God Has Glorified His Servant Jesus
Here we have the first recorded healing by the apostles after Pentecost. The account itself need not detain us for long. A lame man was laid at the gate called Beautiful at the temple each day to beg alms. This marks a startling contrast to the description we just read at the end of chapter two in which the believers were selling houses and lands and laying the proceeds at the apostles’ feet for distribution so that no one would be needy among the Church of Jesus Christ. We read in the Law that the ancient Israelite tribes divided the land according to lot and that each clan and family was to have their share among that tribe (Numbers 26:52-56; Joshua 13-21). Furthermore, every fifty years, a year of Jubilee was to be observed in which those who had lost their land due to misfortune or financial hardship were to receive it back again (Leviticus 25, 27). Of course, over the centuries of conquest, the Jewish state in the time of Jesus and the apostles was a shell of its former glory and were under Roman occupation. But the contrast still holds: the Law and the prophets stipulated equity and, I suppose like us, the Jewish state was a far cry from that in the first century. At any rate, Peter, having gained the poor man’s attention gives him what he does have, which has nothing to do with silver and gold but is much better.
As the people run together to see this lame man now “walking and leaping and praising God,” Peter addresses them. He assures them that this man’s healing had nothing to do with them but everything to do with Christ. He says, “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus.” Please note that by addressing the people by referring to the God of their fathers and making it clear that Jesus is His servant, Peter also claims that Jesus was theirs as well; that is, Jesus didn’t just come down from any god or out of thin air, but from their God, the only God, and to his own people (John 1:11). Now the bad news is that they chose a murderer over the “Author of life,” a huge statement from Peter at this early point showing that the apostles did not simply understand Jesus to be the Messiah but also understood him to be the divine Son of God from the very beginning. But though they killed him, God raised him up (again showing the emphasis of the earliest apostolic preaching being on the resurrection), and it is by faith in this name, this divine name, Jesus, that the man before them was “in perfect health.” So when he rose, he rose doing what he had done before, only now through the apostles. God was glorifying his servant, Jesus, before their very eyes; He still does if we will only open our eyes to see.