Acts 3:1-18 Look on us! In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up!
1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. (3 p.m.). 2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3 who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked for alms.
4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but what I have give: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10 and they knew that it was he who 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. 11 And as the lame man which was healed, held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. 12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, you men of Israel, why marvel you at this? Why look you so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom you delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted you; 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
16“And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
17“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18“But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. (Therefore repent and turn to the Lord).
In 1971 we started Solomon’s Porch Coffee House on York Road in Baltimore near Woodbourne Avenue. We converted an old barber shop, hair salon into a chapel, emergency sleeping quarters, a gathering hall/classroom and downstairs we had a stage and seating for weekly music, drama, teaching and preaching. Our activities included a soup kitchen for the children in the neighborhood and some moms and dads. We had after school Sunday school every day for the kids to have a place to hang out. It was not the safest neighborhood. Our staff was made up of volunteers who came to us from various ‘Christian’ cults who needed a place to recover. In fact one cult actually rented the building next door to us thinking they could recruit from those finding sanctuary at Solomon’s Porch. We also went out street witnessing on 5 of the area college campuses sitting and talking with students, having coffee and giving out free copies of the Gospel of John. On Friday nights we used the converted basement (about 75 feet long and about 15 feet wide) with a humble stage to share the Good News by any creative means people came up with.
One night we went witnessing and we came upon a young man high as a kite. I started sharing the Gospel with him and try as he might he couldn’t focus on what I was saying. I got right to the point, “Would you like to ask Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior?” He stumbled backwards and said, “Man when I look into your eyes I can see eternity!” The others with me prayed with me for this young man. When we did he became instantly sober and he accepted Jesus and we gave him a Gospel of John. In Chapter 3, we read about the same John that wrote the Gospel we gave out who went to Solomon’s Porch with Peter.
There was always something happening. This was the scenario in Jerusalem. The Temple and Solomon’s Porch was the “downtown” hangout of the day. The lame man was a part of the permanent fixtures of the pillars, porch and entrance. The gate where his helpers set him down was called “Beautiful”. Keep in mind Jesus had just risen from the dead and ascended to the Father just a few months ago and the miracle of Pentecost had occurred perhaps within a few weeks of this event.
CommunionFire has taught us that, from Emmaus, when you receive the bread that Jesus blesses and breaks and gives to you – the Holy Spirit opens your eyes and you recognize Jesus. 7 miles of Bible study and talking with Jesus could not give them the vision they needed to see and recognize Jesus in His glorified body! When your eyes are open and you do recognize Jesus in Communion something happens. When Jesus blesses the bread and the wine something happens to it. When it does, super natural events become common place.
So this man, lame from birth, who everyone knew and supported when going to Temple with loose change, asked for ‘coinage’ from Peter and John. Peter and John, being in the Spirit and led by the Spirit because they were fed in the Spirit with bread and wine from heaven “fastened their eyes upon him” and said, “Look on us”! Peter declared, “We don’t have silver or gold but what we do have we will give to you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” What did the lame man see when he looked upon Peter and John. He saw Jesus looking at him. When he saw Jesus strength went into him so that he could stand up and walk! Peter and John had been with Jesus. The lame man could tell because the goodness and mercy of the Lord overflowed from them onto and into the lame man. Christ in Peter and John touched the lame man through his vision. When Peter said “Look upon us” he was saying in effect let the eyes of your spirit be opened so that you can see who we see every day in Communion. When the lame man saw Jesus the miracle happened. I came alive and rose up the same way Jesus rose up from the dead. He not only rose up he started standing, walking, leaping and praising God! He was instantly and miraculously made whole with one look at Jesus. One limpse from the Son of God will change your life!
The crowds gathered and they were amazed because everyone knew this guy was lame from birth. Peter said in effect, “Why are you so amazed? You think that we did this miracle? Nope. That same Jesus that you judged, tortured, mocked, shamed and killed wants you to know how much He loves you. He did this miracle to let you know He came to save sinners not condemn them.” Peter’s preaching was so anointed and powerful because he spoke not only as a first-hand witness but as a friend of Jesus who he meets with everyday. Peter and John gathered and Jesus was with them. When the lame man looked up, he saw Jesus and Peter, knowing from the Spirit to do so, lifted the man to his feet and the Lord took it from there.
CommunionFire will bring you to your feet. Some will experience healing and some deliverance. Some will be blessed in very special ways but all who encounter the Lord at His Table will receive life, the promise of eternal life and assurance that Jesus will “raise you up on the last day”! Just like the lame man! Are you lame? Do you need to sit down at the Table the Lord has already prepared for you? One morsel of the bread from His Body and one sip from the wine of His shed blood will become a feast of healing and a river of life.
I could go on and on and I already have! The peace of the Lord Jesus be with you now and forever. The Table is set, come and dine on eternal life.
