The miraculous healing of a lame man, a man crippled from birth (Acts 3:2), is another sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (described in Acts 2.) Jesus had performed similar miracles during His lifetime (John 5:1-15, Matt 9:1-8, Matt 15:30-31, Luke 21:14), and these miracles were all signs that He was the Messiah, for they fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that the lame would leap like a deer (Is 35:6). Jesus Himself reassured the followers of John the Baptist by pointing to the miracles He had done (Matt 11:4-5), and these signs were clearly a proof of the person and work of Jesus while on earth – a work continuing now through His apostles.
There has been much debate about whether the lame man would have seen Jesus Himself and if so, why Jesus did not heal Him. Such speculation, however interesting, is ultimately pointless, for we simply do not know the answer. (We spend a good deal of time and energy on pointless speculation, it seems to me, in so many different areas of life, but that is another story altogether!) Clearly, this was his time, for Peter and John offered him healing in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:4-6) and this man’s life was radically changed as a result. (Acts 3:7-8)
Signs and wonders create opportunities for witness (Peter’s sermon which followed this healing was possible because of the miraculous healing the crowds saw.) Mark talks of signs ‘confirming’ God’s work (Mark 16:20) and throughout the book of Acts, we see miraculous signs giving open doors to witness to the apostles and believers (see Acts 5:12-16, Acts 9:32-35, Acts 9:40-43, Acts 13:6-12). Since God does not change and we live in the same last days the early apostles did and can experience the same outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our lives, we too should be looking to God to give opportunities to witness through His miraculous workings. It’s not a case of either/ or, but both/ and. We need both miracles and preaching; we need to have the same faith and confidence Peter and John had, for we serve the same God.