Acts 3:7

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. Acts 3:7

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

Peter’s last words to the beggar on the street were, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” With that stated, it now says, “And he took him.” Peter, knowing that the man was crippled and did not have any experience at what it meant to rise in his own strength, was prepared to help him in his new walk of life. The word Luke uses, piazó, signifies “to squeeze.” In other words, Peter firmly seized his hand, demonstrating complete confidence in what was to occur.

In reaching out his hand, it was a sign to the man that he honestly believed the healing had been realized. It was also an encouragement to him to be confident as well. As a note of authenticity to what he is writing, Luke specifically next says, “by the right hand.”

In noting this, Luke is showing that he was fully aware of every detail and had carefully and meticulously investigated the account. As it was only Peter and John with the beggar, and yet by noting the right hand, it is seen that he went beyond the normal description of someone who would have been standing right there.

Most people would say, “Well, I grabbed him by the hand and raised him up.” Upon hearing that, the hearer would say, “Well, isn’t that amazing!” It appears that Luke, however, went a step further by specifically asking which hand he grabbed. Everything about the account is perfectly detailed to be that of an investigator who is determining the absolute accuracy and truth of what is being conveyed. Only after noting which hand, it then says, “and lifted him up.”

The man was probably so incredulous at what occurred that without Peter’s help, he might have spent a few minutes testing the waters before taking the plunge. But with Peter’s assistance, he was impelled to rise immediately and go all-in with utilizing his body in this new condition.

The words of the account so far are not unlike the manner in which Jesus treated others that He had healed. The account of the boy possessed by a demon in Mark 9 is given. After Jesus cast it out, he was so still that those around him thought he was dead. But Mark then records, “But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose” (Mark 9:27).

The care of the Healer for His patient is beautifully seen in Christ’s care of the boy. Peter learned from that and followed in like manner when he was given the power to perform his own healings. With this noted, Luke next records, “and immediately.”

There wasn’t any delay in what occurred. Peter spoke the words, reached out to take the man up, and with the instant power of the workings of God, there was a change in “his feet and ankle bones.”

In these words, the particular language of a physician is clearly evidenced. Luke’s knowledge of the human body led him to describe exactingly what occurred. So precise are his words that it is probable he personally interviewed the man who was healed. Peter and John probably would have said, “Well, he couldn’t walk, and then he could.” However, Luke not only describes what was wrong, but he uses specific terminology to report the change. It is something the beggar would probably have had to point at and say, “Well, it was this and this… these things that were healed.”

Both words are found only here in Scripture. The first is basis. It signifies “a pace.” It is the base step and thus, by implication the foot. It is the source of our modern word of the same spelling which came to us via Latin from the Greek, and it bears much the same sense. Vincent’s Word Studies describes its meaning –

“A peculiar, technical word, used by Luke only, and described by Galen as the part of the foot lying beneath the leg, upon which the leg directly rests, as distinguished from the ταρσὸς [tarsos], the flat of the foot between the toes and heel, and πεδίον [pedion], the part next the toes.”

The next word is sphudron. That is believed to be basically the same as the word sphaira, meaning a ball or sphere. As such, it signifies the ankle bone that is globular in nature. Luke’s medical knowledge of the event is carefully detailing the exact changes that took place in this man, crippled even from his mother’s womb.

With the description of the body parts complete, Luke then carefully notes that they “received strength.”

The Greek word is found only three times in Acts. The first two are in this account (3:7 & 3:16). The last is used when referring to the strengthening of the church in Acts 16:5. Paul uses the kindred noun in Colossians 2:5 when referring to the steadfastness of the Colossians’ faith in Christ. When used in medical language, it is especially applied to the bones.

Luke’s careful and thorough record of the events that took place gives us every reason to believe that the account took place, exactly as described.

Life application: When a person is given the gospel and he receives it, a complete change in that person occurs at that very moment. There is a new walk of life that is realized. But that person may not even notice the change has taken place. Yes, there was belief in what Christ did and the sealing of the Spirit. And yet, for each person who accepts the gospel, there will be a personal and individual reaction to it.

Because of this, it is incumbent on those who share the gospel to be willing to take them by the hand and help them stand on their new spiritual legs. At the same time, some people will simply spring up automatically and get going. But even this type may need assistance that he may not realize. Such a person can run ahead without knowledge and have a head-on crash in his theology.

If we are willing to share the gospel, we should also be willing to help those who receive it understand what to do with it. “Live for the Lord, read the word, grow in Christ, and walk as the Bible instructs us to.”

The more effort we put into those who receive the word, the better grounded they will be as they head into a church that is actually quite dysfunctional, filled with bad doctrine (or even heresy), and that is known to chew up and spit out those who are truly on fire for the new life they have come to know.

But there is another truth to convey. How grounded are we in our own walk? If we lead someone to Christ, and yet are not doing our own part to increase our spiritual maturity, we will be like a fish out of water trying to teach another fish out of water how to swim. Therefore, each of us needs to not only share the gospel, but to also be in the word, growing in it daily. May it be so, to the glory of God who first saved us so that we can then go out and tell others.

Lord God, help us to be responsible witnesses of Your wonderful gospel message and then help us to be reliable and responsible helpers to those who receive it. May it be so to Your glory. Amen.