December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o'clock hour of prayer. 2
- And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called "the Beautiful Gate" every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
- When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms.
- But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us."
- He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
- 3 Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, (rise and) walk."
- Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
- He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.
- When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
- they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.
- As he clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called "Solomon's Portico."
- When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, "You Israelites, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
- The God of Abraham, (the God) of Isaac, and (the God) of Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified 4 his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence, when he had decided to release him.
- You denied the Holy and Righteous One 5 and asked that a murderer be released to you.
- 6 The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
- And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you.
- Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, 7 just as your leaders did;
- but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, 8 that his Messiah would suffer.
- Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
- and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus, 9
- whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration 10 of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.
- For Moses said: 11 'A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
- Everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be cut off from the people.'
- Moreover, all the prophets who spoke, from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
- You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, 'In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'
- For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways."
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1 [3:1-4:31] This section presents a series of related events: the dramatic cure of a lame beggar (Acts 3:1-10) produces a large audience for the kerygmatic discourse of Peter (Acts 3:11-26). The Sadducees, taking exception to the doctrine of resurrection, have Peter, John, and apparently the beggar as well, arrested (Acts 4:1-4) and brought to trial before the Sanhedrin. The issue concerns the authority by which Peter and John publicly teach religious doctrine in the temple (Acts 4:5-7). Peter replies with a brief summary of the kerygma, implying that his authority is prophetic (Acts 4:8-12). The court warns the apostles to abandon their practice of invoking prophetic authority in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:13-18). When Peter and John reply that the prophetic role cannot be abandoned to satisfy human objections, the court nevertheless releases them, afraid to do otherwise since the beggar, lame from birth and over forty years old, is a well-known figure in Jerusalem and the facts of his cure are common property (Acts 4:19-22). The narrative concludes with a prayer of the Christian community imploring divine aid against threats of persecution (Acts 4:23-31).
2  For the three o'clock hour of prayer: literally, "at the ninth hour of prayer." With the day beginning at 6 A.M., the ninth hour would be 3 P.M.
3 [6-10] The miracle has a dramatic cast; it symbolizes the saving power of Christ and leads the beggar to enter the temple, where he hears Peter's proclamation of salvation through Jesus.
4  Has glorified: through the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, God reversed the judgment against him on the occasion of his trial. Servant: the Greek word can also be rendered as "son" or even "child" here and also in Acts 3:26; 4:25 (applied to David); Acts 4:27; and Acts 4:30. Scholars are of the opinion, however, that the original concept reflected in the words identified Jesus with the suffering Servant of the Lord of Isaiah 52:13-53:12.
5  The Holy and Righteous One: so designating Jesus emphasizes his special relationship to the Father (see Luke 1:35; 4:34) and emphasizes his sinlessness and religious dignity that are placed in sharp contrast with the guilt of those who rejected him in favor of Barabbas.
6  The author of life: other possible translations of the Greek title are "leader of life" or "pioneer of life." The title clearly points to Jesus as the source and originator of salvation.
7  Ignorance: a Lucan motif, explaining away the actions not only of the people but also of their leaders in crucifying Jesus. On this basis the presbyters in Acts could continue to appeal to the Jews in Jerusalem to believe in Jesus, even while affirming their involvement in his death because they were unaware of his messianic dignity. See also Acts 13:27 and Luke 23:34.
8  Through the mouth of all the prophets: Christian prophetic insight into the Old Testament saw the crucifixion and death of Jesus as the main import of messianic prophecy. The Jews themselves did not anticipate a suffering Messiah; they usually understood the Servant Song in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 to signify their own suffering as a people. In his typical fashion (cf Luke 18:31; 24:25, 27, 44), Luke does not specify the particular Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus. See also the note on Luke 24:26.
9  The Lord . . . and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus: an allusion to the parousia or second coming of Christ, judged to be imminent in the apostolic age. This reference to its nearness is the only explicit one in Acts. Some scholars believe that this verse preserves a very early christology, in which the title "Messiah" (Greek "Christ") is applied to him as of his parousia, his second coming (contrast Acts 2:36). This view of a future messiahship of Jesus is not found elsewhere in the New Testament.
10  The times of universal restoration: like "the times of refreshment" (Acts 3:20), an apocalyptic designation of the messianic age, fitting in with the christology of Acts 3:20 that associates the messiahship of Jesus with his future coming.
11  A loose citation of Deut 18:15, which teaches that the Israelites are to learn the will of Yahweh from no one but their prophets. At the time of Jesus, some Jews expected a unique prophet to come in fulfillment of this text. Early Christianity applied this tradition and text to Jesus and used them especially in defense of the divergence of Christian teaching from traditional Judaism.
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