Many “miraculous signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:43). Here is one of them.
In such a dynamic book which shows the gospel “on the way,” it is ironic that the first sign should concern an immobile man. This man was obviously totally dependent, having to be carried to the Temple to beg. Another irony is that a man in such desperate need should be placed at the gate called Beautiful (v. 2). He was now over 40 years old (Acts 4:22) and he had been crippled since birth (v. 2). All the world could do for him was to throw a few coins his way. Peter and John, however, were clear that the church could do far more.
Peter has no coins to give him. Rather, he calls on him in the name
azareth to walk (v. 6). The response is instantaneous. It is not that he got better gradually; his feet and ankles immediately became strong so that he went “walking and jumping” (vv. 7–8 ). This is an incredible creation miracle, removing the cause of paralysis and bringing muscle to existence. Even the Sanhedrin could not deny the reality of “an outstanding miracle” (Acts 4:16).
It is clear that just as God had accredited Jesus by miracles and signs (Acts 2:22) so He is now accrediting the apostles, and therefore their message, in the same way (Acts 14:3). Periods of fresh revelation in Scripture are always accompanied by authenticating signs.
The crowd is “filled with wonder and amazement” (v. 10). Peter takes the opportunity afforded by the gathering of a crowd to preach the gospel to them. The church is mandated to preach the gospel. The sign both draws a crowd to hear the gospel and authenticates the message.
Peter, the source of Mark’s Gospel, would have remembered Jesus’ words from Mark 1:38 when the crowd was looking for Him to heal, that He had come to preach: “That is why I have come.” The healing of the man was a means of solving his deeper need as well as that of the crowd—to become eternally healthy.
In what ways is the beggar’s physical experience symbolic of our spiritual experience? Is there ground here to think that the church’s mandate is to preach and physically heal?