company. If we cannot give assistance ourselves, we may recommend them to others, who are better able to afford it.
In whichever of these ways we can give pleasure, or remove pain, that let us adopt ; remembering, that offerings of this nature will be well received; since every man is accepted according to what he hath, and not according to what he hath not.
The apostle Peter, having explained to the multitude the design of the miracle performed upon the lame man, namely, that it was intended to confirm the divine mission of Jesus, exhorts the Jews to submit to his authority, and to repent of their guilt in rejecting him.
19. Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times, « that the times," of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord :
20. And that he may send Jesus Christ appointed for you ;
21. Whom the heaven must receive, until the times of the completion of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets [from the beginning*. ]
The repentance, to which Peter here exhorts the Jews, did not relate to their ill conduct in general, but only in one particular instance, the rejection of the Messiah. In respect to this subject, he exhorts them to change their mind, in consequence of what he had said of the miracle just performed, and to embrace the Christian faith. As an encouragement to do so, he assures them, that their sins would be blotted out; that is, that they would be taken from that unholy and dangerous state in which they lay,as unbelievers, into one that was safe and holy. The consequence would likewise be, that the times of refreshing would come from the presence of the Lord. These times of refreshing are supposed to refer to the ease and prosperity which the Jewish converts to Christianity would enjoy, when the persecution of their countrymen ceased, upon the destruction of the Jewish state and government. Another advantage to be derived from their conversion was, that Christ, who was fore-ordained for this purpose, would be sent. The coming of Christ is frequently used in the New Testament, to express, not a personal appearance, but any remarkable display of divine power in his favour, by the accomplishment
* The words ari delavos are marked by Griesbach as probably spurious.