IN JESUS’ NAME [ACTS 3:1-10]
THE healing of the lame man at the temple is the first miracle Luke recounts which the apostles performed in Jesus’ name. This miracle – along with all the others we will read about – shows the fulfillment of Peter’s words at Pentecost, that signs and wonders would accompany the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:19). The crowd, unaware of the true source of this power, focused their awe on the human healers. But Luke emphasized the fact that this miracle was the work of God, who used Peter and John as His instruments.
In faith, the apostles prayed in Jesus’ name, asking the Father to heal the lame man. This healing did not occur through the manipulation of a god obligated to men, nor was it accomplished through the strength of Peter’s piety. Rather, Peter, a forgiven sinner (Luke 5:8), called upon the power of Jesus’ name to heal according to the will of God. Because they were accomplished through the name of Jesus, the signs and wonders that accompanied the apostles pointed the Jews beyond the apostles to Jesus Himself.
Any faithful Jew would have known the promises God made through His prophets, promises of healing and restoration which would occur at a future time of blessing and anointing (Isaiah 35:5-6; Zephaniah 3:19). They would have recognized a work done “in the name” of Jesus as a sign that God was at work in Him. Though many rejected Jesus, this miracle demonstrated that the Father favored Him and raised Him from the dead. Now that the apostles had drawn the crowd’s attention, they were able to preach the full truth about Jesus, inviting them to embrace the One who had done such a marvelous work.
In the book of Acts, Luke focuses on the God who heals, not on those who pray for healing. God still works through His people to heal the sick. When we pray in Jesus’ name we are professing our belief that He is God, and that He has the power and authority to heal the sick and bring life to all.
Jakarta, 23 April 2014
A Christian Pilgrim