Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

This rather brief post is actually on verses 11-21.

11. And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran to them to the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

As he held Peter and John; i.e., clung to their hands or garments, out of gratitude for his cure, and fearing perhaps a return of the malady should he let them depart.  “Solomon’s porch” was a colonnade, or covered passage, on the eastern side of the Temple enclosure. Here the people were gathered who had witnessed the miracle.

12. But Peter seeing, made answer to the people: Ye men of Israel, why wonder you at this? or why look you upon us, as if by our strength or power we had made this man to walk?
13. The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released.
14. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you.

Made answer is a Hebraism for, “began to speak.” In this discourse Peter at first makes it clear to the people that the Apostles were nothing more than instruments in the hands of God, that God was the real author of this miracle, and that by working the prodigy the God of their fathers had glorified His Son Jesus, whom the Jews had crucified. In the present discourse Peter speaks more freely, upbraids the Jews more bitterly, and manifests the nature and office of Christ, the Messiah and Son of God, more clearly than he thought it prudent to do in his first discourse.

15. But the author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.

The author of life; i.e., the principle and cause of all life, natural and supernatural. God hath raised, etc. The Apostles always appealed to the Resurrection as the great argument for Christ’s divinity.

16. And in the faith of his name, this man, whom you have seen and known, hath his name strengthened ; and the faith which is by him, hath given this perfect soundness in the sight of you all.

It was the power resident in the name of Christ, combined with faith in that power on the part of those who were the instruments of the miracle, which cured the lame man. Christ was the principal cause of the miracle, but the faith of Peter, if not also of the sick man, was the necessary condition of the cure.

17. And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers.
18. But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

After severe reproval of them Peter tries to excuse the Jews, and even their rulers, for the crime they had committed in putting Christ to death. Our Lord Himself had said, ” they know not what they do ” (Luke 23:34). But Peter goes on to observe that in their wickedness and ignorance, when they thought Jesus was powerless, they were but fulfilling the prophecy of Isaias (53)
which foretold the sufferings of the Messiah.

19. Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.
20. That when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send him who hath been preached unto you, Jesus Christ,
21. Whom heaven indeed must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, from the beginning of the world.

That when,—rather, “in order that” or “so that” . The phrase must be understood in connection with the preceding verse. The meaning, therefore, here is that those who had been guilty of a part in putting to death the Messiah, the Son of God, should repent and do penance, so that the times of refreshment, i.e., of reward at Christ’s second coming, might be hastened. Peter here seems to say that if the Jews would repent and turn to God, the end of the world would soon follow, and the Elect would enter into rest. The conversion of the Jewish people to God is, indeed, one of the signs which shall precede the second coming of Christ; but before this the Gospel also must be preached in the whole world, and the number of the Elect must be filled (Matt 24:14, 22; Rom 11:26; Rev 6:10, 11).

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One Response to Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Third Sunday of Easter, Year B | stjoeofoblog

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