Acts 3:8

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. Acts 3:8

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Peter took the beggar by the right hand and lifted him up. As he did this, the feet and bones were healed, and they received strength. With this done, Luke’s words follow with the delight of the moment, saying, “So he, leaping up.”

Luke is referring to the beggar using a word found only here in Scripture exallomai. It is a compound verb signifying “out” and “springing up.” Hence, “leaping up” or “leaping forth” gives the sense. Vincent’s Word Studies notes of this word –

“Used in medical language of the sudden starting of a bone from the socket, of starting from sleep, or of the sudden bound of the pulse.”

Again, Luke’s knowledge of medical terminology defines the action in a technical sense. Peter lifted him up and then he simply leaped forth in incredulity, joy, or maybe sheer amazement. A form of the word is found in Isaiah 35, and it beautifully resembles what occurred at this moment –

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing.” Isaiah 35:5, 6

From there, it says he “stood and walked.” The first verb is aorist while the second is imperfect. The man stood and then he began walking. One gets the heightened sense of a person who has never done so in his life. He probably stood looking down at his strengthened legs – no longer twisted, wasted away, and useless – and then he… took a step, and then another, and then another.

His heart is racing, his blood is pulsing, his mind is considering the moment and everything that it signifies. Ten thousand thoughts of the past, of the present moment, and what the future held filled his mind. He continued walking… “and entered the temple.”

The man had been brought by others to the Beautiful gate, set down, and stayed in the same spot all day, day after day. Now, instead of remaining outside of the temple of the Lord, he could – under his own power – enter into the complex. The moment would have had a sense of absolute amazement attached to it.

As he walked over mosaics, walked past huge cut blocks, and passed by intricately carved columns and pillars, they would have looked new and vibrant to him. Everything would be seen from a new perspective because he would have to watch for obstacles as they came near. A lame man would have no need of such observances. Luke records next that the now-healed beggar wasn’t alone, but he entered the temple “with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.”

The Greek includes “and” with each verb. He was “walking, and leaping, and praising.” Each is set off as an individual occurrence which together formed the first moment of a man restored to normalcy after over forty years of being lame, even from birth. In this state, Peter and John would have shared in the delight of the man’s exuberance.

The entire scene is alive with excitement, and the most poignant part of it all is that he was there in the temple “praising God.” As will be noted, the leaders will acknowledge that this could only have been a miracle, meaning an act of God –

“But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.” Acts 4:15, 16

The man himself, more than any other, knew this to be the case. What occurred was personal and life changing. As such, he stood, walked, and leaped before God, praising Him for what had occurred.

Life application: What is it that we praise God for? Generally, we praise God when good things happen to us or to those we love. When things don’t go so well in life, we often exclude praises. However, we may start praying more. Why is it that we praise God when things are going well, and pray to Him when they aren’t?

Rather, we should do both at all times. Even in our affliction, we can find a reason to bless His name and praise Him. Job, a man “blameless and upright” was noted as such because this was his nature. In the time of his greatest affliction, he said –

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

Let us endeavor to not use God when we need Him and then ignore Him when we don’t. Instead, may our life attitude be to praise Him through our storms, and to pray to Him, even when we don’t have any pressing needs in our lives. He is worthy of our attention and our devotion at all times. And so may we give this to Him always.

Lord God, great are You and You are greatly to be praised! Amen.