1. The early church in Jerusalem, 1:1-5:42

viii] The healing of the lame man


Having recorded the lifestyle of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, Luke goes on to describe a miracle performed by Peter which would prompt a serious reaction from the religious authorities. The authorities thought that they had dispensed with Jesus and his tricks, and now here are his disciples up to the same antics. It is while Peter and John are on their way to attend afternoon prayers in the temple, that they come across a crippled beggar at Beautiful Gate. Peter responds with the classic line, "Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Of course, a commotion ensues when the cripple does rise up and walk, and this is when the trouble starts.


Not only does Jesus' death and resurrection realise forgiveness and the gift of God's Spirit, but it inaugurates the restoration of all things.


i] Context: See 1:1-11.


ii] Background: Sources. This narrative / miracle story, the healing of the lame man at the gate Beautiful, is typical of much of the recorded events in Luke - it evidences written and / or oral sources. Luke composes his overall account of the movement of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, and does so by including accounts from a variety of sources.

The story before us serves as an example of material which evidences prior existence. Barrett notes that it shows few traces of characteristic Lukan style. So, it is likely that Luke is adopting a story which already exists in the set tradition of the early Christian church. In fact, as Barrett notes, it is probably but one example of the many stories circulating about the miraculous deeds of the apostles. It is likely that these stories are part of set oral tradition, but as Wilcox notes, in The Semitisms of Acts, an Aramaic source is unlikely for this story. Barrett suggests a written source is more likely, something like a collection of miracle-stories ascribed to Peter.


iii] Structure: The healing of the lame man:

The miracle, v1-10;

Peter's explanation, v11-26;

The author of life, v11-16;

Jesus is the long-promised Messiah, v17-21;

Jesus is the prophet like unto Moses, v22-26.


iv] Interpretation:

Luke now switches the focus of his narrative from the life of the early church to the mission of the church. He sets out to establish that the mission of the early church is the same mission as that of Jesus. Luke makes the point that "the apostles carry on the prophetic power of Jesus in their deeds (v1-11) and words (12-26)", Johnson.

In his record of the miracle, Luke makes sure that we recognise that it bears all the marks of miracles performed by Jesus, in fact, there are linguistic parallels between this miracle performed by Peter, and the miracle performed by Jesus in Luke 5:17-26. So, Luke sets out to communicate the simple fact that "the apostles are prophetic successors of Jesus", Johnson. "Jesus can transform and give new life, and so can the deeds of those who he works through", Bock.

The miracle contains all the elements of a typical synoptic miracle story:

iAn impossible situation sets the scene;

iAn authoritative word of command;

iA complete cure is effected;

iAmazement expressed by the crowd.

Dunn notes also that the story has Pauline overtones, even parallels with the miracles Paul performs. A lame man is unable to participate fully in Israel's religious life, even barred from the Qumran community, so his healing not only emancipates his legs, but also his religious life - he enters the temple "walking and jumping and praising God." His healing is a portrayal of salvation, so Bock.


v] Homiletics:

[Map] It's hard to believe, but in the days when I was in school, public education of primary school students included, what was known as, General Religious Education. For one hour, every week, the State school teacher would read a Bible story and explain it to the students. It was a time when the Bible provided the moral backbone for Australia. The story was accompanied by an illustrated poster, published by the Department of Education, a poster just like this classical image.

It's no longer "The Times They Are A-Changin", but rather, the times they have a-changed. As far as the chattering-class is concerned, the Bible is a racist, homophobic, sexist publication, full of disturbing myths best kept at arms-length from inquiring young minds.

Like the cripple at the Beautiful Gate, Western society is immobilised in a myth of its own making, with Christian revival its only hope. Such a miracle seems beyond imagination. Yet, as our reading from Acts today reveals, the authority of life from death that Jesus exercised, is now transferred to his disciples, his church. We have the authority to mobilise our immobilised society, and this through the power of the Good News from Jesus.

