Peter and John went up together - The words επι το αυτο, which we translate together, and which are the first words in this chapter in the Greek text, we have already seen, Acts 2:47, are added by several MSS. and versions to the last verse of the preceding chapter. But they do not make so good a sense there as they do here; and should be translated, not together, which really makes no sense here, but at that time; intimating that this transaction occurred nearly about the same time that those took place which are mentioned at the close of the former chapter.
At the hour of prayer - This, as is immediately added, was the ninth hour, which answers, in a general way, to our three o'clock in the afternoon. The third hour, which was the other grand time of public prayer among the Jews, answered, in a general way, to our nine in the morning. See the note on Acts 2:15.
It appears that there were three hours of the day destined by the Jews to public prayer; perhaps they are referred to by David, Psalm 55:17; : Evening and Morning, and at Noon, will I pray and cry aloud. There are three distinct times marked in the book of the Acts. The Third hour, Acts 2:15, answering, as we have already seen, to nearly our nine o'clock in the morning; the Sixth hour, Acts 10:9, answering to about twelve with us; and the Ninth hour, mentioned in this verse, and answering to our three in the afternoon.
The rabbins believed that Abraham instituted the time of morning prayer; Isaac, that at noon; and Jacob, that of the evening: for which they quote several scriptures, which have little reference to the subject in behalf of which they are produced. Others of the rabbins, particularly Tanchum, made a more natural division. Men should pray,
At each of these three times they required men to offer prayer to God; and I should be glad to know that every Christian in the universe observed the same rule: it is the most natural division of the day; and he who conscientiously observes these three stated times of prayer will infallibly grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Peter and John went up - In Luke 24:53, it is said that the apostles were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. From Acts 2:46, it is clear that all the disciples were accustomed daily to resort to the temple for devotion. Whether they joined in the sacrifices of the temple-service is not said; but the thing is not improbable. This was the place and the manner in which they and their fathers had worshipped. They came slowly to the conclusion that they were to leave the temple, and they would naturally resort there with their countrymen to worship the God of their fathers. In the previous chapter Acts 2:43 we are told in general that many wonders and signs were done by the hands of the apostles. From the many miracles which were performed, Luke selects one of which he gives a more full account, and especially as it gives him occasion to record another of the addresses of Peter to the Jews. An impostor would have been satisfied with the general statement that many miracles were performed. The sacred writers descend to particulars, and tell us where, and in relation to whom, they were performed. This is a proof that they were honest people, and did not intend to deceive.
Into the temple - Not into the edifice properly called the temple, but into the court of the temple, where prayer was accustomed to be made. See the notes on Matthew 21:12.
At the hour of prayer - The Jewish day was divided into twelve equal parts; of course, the ninth hour would be about three o‘clock p. m. This was the hour of evening prayer. Morning prayer was offered at nine o‘clock. Compare Psalm 55:17; Daniel 6:10.
With mighty power the disciples preached a crucified and risen Saviour. Signs and wonders were wrought by them in the name of Jesus; the sick were healed; and a man who had been lame from his birth was restored to perfect soundness and entered with Peter and John into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God in the sight of all the people. The news spread, and the people began to press around the disciples. Many ran together, greatly astonished at the cure that had been wrought. EW 192.1
When Jesus died, the priests thought that no more miracles would be performed among them, that the excitement would die out and the people would again turn to the traditions of men. But lo! right among them the disciples were working miracles, and the people were filled with amazement. Jesus had been crucified, and they wondered where His followers had obtained this power. When He was alive, they thought that He imparted power to them; but when He died, they expected the miracles to cease. Peter understood their perplexity and said to them, “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? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know.” EW 192.2Read in context »
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. AA 57.1Read in context »
A short time after the descent of the Holy Spirit, and immediately after a season of fervent prayer, Peter and John, going up to the temple to worship, saw a distressed and poverty-stricken cripple, forty years of age, who had known no other life than one of pain and infirmity. This unfortunate man had long desired to go to Jesus and be healed, but he was almost helpless, and was removed far from the scene of the Great Physician's labors. Finally his earnest pleadings induced some kind persons to bear him to the gate of the temple. But upon arriving there he discovered that the Healer, upon whom his hopes were centered, had been put to a cruel death. SR 248.1Read in context »
Their Saviour had been rejected and condemned, and nailed to the ignominious cross. The Jewish priests and rulers had declared, in scorn, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” But that cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The believers rallied; their hopelessness and conscious helplessness had left them. They were transformed in character, and united in the bonds of Christian love. Although without wealth, though counted by the world as mere ignorant fishermen, they were made, by the Holy Spirit, witnesses for Christ. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were the heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence and power that shook the world. TM 67.1
The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Acts give an account of their witnessing. Those who had rejected and crucified the Saviour expected to find His disciples discouraged, crestfallen, and ready to disown their Lord. With amazement they heard the clear, bold testimony given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The words and works of the disciples represented the words and works of their Teacher; and all who heard them said, They have learned of Jesus, they talk as He talked. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” TM 67.2
The chief priests and rulers thought themselves competent to decide what the apostles should do and teach. As they went forth preaching Jesus everywhere, the men who were worked by the Holy Spirit did many things that the Jews did not approve. There was danger that the ideas and doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute. The apostles were creating a wonderful excitement. The people were bringing their sick folk, and those that were vexed with unclean spirits, into the streets; crowds were collecting around them, and those that had been healed were shouting the praises of God and glorifying the name of Jesus, the very One whom the Jews had condemned, scorned, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. This Jesus was extolled above the priests and rulers. The apostles were even declaring that He had risen from the dead. The Jewish rulers decided that this work must and should be stopped, for it was proving them guilty of the blood of Jesus. They saw that converts to the faith were multiplying. “Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” TM 67.3Read in context »