The Gospels tell us that Jesus chose twelve disciples and sent them out to preach (Mark 3:14). This was not a temporary calling. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus confirmed it: “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
At Pentecost, Peter testified that God had made the crucified Jesus both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). As a result of Peter’s testimony and exhortation, about three thousand people were baptized. The growing church persevered in the doctrine of the apostles, in communion with one another, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers (vv. 40-42). Luke emphasized that the Lord added to the church (v. 47). The church bears witness, but the Lord adds.
In contrast to this story is the one following it. Peter and John went to the temple to pray but were intercepted at the gate by a man who asked them for money (3:1-5). We do not know his name, but we know his condition: He could not walk. He depended on others to live. Every day someone laid him at the gate. He did not enter but sat by the door asking for alms. In the first story, the Lord added to the church miraculously. In this one, a lame man sat at the door of the temple in need of a miracle. Through him, the Lord would continue to add to His church.
This man lay at the gate called Beautiful, but people didn’t see him. They knew of him and his condition, for he had been there many years. Even Peter and John were going straight past him into the temple. But the man begged them to give him something. He was not taken to the temple to receive something from God. His trust was not in the Lord but in the alms of men. The lame man was so close to the temple but so far from the Lord. But that day everything was going to change, not only for him but for all present.
Once the lame man spoke, Peter saw the opportunity to testify about Jesus. The man expected money, but Peter and John had none. They had something better: the Holy Spirit. And in the name of Jesus Christ, they commanded him to walk. His feet and ankles strengthened, the man stood and entered the temple for the first time, leaping and praising God, to the wonder of the onlookers (vv. 6-10).
Peter took advantage of that wonderful moment to testify to all who had witnessed the miracle: “Repent . . . and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (v. 19, NIV). That day the Lord continued to add to the church.
The lordship of Christ is central to witnessing the Word of God. In his two books, Luke uses the word Lord (Greek: kyrios) often — over two hundred times. Kyrios is the title used for God in the Old Testament, and it means “sovereign master.” In Acts we see its importance. The disciples recognized Jesus as Lord (1:6, 21). Whoever “calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (2:21, NIV). Stephen invoked the name of the Lord at his stoning (7:59). The Lord sent Ananias to recover Paul’s sight (9:27). And those who believed were “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (8:16; 10:48; 19:5).
Like Peter and John, we are called to be witnesses to Jesus and His lordship. God has also shown us His power. How many prayers has He answered, and how many miracles have we witnessed? Let that motivate us to preach the name of the Lord Jesus. Many people today are near temples but far from the Lord. Let our testimony give them the opportunity to believe and be healed.
May the Lord continue to add to the church those who must be saved for His glory and honor.