Text - 3:1

The healing of the lame man, v1-26: i] The miracle, v1-10. In the ancient world, friends and family were essential for survival. Thankfully, the lame man had his share of friends and family, and they knew how best to help. People heading off for worship tend to be in the right mood for an act of almsgiving, given that karma tends to apply. Also, a congenital deformation is a distressing sight and inevitably prompts sympathy. Anyway, Peter and John are attending the temple at the hour of prayer when they come across the lame man. He appeals for their help, but they have no money on them. The apostles offer what they have, the power of the risen Christ. In the presence of all attending the temple that afternoon, the words of Isaiah find fulfilment; "Then will the lame leap like a deer." Just as with Jesus' miracles, the lame man plays his part in a divine drama (sign), a writing on a wall to a dying world providing a glimpse of the age to come, the age of fulfilment when everything that is old becomes new again.

de "-" - but/and [peter and john were going up into the temple]. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative. The imperfect verb "were going up" may be tendential / conative, expressing attempted action.

epi "at" - upon. Temporal use of the preposition.

thV proseuchV (h) gen. "[the time] of prayer" - [the hour] of prayer. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / temporal, limiting the substantive "time" by specifying the time in mind.

thn enathn (a atoV) acc. "at three in the afternoon" - the ninth. Standing in apposition to "time", further explaining the "time" in mind.


Luke has already informed us in his gospel that the lame and outcast will share in the eschatological banquet, and this particular man is about to experience a foretaste, Lk.13:13-22.

uJparcwn (uJpcw) pres. part. "who was [lame]" - [and a certain lame man] being. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "lame man."

ek + gen. "from [birth]" - from [the womb of the mother of him]. Adverbial use of the preposition, temporal, "since the time of his birth", Culy; "who had been born lame", Barclay.

ebastazeto (bastazw) imperf. "was being carried" - was being carried [and they were putting whom]. As with "they were putting." The imperfect may be taken as progressive, ie., the friends and family were in the process of putting him at the temple gate. Cully suggests that the imperfect is customary, ie., it was their custom.

kaq (kata) + acc. "every [day]" - according to [day, toward the door of the temple complex]. Adverbial use of the preposition, distributive, + the noun "day" is used to give the sense "daily".

thn legomenhn (legw) pres. part. "called [Beautiful]" - the one being called [beautiful]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "door"; "that is called the Beautiful Gate", ESV. No knowledge of this gate exists; it was obviously a title specific to the time

tou aitein (aitew) pres. inf. "to beg" - of the to beg = in order to beg. The genitive articular infinitive is often epexegetic, but here it is final, expressing purpose.

para + gen. "from" - from beside. Here expressing source / origin.

twn eisporeuomenwn (eisporeuomai) gen. pres. part. "those going into" - the ones entering into [into the temple]. The participle serves as a substantive. The repetition of the prepositional prefix eiV is common idiom.


idwn (oJraw) aor. part. "when he saw" - [who,] having seen, looked intently at [peter and john]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

mellontaV (mellw) acc. pres. part. "about" - being about [to enter into the temple]. The participle, completed by the complementary infinitive eisienai, "to enter into", is the accusative complement of the direct object "Peter and John", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object.

labein (lambanw) aor. inf. "for [money]" - [was asking, begging] to receive [alms]. The infinitive could be viewed as adverbial, final, expressing purpose, "was begging in order to receive alms", or as introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect discourse, expressing what he was asking, namely "that he receive alms", or possibly direct discourse, "he asked them strongly, 'Give me charity'", TH; "he asked to be given alms", Barclay.


The language implies that "the man would not make eye contact", Kellum. "Peter struggles to make the apostolic action communal", Johnson.

atenisaV (atenizw) aor. part. "looked straight [at him]" - [but/and peter] having looked steadfastly, gazed [into = at him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "to say"; "Peter fixed his eyes on him, as did John, and said ...." Possibly adverbial, temporal, so Kellum.

sun "as did [John]" - with [john, he said, look at us]. Expressing association, accompaniment.


With his attention roused, the lame man "goes from 'asking' to 'expecting'", Kallum.

oJ de "so the man" - the = he but/ and. This construction is often used to indicate a change in subject, here from Peter to the lame man.

autoiV dat. pro. "[gave] them [his attention]" - [he was paying close attention to] them. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to pay attention to"; "He gave them all his attention", Barclay.

prosdokwn (prosdokaw) pres. part. "expecting" - waiting for, expecting [certain = something]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal, "because he expected to receive something from them."

labein (lambanw) "to get" - to receive [certain = something]. Usually classified as complementary, but it may also be viewed as introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception, expressing what the lame man expected, thought, namely, "that he was going to get something."

par (para) + gen. "from" - from [them]. Here expressing source / origin.


