Empowered for Service

Key Verse: “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
—Acts 4:13

Selected Scripture:
Acts 3:1-10; 4:1-4,13

THE APOSTLES, having been with Jesus at the time of his ascension, and later given the power of the Holy Spirit together with its miraculous gifts, had been sent forth as special representatives of the Lord, and teachers of the Truth to many new believers. Those believers, and others, who were witnesses of the great power given to the apostles were overwhelmed with the things that they said and did in the name of Jesus.

This lesson opens with Peter and John walking toward the Temple together at the hour of prayer. Outside one of the gates they found a man who had been lame and unable to walk since birth. He was begging for assistance from those who were passing him on their way into the Temple, and when he saw the two apostles he also asked them for charity. He was unprepared, however, for the miracle-working power that was about to be manifested on his behalf by these apostles.

“Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”—Acts 3:4-8

Many of the townspeople had recognized the young man as the one who was accustomed to regularly begging at the Temple’s gate called “Beautiful.” (vs. 2) They watched as he rose to his feet, walking and leaping before them. The onlookers were filled with wonder and amazement at the demonstration of Divine power working through Peter and John, and they crowded around the apostles and the man who had been healed. “When Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” (vs.12) Peter clearly acknowledged that it was God’s power at work in this miracle, and not their own.

The gift of healing, and other evidences of the Holy Spirit, were given to the apostles when the Early Church was being established. Jesus had died, was resurrected, had shown himself to his disciples, and ascended into the heavens. These special manifestations of Divine direction were given to emphasize that Jesus’ offering for sin had been accepted by his Heavenly Father, and that a new dispensation was beginning.

During the present Gospel Age, and since that early period, the Lord’s people have no longer received these special powers. Our spiritual relationship with God is one of faith in Jesus, and we receive spiritual understanding and guidance through the Word of Truth for our consecrated spiritual walk. The outward demonstrations of this power are no longer required.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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