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Scripture Story: Acts 3; 4:1-31.

Commentary: The Acts of the Apostles (or Unlikely Leaders), chapter 6.

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keytext

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13, NKJV)

flashlight

“After the Savior’s ascension, the sense of the divine presence, full of love and light, was still with them. It was a personal presence. Jesus, the Savior, who had walked and talked and prayed with them, who had spoken hope and comfort to their hearts, had, while the message of peace was upon His lips, been taken from them into heaven. As the chariot of angels received Him, His words had come to them, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end.’ Matthew 28:20. . . . Their union with Him was stronger now than when He was with them in person. The light and love and power of an indwelling Christ shone out through them, so that men, beholding, marveled” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 65).

what do you think?

Number the following methods of sharing Christ from least effective (1) to most effective (10).
Preaching on a busy street corner
Going door to door with a survey about spiritual matters
Inviting a friend to church
Living a good life through example
Going on a mission trip
Wearing clothes that display a Christian message
Bringing a friend to church
Giving a speech in class about my faith
Hanging out with friends who are spiritual
Handing out gospel pamphlets

did you know?

As the priests listened to the apostles’ fearless words, ‘they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.’ “Of the disciples after the transfiguration of Christ it is written that at the close of that wonderful scene ‘they saw no man, save Jesus only.’ Matthew 17:8. ‘Jesus only’—in these words is contained the secret of the life and power that marked the history of the early church. When the disciples first heard the words of Christ, they felt their need of Him. They sought, they found, they followed Him” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 64).

INTO THE STORY

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”

“The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

(Acts 3:1-10; 4:5-13, NIV)

OUT OF THE STORY

Read the passages in the Into the Story section and answer the following questions:

Acts 3:1-10
When is the last time you jumped for joy, praising God? What happened?

Why do you think Peter emphasized that the man was healed in the “name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth”?

What kind of witness do you suppose this crippled man was for Jesus? Is your testimony about what Jesus has done in your life just as powerful? Why or why not?

Acts 4:5-13
Review the roles that the priests, the captain of the Temple, the Sadducees, and the Sanhedrin played before in the story of Jesus (see Luke 22:1-6, 47-71; John 18). Why would this healing disturb them?

Compare the question in verse 7 to the question asked in Luke 20:2. Why is this an important question to the Jewish leaders?

In what way does Peter’s answer fulfill Jesus’ words in Luke 21:12-15?

Write a paraphrase of Acts 4:13.

punch lines

“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he’” (Isaiah 43:10, NIV).

“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown” (Revelation 2:10, NIV).

“When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies” (Jeremiah 15:16, NLT).

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11, NIV).

“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people’” (Mark 1:17, NIV).

further insight

“The disciples of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His exhaustless wealth. Thus strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not to press forward in the service of the Master.” — Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 57

connectingtolife

Sabbath

Read Isaiah 43:10.

Survey some of the members in your church and ask them how they came to faith. Look for a consistent theme in the stories. Did they come to know Christ through the influence of a friend? family member? pastor? teacher? evangelist? What was it about the witness that was effective?

Further reflect on your own spiritual story. Who has been a witness for Christ in your life? What methods of evangelism do you respond to best? Why?

Sunday

Read Mark 1:17.

Read the sections Into the Story and Out of the Story. Think about two key verses in the Bible reading and consider the questions that follow:

“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.”

  • Do you find it easier to offer God money or yourself? Why?
  • What is it that you can offer to friends who may be spiritually crippled?
  • Would Peter’s witness have been as effective without this healing? Explain. In what ways can serving others enhance evangelism today?

“They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

  • Who comes to mind when you think of someone who spends a lot of time with Jesus?
  • Ask yourself: How does spending time with Jesus change me?
  • True or false: If you spend time with Jesus you can’t help witnessing to others. Explain your answer.

Monday

Read Acts 4:13.

In referencing the Key Text, Ellen White comments: “‘they saw no man, save Jesus only.’ Matthew 17:8. ‘Jesus only’—in these words is contained the secret of the life and power that marked the history of the early church” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 64).

Is the same “life and power” of Peter and John available to us today? How might we access that power? Should we expect, then, to heal the lame like the apostles did in the early church? If we fail to perform such miracles are we then not connected to Jesus? Explain.

Tuesday

Read Jeremiah 15:16.

Read this week’s Flashlight and the passages found in the Did You Know? section Compile a list of specific ways you can live by the mantra “Jesus only.”

Wednesday

Read the verses in Punch Lines. Choose one that speaks pointedly to your life today. Why does this text stand out to you now? Think about how you can put that text into practice today.

Thursday

Read Colossians 3:11.

How does a personal encounter with Christ at Calvary affect how you will live today?

Friday

Read Revelation 2:10.

Ellen White offers insight on the conversion of Peter.

“On the day following the healing of the cripple, Annas and Caiaphas, with the other dignitaries of the temple, met together for the trial, and the prisoners were brought before them. In that very room and before some of those very men, Peter had shamefully denied his Lord. This came distinctly to his mind as he appeared for his own trial. He now had an opportunity of redeeming his cowardice.

“Those present who remembered the part that Peter had acted at the trial of his Master, flattered themselves that he could now be intimidated by the threat of imprisonment and death. But the Peter who denied Christ in the hour of His greatest need was impulsive and self-confident, differing widely from the Peter who was brought before the Sanhedrin for examination. Since his fall he had been converted. He was no longer proud and boastful, but modest and self-distrustful. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and by the help of this power he was resolved to remove the stain of his apostasy by honoring the name he had once disowned” (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 62, 63).

What will it take for God to shape you into a bold witness for Him—just as He did for Peter?

Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

this week’s reading*

The Acts of the Apostles (or Unlikely Leaders), chapter 6.

*Unlikely Leaders is a special adaptation of The Acts of the Apostles created for you by the Ellen G. White Estate and Pacific Press. Get more information about it at http://www.cornerstoneconnections.net/article/191/about-us/conflict-of-the-ages-companion-books#.URlhF1rBO9s. By following the weekly reading plan, you will read at least one book of the Conflict of the Ages Series each year.