10. Peter’s Sermon in the Temple (Acts 3:11-26)
11 As the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. 12 When Peter saw it, he responded to the people, “You men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Why do you fasten your eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, to which we are witnesses. 16 By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
When the multitudes sense power in a certain leader, they race to him, hoping to receive from the power of his charisma. Unfortunately, it has long been experienced that most leaders do not give God’s power to their followers. Instead, they propagate and spread their own powers. They promise their followers the hope of gold and silver, yet never fulfill it.
Peter was astonished at the Jews’ attitude, which recognized neither the truth nor the power of God working in them. Thus, he first chose to free them from honoring his person. They were not to rely on his gifting, but on God´s gift alone. It is as the Lord says: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man.” Peter testified that neither human power nor religiosity could remove sin or heal the sick. Men are totally unprofitable, but like puffed up peacocks that parade themselves about.
The apostle pointed to the one unique Man who alone can give our disturbed world power and hope. This man is Jesus of Nazareth. Peter did not call him Christ, but used the word “God’s Servant” to describe him, which in Greek signifies the bondservant of God. At the same time, it refers to Christ’s submission to His Father, for it is in His voluntary submission that we see Christ’s perfection and triumph. The Son of God made Himself of no reputation, but became a man and humbled Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and became obedient to His Father’s will even to the point of death, the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name (Phil. 2:7-9). It was right for Peter to say that God had glorified His Servant Jesus, for the glorification of the name of Jesus Christ is the end work of the Holy Spirit, who is Himself God.
Peter did not speak in the name of an unperceivable, unknown great God, but called God the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He had manifested Himself to the patriarchs, whom He Himself had chosen. The God of the nation´s fathers raised His Servant Jesus from the dead. The effectiveness of this divine event formed the banner over the apostles’ preaching. Jesus the crucified had not remained in the grave, but rose to live forevermore. The apostles had been eyewitnesses, who had seen and spoken with Him. They bore witness to the certainty of His resurrection and glorified body after his death on the cross.
The Holy Spirit is not satisfied to merely show the grace and triumph of God. He always attacks the innermost sins of man, for the Spirit of God is holy. The Jewish nation did not receive the Chosen One of God, but refused and denied Him, even though the Roman governor had found Him innocent. They insisted that the heathen governor twist the truth and crucify the Son of God. Their address to the Jewish rulers was spoken not far from the Tower of Antonia, overlooking the open space of the temple, where Jesus had previously taught in Solomon’s Porch. The hearers sensed the injustice they had committed, where even these buildings were witnesses against them. Peter, who had become the fisher of men, continued his speech. He removed the false veils of godliness from the murderers’ faces. He stamped them as those who had refused the Lamb of God, choosing Barabbas instead, who had been a murderer and brigand. This choice had revealed their evil spirit and reprobate mind.
The Holy Spirit urged Peter to call Christ, who was born of the Holy Spirit, “the Holy One”, who went on to bear the sin of the whole world. This innocent One was the life of God incarnate, and the one who continues sinless should never die. Yet in the death of Jesus the impossible thing had happened: the Prince of Life Himself had died. In clarifying the essence of Jesus, Peter did not use the title “Christ”, or “the Son of God”, but placed the entire significance contained in these titles in the one name of “Jesus”.
The speaker continued on with his indictment of the murderers, saying: “God loved Jesus of Nazareth, but you resisted God’s Spirit and killed the beloved Son of the Holy One. You are criminals, God’s enemies, and His adversaries. You come to the temple to pray and receive blessing, but God does not answer your prayers, for you killed Jesus, God´s righteous Servant.
Following that, the uneducated witness testified that God had reached out His hand, not in order to bring the nation to Moses, Elijah or John the Baptist, but to Jesus, who had been despised, tormented, and finally killed by the Jews. Jesus’ resurrection was the proof of His holiness in accordance with God’s will and pleasure. The Lord Jesus is living, present, and near to us. Peter’s testimony confirms that Christ did not decay in the tomb, as all other men do, but cast off the bonds of death. He now dwells in the glory of God the Father.
To confirm this frightening message to the Jews, Peter referred his hearers to the healed man standing in their midst, one whom they had known for long years. His renewed muscle tone and straightened bones was the certificate of validity to Peter’s testimony, a proof of Christ’s resurrection.
Luke, the physician, clarified through Peter’s address that healing comes only by grace. Even faith in Jesus is a result of the Savior’s grace to man. Faith in Jesus’ name signifies a confidence in His presence, certainty of His saving will, commitment to Him as the great Physician, and the holding fast to His delivered word. Jesus’ name is full of power. There is no constructive power in our world except that in the unique name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit saves, cures, and sanctifies through this unique and marvelous name alone. No wonder Satan tries, in a thousand ways, to distort this name, make people forget it, or exchange it for other prominent names. Now, dear brother, make sure that you are a hearer of the truth. In the Man Jesus of Nazareth dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He who commits himself to Him experiences His power. God’s everlasting power is made perfect in our weakness.
Effectual faith is a great mystery, for it is the boldness and confidence of the believer who places his trust completely in Jesus’ name. His trust grows through his continuous looking to the Savior. Jesus expects your undivided faith, your holding fast to the Crucified One, and your being engaged by the power of His resurrection. Come to Jesus, for He is the author and finisher of your faith. Near Him your soul recovers, your spirit is refreshed, and your life is justified. Your faith has saved you.
PRAYER: O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You that You revealed Your name to us, and showed us that you are true God from true God, in one essence with the Father. In You the power of the Mighty One works. Do not cast us away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from us, but fill us with the essence of Your love, that we may continue in Your power and spread Your name throughout the whole world.
- What is the meaning of “faith in the name of Jesus of Nazareth”?