Peter Heals the Crippled Beggar: Four Principles of Human Interactions

Understanding Team Work, Substitute Means, and Turning to God


This bible study examines Peter and John interactions with the crippled beggar and other observers, Peter’s explanation of the miracle, and their trial before the full assembly of Isreali elders. The interactions illustrate four principles applicable to present-day relationships.

Present Yourself as a Team

Peter and John presented themselves as a team in all their interactions with the man. From Peter introducing themselves with “Look at us” [Acts 3:4] and John remaining quiet but attentive as Peter spoke, everything they did or said was conveyed to the man as coming from both of them. When working as a team, it is important that the group present itself as a unit (team) and every member knows and performs his/her functions and respects/supports other members’ functions without interfering.

Principle of Substitute Means

Peter offered the man healing instead of the expected gift of money, he “helped him up” [Acts 3:7] to complete the healing process. This illustrates an important principle: if you offer a substitute means instead of the expected means to provide for a need, then you should show your substitute to be effective in order to complete the providing. Peter showed his substitute means to be effective by helping the man up. Notice that the “man’s feet and ankles became strong” [Acts 3:7] instantly when Peter helped him up, illustrating this action to be necessary to complete the healing. A simple example might be giving money to a person that is stranded and needs shelter in a rural area. Although the money might be sufficient to pay for a place to stay, the act of providing shelter to the person is incomplete until he/she is directed to a hotel or similar facility where the money can be used to pay for shelter.

Turning to God

In explaining the miracle to people that gathered around him, Peter told them they should repent and “turn to God” [Acts 3:19] so that their sins may be wiped out. Turning to God is what makes repentance meaningful. While repentance is about your regret of the past, turning to God defines how you live the rest of your life. Turning to God has two parts. One is accepting Christ, which is spiritual, and the other is how you interact with people. If you turn to God, then you will represent him in interactions with others, your actions always will convey his image, and you will always be his provider assistant (i.e., do what you can to provide for needs that God places on your path). So Peter told his audience, which includes us today, to repent and turn to God for the repentance to be meaningful.

Good Work as Best Witness

The Israeli rulers, elders, and lawyers that tried Peter and John wanted so much to punish them for preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus that they wished forgotten. However, they could not punish them because “the people were praising God for what had happened” [Acts 4:21]. The miraculous healing of a man that had been crippled for 40 years was undeniable and an eloquent witness for Peter and John. In the same way, the results of a person’s good work will always be his/her best witness.

Please join our study of Peter and John interactions with the crippled beggar; several onlookers; and the Israeli rulers, elders, and lawyers that attempted to persecute them for preaching and performing miracles in the name of Jesus.

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