April 10, Friday
One afternoon Peter and John were on their way to the Temple for the three o’clock hour of prayer. Included in the crowd was a man who had been lame from birth. Every day his friends would carry him to a spot near the Beautiful Gate of the Temple so that he could beg from the people as they went in. When he saw Peter and John passing by, he asked them for a donation.
Peter and John looked intently at the man and Peter said, “Look at us!” So he did, hoping to get a gift. “I know you’re expecting us to hand you some money,” Peter said to him, “but we don’t have any. I can give you something, though. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”
Peter took him by the right hand and helped him up. Immediately his feet and ankles were strengthened. He jumped to his feet, stood there for a moment, and then began walking and even leaping. Unable to contain himself, he accompanied Peter and John into the Temple shouting praises to God.
Everyone could see that this was the same beggar who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate. They were amazed by what had happened to him. While the man clung to Peter and John, a huge crowd gathered around them on Solomon’s Portico.
Peter took advantage of the impromptu meeting and said, “Men of Israel, why are you so surprised at this, and why are you staring at us as though we possess some supernatural power or ability? No, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, is the One Who has healed this man.
“And He did it to call your attention to His servant, Jesus — yes, Jesus, Whom you handed over to Pilate and disowned even while Pilate was anxious to release Him. You, brethren, turned your back on the Holy and Righteous One, preferring instead the murderer, Barabbas. You killed the Prince of life; but God raised Him from the dead, a fact of which we are eye-witnesses.
“It is the name of this same Jesus that has cured this lame man because we believe the Truth about Him. Do you understand? It is our trust in Christ that restored him to perfect health as you can clearly see.
“Brothers, I realize that you had no idea what you were doing any more than did your leaders. But just as God had foretold through all His prophets, the Messiah had to suffer. It has all been fulfilled.
“Now you must repent of your willful rejection and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and your souls may enjoy rich times of refreshment coming down from the presence of God. Only then will He send back Jesus, your Messiah. For now, He must remain in Heaven until that universal restoration which God promised in ancient times through all His holy prophets.
“Moses, for instance, said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. You’d better listen to what He says because anyone who rejects Him will be destroyed.’ And Moses was only the first of a long line of prophets through whom God foretold the events we’ve just experienced.
“Listen! Don’t squander the incredible advantage you’ve been given: You are the very descendants of those prophets. You are heirs of the original agreement God made with our forefathers when He said to Abraham, ‘In your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.’
“God sent His servant Jesus to you first after He raised Him to life. God is now offering to rescue you from your evil ways.”
While they were still talking to the people, the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and the Sadducees approached them. The Sadducees, who deny the concept of resurrection and life after death, were furious that Jesus’ followers were teaching the masses about His resurrection. So they had them arrested and held in jail until the next morning.
That didn’t stop the people from believing, however. In just a matter of days there were nearly five thousand who had embraced the Message.