Sermon on Acts 3:1-10
Text: One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer — at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 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.
It won’t be too long from now and the weather will turn colder. Many of us during the winter months come down with colds. Sometimes, we may also develop bronchitis. We may try to fight it for a while but end up going to the doctor to get some antibiotics to help us fight this infection. It’s kind of amazing that, after a while, by taking a series of little pills, we start to feel better. That little pill works wonders for us. This morning, in our text, we find a man who was suffering from something far worse that bronchitis. However, through a seemingly insignificant thing, his life was completely changed. The thing that changed his life is the thing that has changed our lives, as well. We praise God for THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME. It is 1. Worth More Than Gold Or Silver. 2. It Changes Lives Forever.
The first person that we meet in this account is a man, who was lame from birth. This was a horrible thing because, not only was he not able to walk, but he was also unable to earn a living. There was no government assistance to take care of him. So, the only way that he could survive was to beg. So, we read that he was “carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.” (Verse 2) His friends placed him there, hoping that the people going into the temple would feel charitable to him and give him some money. The gate that they placed him at was one of the busiest entrances into the temple. Luke also notes that the events in our text took place at three in the afternoon. This was one of the three times a day when the people would gather for prayer. It was also the time when they would offer the evening sacrifice. So, this man was place at one of the main entrances of the temple when the number of people going into the temple would be at it greatest. The man hoped that the people going into the temple would give him enough money to live on.
At this time, Peter and John entered the temple area through the Beautiful Gate. They saw the man, sitting on the side, begging from passersby. They didn’t ignore the man that was begging or look away, as we might find ourselves doing when we leave the parking lot of a store. Instead, they stopped as the man asked them for money and addressed him. They said, “Look at us!” (Verse 4) They wanted this man to know exactly where the help that they were going to give him came from. “So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.” (Verse 5) He was hoping for some sort of monetary donation from Peter and John.
Perhaps, his heart sank a bit as he heard Peter begin to speak, “Silver or gold I do not have.” (Verse 6) This is what the man thought he needed. He needed money to survive. Peter continued, “What I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” The man received something far greater than gold or silver. Through the power of Jesus name, he received the ability to walk.
As Christians, we hold the name of Jesus to be more precious than gold or silver. It is not the name itself, as there have been and will be others with the name of Jesus. Rather, that name is precious to us because it belongs to the one who is the Son of God, who came to this earth. It is precious to us because of who and what we are by nature. We are lost and condemned creatures. As an example of this, we think of the many times that we did not trust in God above all things. We trusted in our wealth or our health. We trusted in other people more than we trusted God. We deserve to be eternally separated from God for all eternity. However, the Son of God came to this earth to rescue us from our sins. Because Jesus was a human being, he was under the same requirements of the law that we are. Since he was the Son of God, he was able to keep every single command perfectly for us. As a human being, Jesus was able to suffer and die. God said that the wages of sin is death. However, since he was the Son of God, he did not die to take care of his sins, since he had none. Instead, that perfect suffering and death was able to pay for all the sins that we have ever committed. That is why the name of Jesus is so precious to us. It means that we are forgiven, and eternal life is ours. To us, the name of Jesus is more precious than all the gold or silver or all the collected wealth of the earth. To us, the name of Jesus means salvation.
We see the effect that the name of Jesus had in the lame man’s life. “Taking him by the right hand, [Peter] helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” (Verses 7&8) There are several things of note. First, we see that the healing was instantaneous. Normally, we would expect weeks or months of rehabilitation and therapy before the man could walk. After all, he had been lame from birth. Yet, it says that “instantly the man’s feet and ankles become strong.” (Verse 7) He didn’t take a few tentative steps like a calf that has just been born. He jumped to his feet. He not only walked, but he also jumped. The change in his life was instantaneous. This is also true in our lives. The day that we were brought to faith, we were immediately changed. There was no gradual change in us. At that moment, by the power of Jesus’ name, we became changed people.
