About The Ninth Hour

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Acts chapter 3. This historic Gospel was written – along with the Gospel of Luke – by the Physician Luke, a companion of the Apostles. Luke, thought by many to be a Gentile, also wrote the Gospel of Luke. An early Church Pastor named Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-202) wrote, “Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him.”

In the Book of Acts the outreach of the Apostles are recorded. The Apostles ministered in a culture that despised Christ. The Jewish hierarchy thought Jesus was a heretic, and His followers a cult. The Gentile hierarchy thought the “Christians” (a term invented by unbelievers to mock the followers of Christ) were either simple minded or treasonous. Yet the Apostles preached the “Good News of Salvation” through faith in the name of Jesus Christ.

After the Day of Pentecost some 3000 believers were added by God to the Church. The Church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42). The Bible says the Church “continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:46-47).

So what did the Apostles do after this? Did they build a big building, and take a break as they organized their “megachurch”. No, they didn’t do that. As the Apostles were all Jewish (Saul had yet been converted to Paul the Apostle), the Apostles lived out their daily lives, but with Jesus guiding them. We read:

Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

Devout Jews would, if able, have prayer at the Temple three times a day: 9 am, noon, and 3 pm. As Peter and John loved God, they continued to go to the Temple every day, three times a day. “The ninth hour” refers to the ninth hour from sunrise, so this would be around 3 pm. As Peter and John go into the Temple:

The Apostles Meet A Broken Man

Acts 3:2-3 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

Peter and John enter into the Temple through the “Gate Beautiful”. The historian Albert Edersheim (himself a Jewish convert to Christianity) wrote that all the other gates of the Temple were covered with gold and silver plating. But the “Gate Beautiful” was …

far more magnificent than any of them was the ninth or eastern gate, which formed the principal entrance into the Temple. The ascent to it was from the terrace by twelve easy steps. The gate itself was made of dazzling Corinthian brass, most richly ornamented; and so massive were its double doors that it needed the united strength of twenty men to open and close them.”

This gate was always opened first at the beginning of the day. It was the main entrance to the Temple, the eastern gate.

Imagine this beautiful gate, glittering in the sunlight, looking somewhat like I imagine the street of gold will be like in Heaven (Revelation 21:21). It must have been glorious! And in the midst of this opulence, as people enter the Temple to pray and worship God …

… lays misery. We are told a certain man lame from his mother’s womb is sitting at the foot of this massive gate. The man is not friendless. The Bible says that they laid {him} daily at the gate of the temple. He had people who were concerned for him. They helped him get to the Temple every day. They carried him from where ever his home was, and brought him to this place to sit.

The man has been sick for so long, he no longer looks to God for help, but to man. It is the ninth hour, a time when believers should be praying. He’s not praying. He’s calling out for help. He’s looking at those around him for alms. Year after year he has been crippled, unable to walk at all. He has grown used to his misery. When he first became aware he was crippled, perhaps he prayed to God, seeking relief. But over time it seemed clear to him. God doesn’t care. If God cared, He would have healed him. So the man looked to charity.

Does God care for you? Sometimes it seems as if He doesn’t. The Psalmist David in the midst of suffering wrote:

Psalm 22:1-2 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

We have all been there. We have suffered, and cried out in the midst of our suffering, but it seemed as if God wasn’t listening. It’s like that Brooks & Dunn song, “God Must Be Busy”:

Last night in Oklahoma
Some twister took thirteen,
And they’re praying that they find,
The missing three.
God must be busy.

It is in our humanity that we sometimes think “God must be busy”. When our Lord Jesus Christ hung on the Cross of Calvary, He spoke seven times. One of the times He spoke He cried out the same thing David did. It was at the ninth hour – about 3 pm – that Peter and John went to pray with other God fearing Jews. The Gospel tells us:

Matthew 27:46 … about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Jesus cried out about the ninth hour in anguish, praying to the Father as He turned away from His beloved Son. God the Father often said “This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). The Father loves the Son with an infinite love, and the Son loves the Father with an undying love. Yet as Jesus suffers on Calvary, the temperature is raised on the offering. Jesus must not just be slain – He must be burned as a burnt offering! As the heat of judgment falls on an innocent Man, Jesus cries out, tears on His face and anguish in His voice. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

God must be busy. No, He is not. Jesus knows why He is there on Calvary. He is the good shepherd {that} giveth his life for the sheep(John 10:11). Calvary is no accident. Suffering is no accident. God knows what is happening – but God has His timing. But oh, do not doubt the love of God. God is always with us. Has He not said:

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 43:2 (ESV) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Psalm 32:8 (ESV) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Psalm 34:17-18 (ESV) When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

God was not busy nor uncaring when Jesus hung on that Cross.
God was not busy nor uncaring when David suffered.
God was not busy nor uncaring when this man was born lame.
God is not busy nor uncaring when you
and I suffer.

