IN THE NAME OF JESUS, WALK!
Acts 2:42-3:10 Key Verse 3:6
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
After listening to Apostle Peter’s gospel message about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the hearts of the crowd in Jerusalem were enlightened. They realized their sins. So what should they do? Should they just be full of regret, saying, “I should not have done that?” No! Instead, they repented and turned to God. Before, they were against Jesus, but now they stood on Jesus’ side. That would be their repentance. They received the baptism in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. Receiving the baptism of water was a public proclamation identifying themselves as people belonging to Jesus Christ.
However, it was not easy for them to do so. Why? It was because the religious leaders were looking for those who followed Jesus to kill them. But right on the spot, 3,000 people made a decision and received the baptism of water, and they became children of God. No matter what people said, no matter what would happen to them, they decisively accepted Jesus Christ and received the baptism publicly. It was the day of their salvation, the beginning of their new life in God. These people became the first Jerusalem church. May God help us to know what the church is! May God bless our campus church when we depend on the name of Jesus Christ through today’s passage!
Part I: The Fellowship of the Believers (2:42-47)
This passage describes the believers’ new life in Christ very well. Look at verses 42-47. “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Wow! When these people made a decision to believe in Jesus and received the baptism of water, their hearts were completely changed and they began to increase great spiritual desires. Their changed life can be summed up in one word, “devotion.” They devoted themselves to four things. First, they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. Here, “the apostles’ teaching” is in our terms, “the word of God.” Before, the Bible was like a closed book with so many “dos” and “don’ts.” The Bible was veiled to them. But now as they accepted Jesus Christ, the veil was taken away, and suddenly they could understand what the Bible was talking about. The Bible became an open book to them. They devoted themselves to studying the word of God.
Second, they devoted themselves to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread. Now the believers began to enjoy real fellowship with each other. Before, their relationship with each other was superficial. There was no genuine fellowship in their day to day life. But when they made a firm decision to believe in Jesus as a matter of life and death, they could enjoy real fellowship with each other. They had nothing to hide or nothing to hold on. They opened their private lives to others, invited them to their homes and enjoyed fellowship with each other. There was real fellowship among them, and there was real joy in them.
Third, they devoted themselves to prayer. Now, the source of their joy became God himself and fellowship with God in prayer. The expression, “they devoted themselves to prayer” indicates how diligently they focused on prayer. Prayer was one of the most important parts of their lives together with studying the word of God and enjoying fellowship each other. Fourth, all the believers were together and had everything in common. They formed a great unity among themselves. They loved each other and took care of each other, sacrificing their own possessions. The kingdom of God was growing among them. This beautiful life of believers inspired so many others outside the church that the number of believers increased continually. Amen!
Part II: Peter Heals the Crippled Begger (3:1-10).
Look at verse 1. “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer-at three in the afternoon.” In the past, Peter and John were competitors to each other. But after receiving the Holy Spirit they were prayer partners in Christ. Expecting to have a beautiful fellowship with God, they were going up to the temple together. Then, a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful. He was stationed there every day to beg from those going into the temple (2).
The man being carried by others shows that he could not walk by himself at all. There are some people who manage themselves to walk, even though they are crippled. But this man’s crippled condition was so severe that he could not walk at all. He had to rely on others’ help all the time. He was like this even from his birth. He was a burden to many people around him. Every day, he begged and begged, and thus far, had spent about 40 years. It seemed that he was born to be miserable. It seemed that he would finish his life as a beggar. What a sad life he had!
But one day, God’s grace found him; God sent his servants, Peter and John to him. Then, everything changed in his life. One day as usual, he was carried to the gate of the temple. When he saw two men, Peter and John, going up to the temple, he asked them for money (3). “Do you have some coins? God bless you.” But this time, things did not go as usual, because the two men were not ordinary people, but the apostles of Jesus Christ.
At this man’s request, Peter looked straight at him as did John. Then, Peter said to him, “Look at us!” (4) Expecting to get something from them, the man gave them his full attention (5). How did Peter say to him? Look at verse 6. “Then, Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!’” Silver or gold was what this man expected from them, because that is what he thought he needed; when he collected more coins, he was happy; but when he did not, he was sorrowful; it seemed that his life was upon the numbers of coins he collected.
But Peter did not think so. In the spiritual eyes of Peter, what the man truly needed was not silver or gold but to walk. His life was miserable not because he did not have enough coins, but because he did not walk by himself. When he walked by himself, when he became independent and self-sufficient, surely, he would be truly happy and his life would be truly meaningful. As long as he remained crippled, he would be miserable and burdensome. Who can say I am happy, only because he or she collects more coins as a beggar?
