PETER’S POWER AND HOLINESS
Acts 3:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
The words of the Lord revealed by the Holy Spirit have great personal effect upon the person of the prophets, apostles and preachers. Jeremiah was greatly moved by God’s word in regards to the false prophets in his day. Jeremiah 23:9 Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.
And also their personal experiences, ordained by the Lord for the shaping of their mind and heart enter into the ‘personality’ of the word that the Lord has them preach. He ‘taylor makes’ the effect of the preached word by the prescribed path of His servants. The prophet David writes of this matter in one of his psalms. Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
And this was none the less true with the Apostle Peter. For the Lord told him that he was destined to be sifted by Satan himself, before he would be allowed to strengthen thy brethren! Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Let us see some of Peter’s personal perceptions as he was moulded by providences for the church’s benefit from his ministry.
Consider the first five words of verse twelve, listed above. And when Peter saw it,… These words do not seem to be of great importance upon a casual reading of them. But let us recall the words of verse four of this chapter, And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. These are significant words as it is the instant that the Holy Spirit first gave Peter, with John, an awareness that God had an interest in this lame man’s situation. Peter, with John, both had their eyes fastened on this man by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and immediately gave the command for him to Look on us!
For the working of the Spirit would begin its accomplishment through a look. Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Therefore now our words of verse twelve, And when Peter saw it, coupled with his questioning words of this same verse, are of significant importance! For in recording Peter’s questions, the Spirit uses the exact same Greek word for our focus upon the problem with the crowd on Solomon’s porch as he did in verse four. Therefore when Peter saw it, that is, that the crowd was focused intensely upon himself and John, in the manner as the Holy Spirit had fastened their eyes upon the lame man, he begins to rebuke them and to turn their attention to the Lord Jesus. For the words, fastening his eyes in verse four are the same Greek word look ye … earnestly in verse twelve. Peter would not have them look as earnestly upon him, for that which he, of his own power or holiness did not accomplish, as the Holy Spirit had himself and John look upon the lame man, for that which the Spirit did accomplish!
But what is so important about Peter seeing them wrongfully staring at him and John? It comes, not only from the Spirit’s inner workings of Peter’s heart at that moment, wanting to divert idolatrous creature worship, (as did Paul in Acts fourteen after the Lord healed another man lame from his mother’s womb), but from an experience he previously had that would effect his preaching throughout his life!
Luke 22:61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. The piercing gaze of the Incarnate eyes of Lord Christ in the very midst of his accomplishing redemption for man, and satisfaction for his Father (Isaiah 53:11), brought the mighty pride of Peter crashing down. And Peter never forgot that look!
And it was that look from the eyes as a flame of fire (Rev. 1:14), that pierced into the soul of this apostle, along with the intercession of the Mediator, as he was being sifted, that only made the difference between his and Judas’ denial and betrayal! He would thereafter always direct the eyes of himself and others to the precious Lamb of God! Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For in aiding others concerning spiritual development, one is to “consider himself!” For he is, in doing so, not only to help bear the other’s burden, but he is to bear his own burden in becoming refreshed with a consciousness of his own sin! Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
Silver and Gold – The lame man only asked an alms to make him more comfortable in his lame condition. He never had the slightest thought of being raised above that condition! For no sinner ever wants a new heart until after he is given one! Therefore Peter had to give him that which he didn’t have, in order for the man to receive that for which he did not ask! In response to the lame man’s request, Peter replied, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And that personal experience of Peter’s faith in this situation came to be part of our bibles! Listen at Peter’s writings to all, who by natural birth cannot walk properly before God!
1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Here again the Apostle Peter is instructing those who wish to walk properly before God to turn from the literal and seek the spiritual! Galations 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Denied – You would think that if ever there was a word that Peter would shy away from, it would be the word, denied! But his experience in denial made him quick to recognize theirs. As it is said, “It takes one to know one!” The Apostle Paul writes of this in his letter to the Corinthians. 2 Cor. 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
And in Peter’s immediate message to these seeking to involve him in hero worship he mentions this word twice! Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
Peter goes back to the root of their problem – the denial of the Lord Jesus! For one must be in right relationship with Christ in order to be in right relationship with anyone else. So the cause of their wanting to worship Peter and John was their lack of worship of Christ! (This is the source of all false religion!) And he knew this by bitter, personal experience! Matthew 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Repent – Peter also preaches repentance to them. Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; This also was not just the sounding forth of theology! – although it is good theology! But this too came from a personal experience of Peter. For we see the record quoted in the previous paragraph that Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Remember that not only did our Lord instruct Peter that he would be sifted by Satan, but that he would not be usable for the strengthening of the church without a conversion! Luke 22:32 … and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Like the high priest, the true, called of God preacher is a sinner taken from among sinners, who is granted faith and repentance in order that he may effectually preach effectually from his own experience. Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
The Stone – Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. This is part of a message from Peter to the Jews who had them thrown in jail overnight after the healing of the lame man. And you will notice that he does not say, “the builders,” but you builders! He is very pointed with his messages concerning sin. One of the reasons we are in such terrible condition in the American church today is that “preachers” are not making application of the word. They are just reading their editorials and giving their biblical history lessons from the pulpit. So none are laying it to heart! The local sports teams have a greater affect upon religionists in our day than does the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Having had the Holy Spirit deal through him in this providential way, he later comes to write from this experience in his first epistle. Read 1 Peter 2:4-8 and see the benefit of his instruction derived from this situation.
And the times of refreshing did come to Peter. For our Lord spoke very pointedly and directly to him after his resurrection. He instructed him to express his love for the Lord, regarding all the Lord’s goodness to him by devoting his life to feeding the Lord’s sheep and lambs. (See John 21:16-17).
And from this experience we read of that principle of faith in his writings. His suffering of shame and humiliation made him quite a different servant of the Lord. But once these afflictions had their perfect work developing his patience and destroying his inordinate affections, he was stablished and strengthened. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Pastor Gene Breed