Posted by: Heather | April 24, 2009

Location, Location, Location

We made an interesting discovery when studying Acts 3 last night in our home Bible study.

First, let me summarize the story. Peter and John are entering the Temple. There is a man who is about 40 years of age there who has been lame from birth. He is begging at or near the Temple, and apparently is known by those who frequent the Temple. As they pass him, Peter looks at him and gets his attention by saying, “Look at us!” The man thinks Peter and John are going to give him alms, but Peter says they have no money. However, Peter tells him they will give him what they have. He then says, “In the name of Jesus Christ, get up and walk!” The man gets up immediately, and begins walking, leaping, dancing, and praising God. This happens in a place called Solomon’s porch in the Temple. This causes quite a stir, and people begin to watch Peter and John. Peter makes it clear that they did not do it with their own power, but through the Power of the Name of Jesus Christ. He then preaches this sermon:

Acts 3:12-26
(12) When Peter saw this, he said to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed about this man? Why are you staring at us as though we have made him walk by our own power or godly life?
(13) The God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed Jesus over to Pilate. You rejected him in Pilate’s presence, even though Pilate had decided to let him go free.
(14) You rejected the man who was holy and innocent. You asked to have a murderer given to you,
(15) and you killed the source of life. But God brought him back to life, and we are witnesses to that.
(16) We believe in the one named Jesus. Through his power alone this man, whom you know, was healed, as all of you saw.
(17) “And now, brothers, I know that like your rulers you didn’t know what you were doing.
(18) But in this way God made the sufferings of his Messiah come true. God had predicted these sufferings through all the prophets.
(19) So change the way you think and act, and turn to God to have your sins removed.
(20) Then times will come when the Lord will refresh you. He will send you Jesus, whom he has appointed to be the Christ.
(21) Heaven must receive Jesus until the time when everything will be restored as God promised through his holy prophets long ago.
(22) “Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will send you a prophet, an Israelite like me. Listen to everything he tells you.
(23) Those who won’t listen to that prophet will be excluded from the people.’
(24) Samuel and all the prophets who followed him spoke about these days.
(25) You are the descendants of the prophets and the heirs of the promise that God made to our ancestors when he said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendant all people on earth will be blessed.’
(26) God has brought his servant back to life and has sent him to you first. God did this to bless you by turning every one of you from your evil ways.”

Now we knew we had heard of Solomon’s Porch before, so we began to look for previous references to it. Guess what we found! John chapter 10 takes place at Solomon’s Porch. This is the passage about the Good Shepherd. Listen to what Jesus said in this context. (approximately 6 months previous to Acts 3)

John 10:17-18
(17) The Father loves me because I give my life in order to take it back again.
(18) No one takes my life from me. I give my life of my own free will. I have the authority to give my life, and I have the authority to take my life back again. This is what my Father ordered me to do.”

Look again at what Peter said Jesus had predicted:

(13) The God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed Jesus over to Pilate. You rejected him in Pilate’s presence, even though Pilate had decided to let him go free.
(14) You rejected the man who was holy and innocent. You asked to have a murderer given to you,
(15) and you killed the source of life. But God brought him back to life, (emphasis added) and we are witnesses to that.
(16) We believe in the one named Jesus. Through his power alone this man, whom you know, was healed, as all of you saw.

Now Peter tells them that Moses told them God would send a prophet like him, and that Jesus was the fulfillment of this prophecy. (verse 22) When he said this he was quoting this text:

Deuteronomy 18:15-22
(15) The LORD your God will send you a prophet, an Israelite like me. You must listen to him.
(16) This is what you asked the LORD your God to give you on the day of the assembly at Mount Horeb (another name for Sinai). You said, “We never want to hear the voice of the LORD our God or see this raging fire again. If we do, we’ll die!”
(17) The LORD told me, “What they’ve said is good.
(18) So I will send them a prophet, an Israelite like you. I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.
(19) Whoever refuses to listen to the words that prophet speaks in my name will answer to me.
(20) But any prophet who dares to say something in my name that I didn’t command him to say or who speaks in the name of other gods must die.”
(21) You may be wondering, “How can we recognize that the LORD didn’t speak this message?”
(22) If a prophet speaks in the LORD’S name and what he says doesn’t happen or come true, then it didn’t come from the LORD. That prophet has spoken on his own authority. Never be afraid of him.

He told them that they were right to fear God at Sinai, they did indeed need a go-between (of which Moses was a type or shadow). God said this Prophet would speak God’s words and that they must listen to Him. They might wonder how to recognize Him. What He predicts will come true.

Peter says this from Solomon’s Porch, the exact location where Jesus had said: “I have the authority to give my life, and I have the authority to take my life back again. This is what my Father ordered me to do.”

Many of those present had been there to hear what Jesus had said, only about 6 months previous. Many of those also had been there about 2 months earlier crying “Crucify him!” Peter said to these people:
“(14) You rejected the man who was holy and innocent. You asked to have a murderer given to you,
(15) and you killed the source of life. But God brought him back to life, and we are witnesses to that.”

About 2000 men believed that day. Makes a little bit more sense now.

Sends chills up my spine, how about you?

Craig

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Responses

  1. I found the significance of the location to be quite eye-opening.

    God is very deliberate in what He allows/causes to happen, and I am learning to think twice before saying that something is a “coincidence”, or accident.
    Heather

  2. That is an interesting observation! Thanks Craig!


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