On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with a brand new power by way of a brand new Spirit; the Holy Spirit who had come to dwell in them. Peter followed the dramatic arrival of the Spirit with a powerful sermon in Acts chapter 2 that God used to immediately add three thousand people to His family.
This manifestation of God’s incredible power continues throughout the book of Acts. The next chapter, following Peter’s sermon, starts with this story, “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, ‘Look at us!’ And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!’ And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:1-8).
Wow, this power of healing sounds familiar and mirrors so many of Jesus’ miracles. Why? Because it is the power of Jesus that Peter and John carried. As the people looked on in awe, Peter explained where the power came from.
“While he [the man who was healed] was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, ‘Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?’ … ‘On the basis of faith in Jesus’ name, the name of Jesus has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all’ “ (Acts 3:11-12,16).
This is the same power we saw throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth. Luke summarized it this way, “And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all” (Luke 6:19).
Luke followed this with a specific story of Jesus’ miracle working power. “And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, ‘Who is the one who touched Me?’ And while they were all denying it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.’ When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace’ “ (Luke 8:43-48). Jesus’ power and her faith made her well.
Now come back to Acts chapter 3. As a result of the miraculous filling of the Holy Spirit, the power of God is on display in the lives and work of His disciples. There are many more outpourings of God’s power through the disciples in the book of Acts. We will talk about one of those next time; an often overlooked but dramatic turn in the apostles’ ministry.