3:1-5:42 RAPID GROWTH AND GREAT POPULARITY
Preaching in the temple (3:1-26)
On one of their visits to the temple, Peter and John healed a crippled beggar. The man had been lying at the gate that led from the outer public court to the inner courts where only Jews were allowed, but as soon as he was healed he followed the apostles into the temple, jumping and praising God (3:1-10).
After prayer the three men returned to the public court, where they found that a crowd of curious onlookers had gathered. Peter took the opportunity to tell the people that this healing was further proof that the Jesus whom they crucified was the Messiah. Jesus had healed cripples, and his messianic power was continuing to work through his disciples (see v. 6; cf. Matt 11:2-6). But that power was available only through faith in him as the Messiah who, having died, was now victoriously alive (11-16).
If the Jews repented of their sin in crucifying Jesus, God would forgive them. They would then experience all those blessings of the messianic age that they longed for and that the prophets of Old Testament times had spoken of. The climax of those blessings would be the return of Jesus Christ himself (17-21). The Jews of the New Testament era were the ones who, above all others, could experience the fulfilment of the covenant promises God gave to their ancestors; but first they had to turn from their sins and believe in Jesus as their Messiah. To reject him would bring destruction (22-26).