Acts 3:19-26 “SPOKEN OF BY ALL THE HOLY PROPHETS SINCE TIME BEGAN”
~ Apostles Peter & John at the Temple in Jerusalem
The Miracle led the Jewish crowds to see Jesus alive in the midst of the disciples. He had walked their streets and now He was seen among them. His ministry continued through them. He was fulfilling his ministry to the Jew first at the entryway of the Temple. Then He would go to the Gentiles. In the last days He would return to Israel to remove the scales from their eyes as He did with Rabbi Kaduri.
Repent therefore and be converted, for the blotting out of your sins, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and he may send Jesus Christ, who was foreordained for you, 21 whom heaven indeed must receive till times of the restoring of all things, of which God has spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets since time began. 22 Moses indeed said, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you out of your brethren like me: him shall ye hear in everything whatsoever he shall say to you. 23 And it shall be that whatsoever soul shall not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people. 24 And indeed all the prophets from Samuel and those in succession after him, as many as have spoken, have announced also these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God appointed to our fathers, saying to Abraham, And in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 26 To you first God, having raised up his servant, has sent him, blessing you in turning each one of you from your wickedness.
(See Hosea 6:1-6 as well)
Let us remember that Jesus came first to serve the Good News to the House of Israel. He spent 3 and a half years preaching, teaching, story-telling, doing miracles and then suffering to the point of death at their hands.
Peter is about to disclose how this same Jesus is the one who caused the lame man to stand up, walk and leap. God’s calling card are miracles, signs and wonders. Peter’s preaching goes from Pentecostal powerful to super anointed powerful. He lays out the plan of salvation for all who witnessed the miracle in the Temple and then rolled back their concept of time and space to talk about God’s view of what was foreordained since before time began! “The time of restoring of all things” was happening before their eyes! JESUS came. JESUS conquered. Now JESUS would demonstrate that which all prophets since the beginning of time had spoken about. Moses said JESUS would be born and raised up from within the Jewish community. The “Prophet” that “God would raise up” is JESUS, Yahushua, the Savior and deliverer. Peter said, that Moses said, that You should listen (literally: to hear God's voice which prompts Him to birth faith within) to everything He says to you just as you did to me!
Then Peter repeats a strong warning from Moses that “Anyone who does not listen (literally: to hear God's voice which prompts Him to birth faith within) to Him will be destroyed (wiped out) from among the people.”
He preached at the Temple as the leaping lame man stood next to him, “All the prophets since Samuel announced this day! (Note; even until our day! legendary Rabbi Prophet Yitzhak Kaduri lived to be 108 years old and was visited by Jesus/Yehoshua for the last year of His life.)This is the day they were all prophesying about and still do. You are the sons and daughters of those prophets. JESUS has come to you physically and now He comes to you in Spirit and truth. You are the sons and daughters of the Covenant God made with Abraham saying that in his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed.”
He continued standing at the Gate Beautiful, “He has come to Israel first! To you God “raised up” His servant. (Note His preaching went from Moses calling Jesus the greatest of all prophets to now calling Him ‘servant’.) He sent Him to you to BLESS you – to turn you away from your wickedness! His preaching was powerful, strong and direct. He warned them while in the heat of the glorious miracle they all witnessed first-hand. The goodness and mercy of God had visited the Temple one more time and one more time the invitation was given. Turn from your wickedness and self-righteousness to the loving arms of your Savior JESUS CHRIST. Moses, Abraham and every Prophet spoke of Him. You saw Him with your own eyes and heard Him with your own ears and now you know He is risen from the dead and continues His ministry through those who believe.
The blotting out of sin has more to do with being in position to see Jesus instead of ignoring Him. Ignoring would have its own consequences. He was then looking upon them and us hoping we will see His heart pounding with love for us. When the Spirit is made second fiddle and your attention is diverted to focus on the cloudiness you have by holding onto the law, it brings sin into full view, it’s like blindness. Then the dark clouds of condemnation that sin produces, forges a chain making us slaves to the demands of shame, distrust, guilt, anger and fear. This is what had happened to Israel; to God’s Old Covenant people. The remedy: Repent! This is an interesting word because more is made of it than the righteousness, peace and joy that is waiting for us in the Holy Ghost when we do turn around. The power word is “conversion” or “be converted”. Let me say this another way for clarity.
A victory party is awaiting your company. Behind you is the Cross of Jesus that paid every last penny your sin demanded by the Law. If you are a believer; just say this, “I believe”, if you can or did just say this and you have faith in your heart then you are “a believer”. Repentance is the starting point of conversion. It literally means to ‘turn around and begin anew; not in your own strength but by the strength the Lord gives you. You are turned away from your sin, guilt and life of condemnation to face your golden future. One step in that direction sets your life in the right direction. When you are overcome by the love, goodness and mercy of God and respond to it – that is true repentance. His love conquers you and you yield. His peace covers you and you make it your home. When we encounter the goodness and mercy of the Lord it comes with the option to refuse it or accept it. If you accept it you are ‘a believer’ and as a believer you know first-hand what it means to be blessed.
