Although this young and thriving church has no political influence, property, fame, or wealth, it is powerful. Its power is centered in living the gospel. The people value one another more than any possessions. They come together as a large, passionate, healthy family where it is natural to pray and share all of life together. The kingdom of God is blossoming on earth as these lovers of God embrace the teachings of Jesus. In the days ahead, the church will lose much of this initial beauty and appeal; it will become consumed with a desire for material possessions, cultural influence, and power.
3 One day at three o’clock in the afternoon, a customary time for daily prayer, Peter and John walked to the temple. 2 Some people were carrying in a man who had been paralyzed since birth. Every day they brought him to a place near the beautiful gate (one of the temple entrances) so he could beg for money from people entering to worship. 3 He saw Peter and John coming and asked them for a contribution. 4 Peter gazed intensely at him—so did John.
Peter: Look at us.
5 The man looked up at them, assuming they were about to give him some money.
Peter: 6 I want to give you something, but I don’t have any silver or gold. Here’s what I can offer you: stand up and walk in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Anointed One.
7 Then Peter took the man’s right hand and lifted him to his feet. Instantly the man’s feet and ankles grew strong. 8 He jumped and walked, accompanying Peter and John into the temple where he walked, jumped for joy, and shouted praises to God. 9-11 A crowd ran to the commotion, and they gathered around this man in an open area called Solomon’s Porch. There he was, standing on his own two feet, holding on to Peter and John. They knew exactly who he was—the beggar they passed at the beautiful gate every day. Everyone was absolutely amazed at this wonderful miracle; they were speechless, stunned.
Just as Jesus promised, the Spirit comes on believers in power, enabling them to do miracles like this. Now they can participate in the truth of the good news.
Peter (to the crowd): 12 Why are you so amazed, my fellow Israelites? Why are you staring at my friend and me as though we did this miracle through our own power or made this fellow walk by our own holiness? 13 We didn’t do this—God did! The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob—the God of our ancestors has glorified Jesus, God’s servant—the same Jesus whom you betrayed and rejected in front of Pilate, even though Pilate was going to release Him. 14 He is the Holy and Righteous One, but you rejected Him and asked for a murderer to be released to you instead. 15 You not only rejected Him, but you killed Him—the very Author of life! But God raised Jesus from the dead, whom my friend John and I have seen with our own eyes. 16 So that’s how this miracle happened: we have faith in the name of Jesus, and He is the power that made this man strong—this man who is known to all of you. It is faith in Jesus that has given this man his complete health here today, in front of all of you.
17 Listen, friends, I know you didn’t fully realize what you were doing when you rejected and betrayed Jesus. I know that you, and your rulers as well, were acting in ignorance. 18 God was at work in all this, fulfilling what He had predicted through all the prophets—that the Anointed One would suffer. 19 So now you need to rethink everything and turn to God so your sins will be forgiven and a new day can dawn, days of refreshing times flowing from the Lord. 20 Then God may send Jesus the Anointed, whom God has chosen for you. 21 He is in heaven now and must remain there until the day of universal restoration comes—the restoration which in ancient times God announced through the holy prophets. 22 Moses, for example, said, “The Eternal One your God will raise up from among your people a prophet who will be like me. You must listen to Him. 23 And whoever does not listen to His words will be completely uprooted from among the people.”[a]
24 Every prophet, from Samuel through all of his successors, agreed. 25 You are the descendants of these prophets, and you are the people of God’s covenant to your ancestors. God’s word to Abraham includes you: “Because of your descendants, all the families of the earth will be blessed.”[b] 26 So when God raised up His Servant, God sent Him first to you, to begin blessing you by calling you to change your path from evil ways to God’s ways.