In Acts 3, many at the temple are filled with wonder and amazement when they see the power of the holy spirit in the lame man who was called by Peter and John to walk in the name of Jesus Christ. Peter directs their curiosity to repentance, to the prophecy of the scriptures and to Christ “so that your sins may be wiped out.” 5000 respond.
In Acts 4, the temple leaders are thrown into a quandry. They cannot deny or hide the miracle of the cripple, who had been at their doorstep for 40 years, but their hearts are hardened and they don’t want this teaching spreading. After holding Peter and John in jail, and not knowing what else to do, they threaten and command them to keep quiet. The believers are unified in fellowship and pray for boldness in word, miracles, signs and wonders. The place of prayer rocks (literally) and they are all filled with the Holy Spirit, speak boldly and support each other.
The lame man looked to Peter and John for a handout, to make things a little better. Instead they provided, as Christ provides, a changed life: life to the full.
Peter spoke that he would give all that he had to the man, the power that comes in the name of Jesus Christ. For faith comes from hearing the word of Christ.
The man was helpless to change himself. Likewise, without Christ, God calls us “dead in trespasses and sins”
The man asked for coins, he could not even imagine the gift that was to be his. It is by grace that we are provided the gift of salvation, which is far greater than we know and understand.
The man was called to walk and he jumped. We are made alive with Christ when we were dead in transgression.
The power to heal: Acts 3:6
Servant to God and glorified by Him – Acts 3:13
Faith in the name makes someone strong – Acts 3:16
Faith in the name provides complete and visible healing – Acts 3:16
Source of teaching and resurrection of the dead 4:2
By his name people are healed 4:10
The name and teaching are called to silence by evil ones: 4:18
The name by which boldness comes: 4:33
b. Acts 3:26, God raised him up, He was sent by God to bless you by turning you from wicked ways, Acts 4:12 – Salvation is found in no one else
5. The power to heal, the authority to teach and call others to repentance, but mostly the courage of Peter and John, the fact that they were unschooled ordinary men who were standing toe-to-toe with the highest of the priestly court and preaching the scriptures to them – they wouldn’t be quieted, regardless of threat.
6. a. Started with praise for the attributes of God, moved to praise for the acts of God and the words of God, A statement of the challenge faced (leaders conspire against Jesus), A further acknowledgemenet that God is in control, petitions that He intervene in His way and time, A plea for boldness and power to carry out his will
b. I’m being more bold in my prayer this week. I tend to “aim low” in my requests to God and for His intervention. I’m aiming higher and praying Acts 4:30 – Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
7. They were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had, they had great power to testify and grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. They sold worldly possessions and brought in money for distribution to anyone as he had need.
Summary: I struggled a bit with the questions today. I thought the passages were amazing and the lessons presented in how to be bold, how to expect miracles, how prominent God is in healing us, how God wants a fullness of life for us and then there is the example that the early followes set and the lessons on how to live in fellowship and act in generosity, grace and mercy. I recently heard that Luke tends to follow a pattern of presenting a lesson then providing a story that highlights it either in a positive, reinforcing way or in a be careful of this trap way. I have a feeling we’ve got a story coming on in the next chapters (ok, I peeked a little bit)
In regard to the specific BSF questions, I think there are some key points that I’m not totally grasping at this point, but that is one of the beauties of BSF. I know that I will be able to learn from and hear the answers of my brothers. I’ll be blessed by the lecture and, of course, the notes will probably be really good on those topics.
While not discussed in the questions, don’t miss the reference in Acts 4:36-37 to Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus whom the apostles called Barnabas. He gets 2 verses here, then we lose sight of Barnabas for several chapters, but he pops up again and again playing prominent roles in the early church starting again in Acts 9 where he is instrumental (and someone alone) in welcoming an enemy, Saul of Tarsus, into the family of believers. He continues to appear several times through Acts. We learn of his work with the church in Antioch, where believers for the first time took on the name “Christians”. Finally, in Colossians 4 we learn that he is the Apostle Mark’s cousin. While he is mentioned here as almost a side note, consider it as a planted seed and watch as it grows and blooms through the book of Acts.