Bullet Point Bible Study - Acts 3

Bullet Point Bible Study: Acts 3

Posted on Posted in Bullet Point Bible Study


My goal for these Bible studies is simple: help people make sense of the Bible and apply it to their lives, one chapter at a time.


Couples who are preparing for the birth of a child will often discuss different names together. They might keep a list of names, one list for a boy and another list for a girl. They might even say the names out loud, paying attention to how they sound. Many soon-to-be parents also think about what different names mean. We go through all of this because we recognize that names are an important part of a person’s identity.

Names were also significant in the ancient world. In those days, a person’s name often signified parental aspirations for the child or called out one of the child’s personal characteristics. For example, Jesus’ name is a Latinized form of the Hebrew name Joshua (Yeshua), which means “Yahweh saves.” From the beginning, Jesus was destined to be an agent of salvation for God’s people.

In this chapter, Peter invokes Jesus’ name and people are amazed at what happens. And that leads to the first bullet point that I want you to see:

• There is power in the name of Jesus.

The Christian believers are still involved with the customs of their Jewish faith. The future split between the two groups has not yet happened at this point, though its beginning can be sensed. Peter and John go to the Temple in Jerusalem to participate in the afternoon prayer service, but they encounter a man who has been crippled since birth.

The crippled man asks for money, but the apostles have none. It’s likely that they had given what they had to the newly formed community that was mentioned in chapter 2. Peter notices something in the man’s eyes. Perhaps it’s a spark of faith. We don’t know exactly because the text doesn’t say, but Peter and John “looked at him intently” and told the man to look at them (v. 4).

Peter says, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” (v. 6). One scholar notes that Peter’s invocation of Jesus’ name carries power “because they are words of profound confidence in the present authority of Jesus to heal the lame and save the lost” (Robert W. Wall, “Acts,” NIB, vol. X, p. 84).

The man immediately stood to his feet and started “walking, leaping, and praising God.” (v. 8). The mention of leaping is likely a deliberate echo of Isaiah 35:6 which said, “The lame shall leap like a deer” in the time of Israel’s renewal. The point is clear: The time of Israel’s renewal has arrived. Similar to the situation at Pentecost, when the crowds see what is happening, they’re astounded and amazed.

Think about it:
When was the last time you spoke the name of Jesus out loud to someone else?


• There is healing in the name of Jesus.

Also similar to Pentecost, Peter addresses the crowd. He doesn’t want anyone to think that he has healing powers himself. It was God’s power – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Israel’s covenant God – working through him to heal the man and, in the process, bring glory to Jesus (v. 13).

He says that the authorities rejected Jesus, and in so doing, they took the life of the giver of life (vv. 14-15). But God couldn’t let that verdict stand. He overturned it on Easter morning. The resurrection of Jesus “was the final proof that behind him there was God and therefore a power which nothing could stop” (William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, rev. ed., DSB, p. 34). This is the fact to which Peter bore witness.

The next verse makes clear that the name of Jesus, while powerful, is not magical. It must be met by a person’s genuine faith. In this case, the man’s faith in Jesus’ name is what activated its power and effected the healing, which, in the original Greek text, is said to have made the man strong and completely whole.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, healing is used as a metaphor for salvation (1 Peter 2:24). Because of that, it’s possible to put ourselves in the place of the lame man in this episode. His physical healing matches our spiritual healing in that both happen by Jesus’ power, under Jesus’ authority, and in Jesus’ name.

Think about it:
In which part of your life do you need Jesus to bring healing?


• There is hope in the name of Jesus.

Even though it was unbelievable to many Jews, the messiah’s suffering was foretold by the prophets in the Scriptures (v. 18). For early Christians, Isaiah 53 played an important role in establishing this connection. There, it is said that God’s servant will be despised and rejected by the same people whose sins he carried. About him, Isaiah says, “He was beaten so we could be whole” (53:5).

Peter insists that Isaiah’s depiction was only the shadow; Jesus was the reality. Therefore, now is the time for Israel to repent – to turn from sin to God – and have their sins (even this sin) wiped away (v. 19).

And now that the Messianic age has started, the Holy Spirit is already refreshing people in the present time in anticipation for the climactic day when Jesus returns. On that day, all things will be fully and finally restored (vv. 20-21).

So, there’s a reason for hope because God has kept his promises (v. 25). God told Abraham in Genesis 12 that his descendants would bless all the families on earth, and God hasn’t forgotten or broken that promise. God made good on that promise and renewed it in Jesus’ resurrection (v. 26), and God’s purpose will prevail in the end.

Think about it:
How does God’s promised future affect how you live in the present?


Recap

So, to recap, here are the bullet points from Acts chapter 3:
• There is power in the name of Jesus.
• There is healing in the name of Jesus.
• There is hope in the name of Jesus.

Which of these points is the most important for you to remember today?

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Trevor Hamaker (DMin, McAfee School of Theology) is an author, adjunct professor, and youth ministry coach. He helps youth pastors see their potential, develop their skills, and reach their goals.

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