As Peter and John came to the temple at the hour of prayer, they came upon a beggar laying at the temple gate seeking alms from the people. This beggar had not asked to be healed but simply looked at Peter and John asking them in the hope they may give him some money.
Peter looked intently at the man, as did John, and Peter said to him these words.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
This was a miraculous healing for the man had been lame from birth and he was well known and recognised, for he came to this gate of the temple every day seeking alms. As a result, all the people who were there and saw what was happening were amazed at this incredible miracle.
As we continue down into the section, we see Peter say to all the people,
12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?
13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.
14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
16 And his name-by faith in his name-has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
This man was healed instantly and Peter made the statement explaining to the people how this had occurred. He used the opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people and showed them that it was by faith in the name of Jesus Christ that this man was healed.
It had nothing to do with Peter and John DOING anything, or being especially righteous or pious or having any great power of their own. The whole reason why this man had been healed was through the name of Jesus and faith in the name of Jesus.
This is the power of faith in the name of Jesus that still exists down to this day. The name of Jesus is able to do miracles, when or if that is the will of God. Make no mistake, miracles can and do still happen today in the name of Jesus, and I am certain that they will do so once again.
But we need to understand the purpose of the miracles and what they were for first. We need to see that although the miracles were great and good in their own right, there was a greater purpose for operation of miracles than simply doing these astounding works.
Miracles, to give them a better explanation, are the outpouring of the power of God to do something that man does not have the power or ability to do. This miracle Peter and John worked in the name of Jesus to heal the man crippled from birth was exactly such a thing. Let us now look at why the miracle was performed.
First we should note in verse 12, Peter gives all the glory for this miracle to God. He tells the people that it had nothing to do with anything Peter and John did but the miracle was done by God. He then convicts all of the people telling them that it was they who put to death the Author of Life, Jesus Christ, and that it was by faith in the power of Jesus name that had healed the man.
The purpose of the miracle was to bear witness and testimony to the words that Peter and John spoke to the people. This is the primary purpose of miracles. To show by such deeds that the message of these men is the truth of God.
We see at the end of the book of Mark that this would be how God would assist the spread of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Look at the words of Mark 16:19-20.
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
As the Apostles and prophets preached the word to the world, The Lord bore witness to the word of truth by the accompanying signs. In the preceding verses of Mark 16:17-18 we see some of the signs that Jesus said would be shown.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
All of these signs, including the miraculous signs still accompany those who believe today. Unfortunately many in the church do not accept that these things are still possible and available to the believers today. In the pulpits of some churches these things are rejected as being not for today or being only for the spread of the gospel in those early days.
This is not true. The gospel of truth has to be preached to the whole world before the return of The Lord. There are many gospels being taught today in the name of the lord, but not all of them are the gospel of truth. there can only be one truth, and when that is fully revealed, it will be spread to the whole world and miracles are certain to accompany it.
There will be a great invitation sent out to all of mankind as Jesus stated in one of his parables, (Luke 14:16-24) to call in all people from all walks of life. And in that parable we see that some of those who are already in the churches will be deemed not acceptable because they reject the truth.
We will see miracles again when the invitation goes out. We see miracles occur today and many Christians can attest to healings and supernatural protection and escape from disaster and so on that can only have been done by the hand of God. But when we see miracles on the scale that occurred in the preaching of the gospel in the first century AD, it will be to confirm the truth of the message being taught. It will be God showing what is truth and through the miracles He will be saying, “Listen!”
And what is the basis of these miracles? Exactly as Peter said all those years ago. Faith in the power of the name of Jesus Christ. For it is only by the power of the name of Jesus that we will receive salvation and be saved unto eternal life, and that is the greatest miracle of all.
(Image sourced from stock.xchng provided by Jesse Therrien)
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