it was unexpected
And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you; (3:4–6a)
In response to the beggar’s cries for alms, Peter and John fixed their gaze upon him. Atenizō (fixed his gaze upon) is the same word used in 1:10 to describe the apostles’ intense gaze at the ascending Lord. The two apostles focused their attention on the unhappy cripple, commanding him, “Look at us!” With eager anticipation, the beggar began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. He was expecting, of course, to receive money. Peter’s reply, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you,” was totally unexpected. The beggar no doubt wondered what these men could give him that would be more valuable than money. He was soon to find out.
Like all of God’s works, this miracle was based on God’s sovereign will. There were hundreds of other beggars in Jerusalem, many of them undoubtedly crippled as well. But it was this man that God sovereignly chose to receive healing. Expecting only some money to help momentarily ease his desperate situation, the beggar instead received far more than he would have ever dreamed possible.
it was done in the name of jesus christ
In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk! (3:6b)
The beggar had little reason to believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus had not changed his plight, and He had been executed as a blasphemer. He therefore must have found Peter’s use of His name perplexing. In the name of means by virtue of Christ’s character, authority, and power. As noted in the discussion of Acts 2:22 in chapter 5, Jesus Christ the Nazarene was the common designation of our Lord during His earthly ministry. It describes Him as Jesus, the Messiah from Nazareth. To do something in the name of Jesus Christ is to act consistent with His will; to do what He would do if He were here, to act in His authority and with His delegated power. Peter had seen the Lord heal countless times. Now, acting on behalf of His Lord with the power delegated to him (cf. Matt. 10:1), he commands the beggar to walk.
4–6 In response to the beggar’s request for money, Peter fixed his eyes on him and said, “Look at us!” Thinking he had a benefactor, the beggar looked up expectantly. To his astonishment he heard the words, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” In Semitic thought a name does not just identify or distinguish a person; it expresses the very nature of his being. Hence the power of the person is present and available in the name of that person. Peter, therefore, does not just ask the risen Jesus to heal the crippled beggar but pronounces over him the name of Jesus, thereby releasing the power of Jesus (cf. 3:16; 4:10). And the power of the risen Jesus, coupled with the man’s response of faith (cf. 3:16), effects the healing.
3:6. What a stunning and eloquent statement from this former fisherman. In seconds the beggar must have gone from disappointment at hearing about Peter’s financial condition to disbelief when told to walk. In his many years at that spot he had heard countless people claim their own poverty as an excuse for passing his bowl. No one had ever said anything like this. What a dramatic call to action this verse gives us—what I have I give you.
A missionary asks for support during the annual missionary conference, but our budgets simply cannot tolerate another five or ten dollars a month. What can we give? Can we pray? Can we write? Can we encourage and affirm, even during that week? Can we invite this missionary or someone during next year’s conference into our homes? God never asks us to give what we don’t have; he expects us to give to those in need from what he has given us, and always to do it in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Within moments Peter will preach about this name, but here it becomes the power, the leverage for the first of three healings of cripples in Acts (9:32; 14:8). Longenecker reminds us:
In Semitic thought, a name does not just identify or distinguish a person; it expresses the very nature of his being. Hence the power of the person is present and available in the name of the person. Peter, therefore, does not just ask the risen Jesus to heal but pronounces over the crippled beggar the name of Jesus, thereby releasing the power of Jesus, compare 3:16; 4:10 (Longenecker, 294).
6. But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Peter continues to be the spokesman as John remains silent. And while the beggar eagerly waits to receive something, Peter says, “Silver and gold I do not have.” That is, among my possessions I have no money. The money from the people who sold lands and valuables did not belong to Peter (refer to 2:44–45; 4:34–35; 5:1–2). In the service of Jesus, Peter was not a rich man (see Matt. 10:9–10). He lived by the Lord’s command that “those who proclaim the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).
What Peter gives to the crippled beggar is of far greater value to him than any amount of silver and gold. Peter heals him in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and tells him to walk. For forty years this man had been immobile and now he is about to use his legs. Peter calls upon the name of Jesus to show him that the healing power of Jesus, known to all the people in Israel, flows through the apostle to the crippled man. Therefore not Peter but Jesus grants restoration.
The term name is significant because it comprises the full revelation of the person mentioned. Hence, the name Jesus refers to his birth, ministry, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension. Next, the name Christ points to the Messiah, who is the exalted Son of God. Also, the place name Nazareth is added for further identification; this was the name Pilate had written on the sign attached to Jesus’ cross (John 19:19). And last, the phrase name of Jesus (Christ) occurs repeatedly in Acts.
Healing in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth calls for faith on the part of the invalid. Peter commands him to walk, but the crippled man can walk only if he puts his faith in Jesus. The New Testament teaches that miracles occur in connection with faith.