Dunn suggests that the representation of apostolic poverty here is a story-telling device. But he notes that it could also reflect the poverty of the Jerusalem church, a church forced to sell property to survive. The economic state of the early church is reflected in Paul's collection for the saints in Palestine. As is often the case, there are economic consequences for following Jesus.

ouc ..... de "not ....., but ...." - [but/and peter said, silver and gold it is possessed] not [to me], but. Forming a counterpoint construction; "not ....., but ....". The dative pronoun moi, "to me", is possibly instrumental, "by me", or possessive, "I do not have any silver or gold", Culy.

o} pro. "what" - [but/and] what [i have]. Here serving to introduce a headless relative clause, ie., there is no antecedent.

soi dat. pro. "[I give] to you" - [i give this] to you. Dative of indirect object.

en + dat. "in [the name]" - in = by [the name of jesus christ, messiah]. Probably instrumental, "by the name", with "the name" = the person = the power and authority [of Jesus Christ]. The genitive "of Jesus Christ" is adjectival, possessive.

tou Nazwraiou (oV) gen. "of Nazareth" - of nazareth, [rise up and walk]. The genitive may be ablative, source / origin, "from Nazareth", but Culy notes that technically it stands in apposition to the genitive "Jesus Christ", so "Jesus Christ the Nazarene."


The miraculous nature of the miracle is conveyed in the use of the adverb paracrhma, "instantly, immediately", cf., 12:23, 16:26.

piasaV (piazw) aor. part. "taking" - [and] seizing [him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to raise up."

thV .... ceiroV (eir roV) gen. "by the [right] hand" - of the [right] hand, but/and immediately the feet of him and the ankles of him were made strong]. The genitive is adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, as NIV.


Again, Luke underlines the miraculous nature of the miracle in the "walking and jumping"; "there is obviously no need for any physical therapy to strengthen atrophied muscles", Kellum. "The verse conveys the fact that the man was fully cured", Barrett. Commentators have noted the overloading of the verse, even clumsy Greek, but as Bock notes, the language serves to express "the healing's complete success" and thus the newfound right for this lame man to enter into the temple, and the presence of God, as a whole person.

exallomenoV (exallomai) pres. part. "he jumped [to his feet]" - [and] leaping up [he stood and was walking around]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to stand", "he leapt up and stood", Berkeley, but it may also be treated as adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his standing up, "leaping up, he stood", ESV.

sun + dat. "with [them]" - [and he entered] with [them into the temple]. Expressing association, accompaniment.

peripatwn (peripatew) pres. part. "walking" - walking [and leaping and praising god]. As with "leaping" and "praising", The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his entry into the temple courts.


peripatounta (peripatew) pres. part. "[saw him] walking" - [and all the people saw him] walking [and praising god]. As with "praising", the participle is the accusative complement of the direct object "saw", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object.


Jesus' authority to usher in the new age of the kingdom, so facilitating the bestowal of the promised blessings of the covenant, was outwardly expressed in wondrous signs (miraculous healings). At the hand of the apostles, the signs continue, so proclaiming the dawning of the new age. As with Jesus, so with the apostles, the crowd responds with amazement, but inevitably, only faith will save them.

oJti "as [the man]" - [but/and they recognised him] that [he was the one]. Without the direct object auton, "him", oJti would introduce a dependent statement of perception, but given the presence of the direct object, oJti is epexegetic, specifying the object "him", as NIV.

proV + acc. "begging" - [he was the one at the beautiful gate of the temple] toward [alms]. Here the preposition expresses purpose, "in order to seek alms"; "begging for alms", Cassirer.

bambouV (oV ouV) gen. "[filled] with wonder" - [and they were filled] of wonder [and amazement]. As with the noun "amazement", the genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / content, "filled full of wonder and amazement." The sense of the two descriptives may be something like "beside themselves", Kellum, "astonishment", Johnson, so Dun ....; "completely surprised", CEV.

epi + dat. "at" - upon. Here the preposition expresses cause, "because of what has happened."

tw/ sumbebhkoti (sumbainw) dat. perf. part. "what had happened" - the thing having happened, befallen. The participle serves as a substantive.

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - him. Dative of direct object after the sun prefix verb "to happen, befall", although Kellum classifies it as a dative of interest, advantage.



Acts Introduction

Exegetical Commentaries


[Pumpkin Cottage]