Also, we note that this was not the lame man’s decision to begin to walk. He didn’t decide, as Peter was talking to him, that he had had enough of being lame and having to beg. He was going to do something to change his life for the better. No, the power to change this man from lame to walking and running came from outside of him. The power rested in the name of Jesus. The same is true for us. We did not decide one day to come to faith in Jesus. We had enough of being diseased by our sins and being apart from God. We should do something better with our lives. No, we could not choose to believe anymore than this lame man could decide to walk. The power to change our lives had to come from outside of ourselves. The change came through the power of Jesus working in our lives through the Means of Grace. It came through the gospel proclamation in God’s Word. For many of us, it came though the washing of baptism. On that day, we became changed people. We are changed because of the power of Jesus’ name.
The change that has happened in our lives is no less dramatic than what happened to that lame man, sitting in the Beautiful Gate. He went from being lame to being able to walk and jump. You and I have been changed in many ways through the power of Jesus’ name. The first, and most obvious, is the fact that we went from being a lost and condemned creature, outside of God’s love, to a person, who is dearly loved by God. We have become his sons and daughters. We went from sinner to saint, because now, when God looks at us, he sees us through the lens of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. What a complete change that has happened to us.
The other changes in the Christian’s life flow from that change. The way that we live our lives has changed. The old sinful nature wanted us to live for ourselves. Do what you want in life. Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life. You only go around once, so you might as well enjoy it. If it feels good, do it. As Christians, we have a different thought process. As we are reminded of all that God has done for us, we live our lives, not to please self, but to thank God. This means that what the world or our sinful nature may hold up as fun, or exciting, or necessary, we don’t want to do them. Instead, we want to dedicate our lives to serving our God, thanking him for all that he has done for us.
Another change that occurs is our outlook on life. The world would tell us that we are just a collection of living cells. You are the master of your own fate. If things go well, you deserved it because you worked a little harder and were a little smarter than the other person. If things go bad in your life, well, that’s just the way it goes. You’re just a boat floating down the stream and, sometimes, you’re going to hit a rock or a dry spot or even rapids. As Christians, who have been changed by the power of Jesus’ name, we know that we have a loving God that is in control of our lives. When we have those good days, we know that they are a blessing that comes from our loving God. When we go through those rough patches, we know that God hasn’t abandoned us and left us to our own devices. God is still guiding our lives. Though at times we follow with tear-filled eyes, we know that God has a plan for our lives. As Christians, we have a changed outlook on life.
Another change that happens for the Christian, by the power of Jesus’ name, is the certain assurance of what will happen to us, should we depart before the end of time. For the unchanged, there can be no calm in the face of the end of life. The best that they can hope for is that this life is all that there is. You die and that’s the end. The worst is that the thing that they are dreading is true. There really is a God, who cares about how you live your life and will punish you, if you don’t live up to his standards. There can be no peace in the face of death, only dread. What a change for the Christian. Because, by the faith created by the power of Jesus’ name, we know that our sins have been forgiven, we know that, if we should die before the end of time, we will be in heaven. Jesus has promised that he is preparing a place for us. We also have Jesus’ promise that he will raise our bodies on the Last Day. They will be perfect bodies, fit to live with him in heaven. Because we have been changed by the power of Jesus’ name, we don’t have to be afraid of any day. If we are living, we know that God is with us. If it is the day of our death or the Last Day, we know that we will be with God forever. What a change the power of Jesus’ name works in our lives!
Earlier, we talked about what a change taking that little antibiotic pill came make. We may have been suffering for some time, but eventually we start to feel better. However, we also know that, sometimes, that antibiotic doesn’t make us better, so we need to try a different one. We also know that, just because we were cured from that one infection doesn’t mean that we will never get sick again. What a blessing it is that the power of Jesus, that has worked in our lives, is all-sufficient. We don’t have to find someone else to make us better and, once we have been cleansed from our sins, we are healed. For that reason, we praise the power of Jesus’ name. To us, it is far more precious than gold or silver. It has made a permanent change in our lives. Amen.
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