You know what sinners feed on and the intricacies of a sinful lifestyle because that was your lifestyle before JESUS. You could probably write the book on “The life sin gave to me”. Now you are offered new life free from the power of sin, to be ruled and regulated by the goodness and grace of JESUS. It is so wonderful you bow before him and just quietly say, “Lord, you alone are worthy.”
If you accept it then you have repented. You have turned to Jesus, opened the doorway of your life and asked Him to dine with you. If you deny it you walk away and go back to the slavery of sin, death and hell. Who would walk away?
*Okay – if that part makes sense now we get to the good stuff. This is the mind boggling part of the deal.
Jesus takes over! First off, He says you see your spreadsheet of each sin, the weight of guilt you carry for each one, the debts you owe to God, others and yourself for the consequences each sin produced? Jesus starts out by sitting at your table, knowing his presence makes your mind and heart tilt because of sin overload and Jesus says, “You know what? Let me have that ledger.” Then He crumbles it up and turns to you with eyes that are fierce with forgiveness and reassurance of His authority and says, “All your sins are blotted out because I took them into my own body on the Cross so that you could become the person I intended you to be. You are now sin free and debt free and today you are set free to be the person I created you to be.”
I want you to try and think of your life in a world where there is no more sin of any kind. There is no guilt, shame or condemnation. Everyone is kind, loving and filled with the glory of the Lord. Each one has a glorified body. It is a body that defies natural law and is fully immersed in an eternal reality called the kingdom of God.
There is no more sorrow, mourning, sickness or disease. There is no more drama. This is what was drawing you. The love of Jesus is not like human love. It is a love that reaches every atomic particle and stretches out to the very depths of creation. When it touched you it changes you. The change happens without your effort. The effort is all one sided. Jesus loves us, shares His glory and fills us with the new reality of His eternal, heavenly Kingdom. The impact transforms us until it is His image that is seen in us. In fact it is constantly happening and we are transformed without saying a word about it. His love conquers ALL. When subject to Him, His presence is filled with presents! We can’t open them fast enough because there is so much given and revealed in each gift that we could become mesmerized by just one for a thousand years.
So, this one miracle of the man lame from birth who saw Jesus in the eyes of Peter and John stood up, started leaping and praising God is the manifestation of an eternal God who has eternal love that is so great He sent his Son to take care of anything in your life that would keep you from being able to stand, walk and leap into all the Lord has for you. It disturbed and caught the attention of the crowds. Now they had seen God’s goodness and mercy and the choice is theirs. Open the door or walk away.
A Description of CommunionFire from Peter in his message:
Peter said, “times of refreshing would come from the presence of the Lord!” This phrase applies to all who are believers. All who have opened the door inviting JESUS in are offered the gift of the Holy Spirit as well. When Jesus baptizes us in His Holy Spirit the ‘time of refreshing begins.’ After that the refreshing (revival, restoration, conversion, healing and transformation) continues every time you sit down at the Lord’s Table and you meet with Him.
They had witnessed the power of His love, the magnitude of His goodness and an attitude of mercy that could raise up a lame man, shoot power and strength into legs that had never walked to be able to walk and leap physically and spiritually with praise.
Could there possibly be more? Yes! That was just to get things warmed up.
Peter said times of “refreshing”. In the Greek, the word Peter used, was only used once in all of scripture (anapsuxis pronounced: anapsoozis as if ‘soothing’.) Times of “breathing easy are restored as if breathing fresh air; so as to “complete a process bringing comfort, revival and restoration after times of stress and difficulties.
Refreshing would come from: “The presence of the Lord.” (Literally means that Jesus “Lets His face to be seen spiritually”.
From http://biblehub.com/greek/4383.htm ‘prosopon’ – the countenance, appearance of the Lord. This is precisely what happens when we pause after having a morsel of the blessed bread of His flesh and a sip from the Cup of the New and Everlasting Covenant!
In her 1t Holy Communion, Doctor of the Faith St. Therese of Lisieux said that she saw the Holy face of Jesus which revealed the tenderness of God. She had Communion every day from then on for the rest of her 24 years. She said in Communion she often had ‘glances from Jesus’. He descriptions are very much like what we hear when we gather with others to Do This in Remembrance of Him. We see His face from time to time and He empowers us with an experience that becomes part of our new memory base.
Remember Peter refers to this same ‘every day in Communion’ phenomenon speaking of David’s desire to ‘see His face’. When we see Him He is not who we expect to see. He is kind and gentle and almost always smiling. He is young and filled with child-like passion. He can’t wait to show us what He has prepared for us and to tell us His secrets.