There are so many people who are crippled like this beggar in their minds, in their understanding and in their personality that they beg others for more coins such as attention, human love, and recognition. When they collect many shiny coins, they feel happy. But when they do not, when people do not recognize them, they feel so depressed, and they cannot find the meaning of their life. They are miserable and sad. We were not supposed to be crippled like this. Do you know that this crippled condition is the result of man’s sin?
The first man Adam, as he lived in the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Delight, was self-sufficient; at that time, he was cool and awesome as a ruler and a human created in God’s image. But because of his sin, he lost the ruler’s position, God’s image, God’s mission, and the fellowship with God. He was not self-sufficient any more. He was lacking in every aspect. Since then, all his descendants feel lacking, and live as crippled people begging to collect more shiny coins in the world. People think that they need more coins.
In this competitive society, people think that they need something tangible for their happiness. The world offers a small chance of earning silver or gold, and sees how all peoples on earth become wholeheartedly crying out, “Give me a silver coin,” “Give me a gold coin.” Such a beggar’s life is miserable no matter how many silver coins you have collected. But what people truly need is to walk by themselves, to be self-sufficient in God so that they can say, “I have all I need,” “My cup overflows.” (Ps 23:5)
When people are self-sufficient, when they have the sense of fulfillment in themselves, then, instead of begging and trying to collect and grab more, they can give something to others, trying to help others and support others; such people become real leaders of the world. When we walk by ourselves, we are truly happy and our lives are truly meaningful and fulfilling. From the beginning of creation, God’s will for his children is this: Increase in number, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over the world (Gen 1:28). Do you want to live this kind of a victorious life, don’t you?
Then, how can we walk? Peter shouts, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” In Jesus, we can walk. Normally, our crippled condition is incurable; it is from birth, genetic, inherited from the first man Adam. Therefore, mind-control does not work; self-help books do not work. The more people try to overcome the world by themselves with their hard struggles, the more serious beggars they become in the world who pursues things of this world more doggedly than others. If you just do not care about the things of this world, saying, “I do not want to be a part of the world,” “I will not be a beggar!” then, you become insincere, and losers of the world, getting all Fs, and without being able to pay your auto insurance.
Then, isn’t there any way for us? Peter shouts, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” In Jesus, we can be healed of our crippled nature, and walk. Jesus took up all our infirmities on the cross, and because of his wounds we are healed. In Jesus, we can become sound and self-sufficient. In Jesus, we can overcome our corrupt nature, and live as victorious children of God. In Jesus, as we are healed, we are not indifferent to the things of this world such as school works or jobs or times, but we are not bound to them either; instead, by faith in Jesus, we challenge, conquer and enjoy them victoriously.
We do not seek human love, recognition, honor and respect. But as we love God and serve God’s work wholeheartedly, as we struggle hard to please God, all these things follow us and we feel very good. As we struggle hard to give something to others trying to help them and bless them, God satisfies us with all we need – good grades, secure jobs, beautiful family, and honor and respect from many. What do you think you really need for your happiness? “Silver or Gold?” No. God commands you today, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” No more a beggar’s life, but the life of children of God conquering the world by faith in Jesus.
After commanding him to walk in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Peter took him by the right hand, and helped him get up. Then, instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong (7). He jumped to his feet and began to walk. It was a great miracle. He was so happy and thankful that sometimes, he walked, sometimes, he jumped, and then, thought about what Jesus had done for him, and praised God (8). In the past he was one of the most sorrowful and pitiful persons in the world. But now when he was healed, when he could walk by the grace of Jesus, he became one of the most happy and joyful persons in the world. Before, he was a source of great burden to others. But now he became a source of great inspiration even to us.
How did the crowd react to God’s grace? Look at verses 9-10. “When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished. They were just casual worshipers in Jerusalem coming to the temple according to their tradition. But now in front of their very eyes, the man who had been a crippled beggar was walking boldly holding the apostles’ hands. It was amazing. “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was crippled, but now, I walk.”
*Conclusion: Today, God wants all peoples on earth to accept Jesus, and walk in his name. Today, people still meet the Risen Christ, receive healing from their wounds, scars, diseases and then live a new life in him. The changed life and miracle of healing in the lives of many is the most vivid evidence that Jesus is the Holy and Righteous One of God. Now He is in heaven waiting for his time to come when He will come back and restore everything. Everyone who accepts this gospel of Jesus Christ and turns to God has salvation and will see times of transformation coming from the Lord. May God bless us to walk in the name of Jesus Christ from today and live meaningful and fruitful and joyful life in Jesus Christ! May God grant us a new building so that we may start a new church, a fellowship of the believers! May God bless our upcoming Easter Bible School with NIU and Harper College!