Acts 3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
It’s clear that Peter was not going to help him with a handout, but was going to do something far greater. We would like to examine here exactly what Peter did have to give to the beggar.
What did Peter have?
We know that a great miracle soon took place, and that the beggar lame since birth was walking and jumping. How did the Lord use Peter to perform this miracle?
The key is “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
We see here that Peter actually did not pray to the Lord, asking Him to heal the beggar. Nor did he even ask the beggar to get up and walk. Rather he issued a command to the beggar in the name of Jesus Christ. He commanded him to walk. After that he took him by the right hand and helped him up. Only then did the miracle take place.
When someone is able to issue a command, it is based solely on having the authority to do so in that specific area. Apart from authority, we cannot issue a command. For example, we can command our pet dog to “sit.” We can order someone in our employ to whom we pay a salary to perform some action. But if we do not have authority, we cannot issue a command or give an order. All we can do to ask nicely and hope for the best. For example, can you ordinarily command your boss to give you a raise in the name of Jesus Christ?
So it’s clear that Peter had been given a measure of authority by the Lord in order to be able to command the beggar to walk in the name of Jesus Christ.
This authority was given to the disciples in the gospels before Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came bringing the gifts of the Holy Spirit
This is totally in line with the Scriptures recorded in Luke where Jesus in fact gave power and authority over disease and demons to the twelve disciples as He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God to the lost.
Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
In Acts 3 Peter used this very same authority to command the beggar to walk, resulting in a powerful miracle which ultimately brought thousands of Jews to Jesus as their Messiah.
Interestingly, Jesus also gave a measure of this power and authority to the 72 “ordinary” disciples—who were not apostles—when He sent them out.
Luke 10:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. …9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
That these 72 disciples were also given a measure of this authority is clear from Jesus’ command for them to “heal the sick who are there…”
Power and authority have not ceased
This power and authority are still available today for disciples of Jesus to proclaim the kingdom of God effectively and fruitfully to the billions of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and idol-worshipers around the world who have never heard the gospel. The preaching of the gospel to all creation is clearly not yet complete; the Great Commission has not yet been completed and fulfilled. Therefore this authority over disease and demons has not yet “ceased”, and is still in effect for us who are sent out to the vast mission fields of the world.
For that matter, it is still in effect for any disciple who is sent out to the world as a witness of Jesus Christ.