Faithlife Sermons

Taking First Steps

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We love first steps! Exciting when a child begins to get up and go…and then, we may think we need a cage or a leash!
A bit of a pun in the title; part 1 of a multiple part mini-narrative we’ll not conclude until after Easter
The man, lame from birth, so these were his first steps (in chapt 4 we find that he was 40 years old)
Also, the first steps leading to a confrontation between the Apostles and the Jewish leadership
A note of caution: the difference between descriptive and prescriptive
Miracles—signs and wonders—were common in the days of the Apostles/early church
Don’t bring lame folks to our door and expect Sean or me to walk by and heal them
God IS still in the miracle business; but we do not have apostolic powers
What we’ll have here is the Setting up for an encounter, Leaping-up of a lame man,
The Stirring-up of the crowd
Sequence or parenthetical?
Probably is a narrative expanding on the final passage of chap. 2;
An example of attending the temple
An example of signs and wonders
An example of the peoples’ response
Chapters 3-5 are examples

Setting Up

If you skim ahead to chapter 4—a gentle hint, you’ll see where this will take us
Peter and John, following custom—going to the temple at the time of prayer; same place, same time for worship
Prayers at 9 am, noon, 3 pm
This would be a good time for a beggar to be near the gate—lots of foot traffic
Good suggestion is that it was the final time, as they were arrested and held over for the next day; not dealt with right then
The Beautiful Gate: no clear agreement on which gate that was…Herod’s temple, big, opulent, impressive...
This event was a long time in the making; linguistic structure shows history of repetitive behavior—regarding the lame man; it had been going on a long time
The beggar asked for a handout…got something much better
Some argue that Peter and John had access to cash, but made the choice to heal the man the text disagrees, and so must we
What they offered was better—healing

Leaping Up

By the time I was 40, I was pretty well past the point of leaping up for anything!
Not a slow, painful process—he LEAPED UP!
Interesting that the terms Luke uses describing feet and ankles are unique in the NT, common to medical language—Luke was a physician! A bit of a note on authorship
“…leaped up, began to walk, entered the temple…walking, leaping, and PRAISING GOD!”
Once again, there is a link back to 2:47

Stirring Up

Probably a bit of the “wonders and signs” mentioned in chap. 2 v. 43
Two aspects
Only dealing with the one this week—we’ll call them the rightly aroused
Wrongly aroused…deal with them at a future time
Saw him walking
Recognized him as the man they’d seen for most of 40 years!
The were filled with wonder and amazement (ecstasios—ecstatic)
We must sneak into v. 11 and get a preview of next week’s lesson
English Standard Version (Chapter 3)
all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s
We’ll deal with the mob scene then…and look at that utterly astounded part

Wrapping Up

What are the lessons?
We cannot spiritualize the situation of need the lame man was in
except we may see some linkage to
He was merely asking for money; doing what was necessary for him to make ends meet
His position by a gate to the temples made sense, as many people would be coming and going; it was within the practice of the pious Jews, to give alms
Peter and John were going about their normal daily activities
Had they passed him before without notice? Possibly
This time…they saw an opportunity to do a great thing
What they did was done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth
It was in His name, His power they did this…not their own
We can look at a similar event in the life of Jesus himself back in Matt. 9, Jesus healed a paralytic man…and Matt. 9 8
Matthew 9:8 (ESV)
When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Another when Jesus healed a blind man John 9 1-3
John 9:1–3 ESV
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
There’s a pattern of even disability and dysfunction being turned to to something that glorifies God!
This is the first recorded incidents of healing by the apostles
Peter and John recognized what would be an opportunity to glorify God…and took it
We could get some guidance from Col 3 17
Colossians 3:17 (ESV)
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Herein is one lesson
Most people will do at least some good works
Sometimes it for their own glory and praise
Some atheists have given lots of time, money and material to great projects
Non-Christian religious groups have poured themselves into relief efforts
Many do good and/or great things just because they are the right things to do
But they don’t do it for the sake of the glory of God


Maybe you have material goods, equipment or skills that you can use to the glory of God
Do you? Even if you’re using them for great and mighty purposes, is the glory of God the result?
Can we express to the people you’re helping the reason you’re helping?
Maybe we don’t have goods, equipment or skills, but when someone is in need can we reach out without silver or gold, and offer them the love of Jesus Christ?
Of course, that means we have to have experienced the love of Jesus
…have trusted Him as your Savior…have watched and experienced Him work in your life
Have you taken that first step? Trusting Christ?
Have you ever taken the “first step” of offering Jesus Christ to someone else
You may have no silver; may have no gold…
...but you have the salvation of Jesus Christ!
Have you ever reached out to offer that to someone
People are torn up, depressed, dragged down, addicted, abused…crippled by a different illness…maybe for the years our beggar in the narrative
They may be looking for help as they think they need it (often enabling, not helping) We have something so much better
We can offer those people Jesus, reach out to them with the power of the name of Jesus, lift them up, strengthen their failed components, let the Power of Jesus heal them and praise God for His mighty works
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