What does Acts 3:4 mean?
ESV: And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us."
NIV: Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!"
NASB: But Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, 'Look at us!'
CSB: Peter, along with John, looked straight at him and said, "Look at us."
NLT: Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, 'Look at us!'
KJV: And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
NKJV: And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.”
Verse Commentary:
Peter and John are entering the temple when a lame man asks for alms. Peter doesn't have any money—what he has is much more valuable. But first, he needs the man's attention.

Many times, Jesus preferred His miracles remain quiet. Sometimes, however, He gathered people's attention. This was the case with the woman who had the issue of blood. A woman who had been bleeding for twelve years had the boldness to touch Jesus' robe. She realized immediately she was healed and meant to sneak away, but Jesus stopped her and called the crowd's attention to her. In doing so, He publicly commended her faith and let her community know that she was no longer unclean (Mark 5:25–34).

Whether or not a miracle-worker intended for his work to be public depended on the situation and the purpose of the miracle. In this case, Peter is having pity on a lame man, but his main purpose is to use the miracle to bring attention to Jesus. Peter could have quietly healed the man and gone about his business. That would not have provided him a chance to be Jesus' witness in front of the crowd (Acts 1:8).

This dichotomy is seen in Jesus' teaching about ministering to others. In Matthew 6:3–4, He says to give to the needy secretly so that your reward comes from God, not other people. But in Matthew 5:14–16, He says to let others see your good works. These are not at all contradictory, because of the difference in who will receive the praise. If your good works inspire others to give God glory, "let your light shine" (Matthew 5:16). Since Peter's goal is to teach about Jesus, he allowed the miracle to be public.
Verse Context:
Acts 3:1–10 illustrates one of the ''wonders and signs'' the apostles performed after receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:43). The setting is completely mundane. As Jews, Peter and John go to the temple to pray and find a lame beggar they wish to help. As specially-empowered followers of Jesus, healing the man comes second nature. The act validates Peter's status as witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8), and he is ready with an explanation that ties the event to Jesus' call to repentance (Acts 3:11–26). This miracle, however, catches the attention of the Sanhedrin and starts the long road of church persecution (Acts 4).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 3 is comprised of two sections: the healing of a lame man and the explanation of that healing. First, a man who has been lame his whole life approaches Peter and John to beg from them at the temple. When Peter heals him in Jesus' name, a crowd gathers around. Peter gives witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8) and tells the crowd that Jesus' authority and power healed this man. Looking back as modern readers, we see how, as the man's body symbolically ''repented,'' or turned away, from its broken form into freedom of movement, so the people can repent from their broken thoughts, actions, and beliefs, and find freedom from sin.
Chapter Context:
Acts 3 contains the second major speech of Jesus' followers. In Acts 1, Jesus ascended into heaven. In Acts 2, His followers received the Holy Spirit and gave such witness to Him that three thousand people believed in Him. Here, Peter explains that Jesus' power and authority have healed a lame man, and Jesus can heal sinful hearts, as well. This moment will bring the fledgling church to the attention of the Sanhedrin: the Jewish ruling court. There, Peter and John will set the example for all Jesus-followers. Jesus told them to be His witness (Acts 1:8); nothing a human authority can say will stop them.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 6/22/2024 5:45:40 PM
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