But God has a higher purpose. God tells us:

Isaiah 55:8-9 my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This man at the Gate Beautiful has given up on God, but God has not given up on him. God has a purpose for this man being there. God wants this man – and you – to understand the greatest thing in life is to be in a daily loving relationship with the God Who loves you so. We must love God more than anything else.

We must NOT make ourselves the YOUniverse. We must look upward, and seek the loving care of God even in the midst of our brokenness. For GOD is our completion. GOD is the reason Jesus cried out in anguish. GOD loves us so!

The Way To Healing Is Repentance

Acts 3:4-5 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

It is significant that Peter didn’t ask this man his name. Peter told him, Look on us. The Greek Blepō eis hēmas! This is an Imperative verb in the Greek, a command:

stop looking for money, hear us!
get your attention off of money,
off of the passing crowd,
off of the world,
off of your destitute condition

And turn your mind to Someone Greater than all these things. This man’s only hope was that he repent, metanoeo, turn his eyes and his mind from where he was to where Jesus is.

Peter didn’t say, “Have faith in us”, for there is no power in Peter, nor John, nor anyone born of Adam. The power of healing is in Jesus. The power of salvation is in Jesus. The power to convert the sinner to Saint is in Jesus. Our Jesus:

1 Peter 3:22 (ESV) … has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Peter said, “Look on us”. What he is saying is what I feebly try to say every week. “Listen to ME. Turn from where you are going, and follow my voice to Jesus!”. Peter doesn’t care what this man’s name is, but he cares that the man hear about Jesus.

Acts 3:6-7 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

The man was looking for Silver and gold, for charity, for a handout. Instead, Peter gave this man Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Now there are charlatans on television that go about slapping people on the head, and proclaiming them healed in the name of Jesus. Does God heal today? Yes, I believe He does.

The greatest thing is not you be restored to health, for eventually all must die. “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The greatest thing is to repent and come to Jesus.

This man without Jesus had suffered so long that his feet and calves had atrophied. But hearing the powerful name of Jesus, his feet and calves regenerated. This unnamed man joins the ranks of the other unnamed people that Jesus healed.

  • Jesus healed a woman with an issue of blood. She reached through a crowd, touching the hem of the Master’s garment. Repenting and reaching out to God, she was healed! (Matthew 9:22).
  • Jesus healed a Canaanite woman’s daughter who, humbling herself, said “Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table” (Matthew 15:27).
  • Jesus saved a woman taken in adultery. “Where are those who condemn you?” “They are gone, Lord.” “Neither do I condemn you – go and sin no more”. (John 8:11)

  • Acts 3:8-11 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. 11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

This man was not quiet about his healing. I myself was not quiet the day that Jesus Christ saved me. I ran down that aisle, and knelt at the altar, crying out to Jesus for salvation. On that day Jesus took my broken heart like He took this broken man’s body and soul, and began the process of healing it.

When Jesus heals, He changes.

What I was before Jesus was crippled from birth. Low self esteem and sin enslaved me. But Jesus grabbed my hand, and pulled me to His feet. Praise Him forever!

The people saw this man walking and praising God through the Temple. Again, this is the ninth hour – the hour of afternoon prayer. In the midst of this somber time where people are praying, this man is jumping and shouting and praising God like a child plagued with super attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If the preacher was preaching, he didn’t care. God wasn’t busy. God did love him. And he was going to praise God. The man was overjoyed because of Jesus! Just as King David of old danced in the street as God’s Ark came into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:16), this blessed man danced because Jesus Christ, that wonderful Ark of Salvation, came into His heart. The love of God lifted him up to walk, whereas the love of his friends could only leave him sitting at the gate Beautiful. But here’s the thing. We read:

all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering

This man was crippled from his birth for a reason. This man is also healed from this crippling for a reason. A greater reason. It is so that others can hear about Jesus Christ.

Peter Now Preaches Jesus

Acts 3:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

As a journalist would say, Peter doesn’t “bury the lede”. He starts out by telling the people it is not by our own power or holiness that this man is healed. There is no power in the preacher. God did not make the Apostles supermen. Notice that Peter says “it is not our power, NOR OUR HOLINESS” that brought this about. The power is in Jesus Christ. Peter addresses the Jewish crowd:

Acts 3:13-15 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Peter doesn’t mince words. Peter tells them that it is Jesus Who healed this man. This is the same Jesus that the Pharisees and Scribes and Priests delivered up” (paradidōmi, to hand over) Jesus, turning Him over to Pilate. Though the Bible says that Jesus was:

Acts 2:23 … delivered by (here the Greek ékdoto)the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God

this does not lessen the wickedness of those who should have known better. Jesus was an innocent Man, turned over to death by people who knew they were guilty. According to Peter, Pilate was “determined to let {Jesus} go. Nonetheless, the “religious crowd” had Pilate release Barabbas, a known murderer, while they pushed the execution of the Prince of life. Jesus Christ died on that Cross of Calvary. He did not swoon. He did not pretend. He died. He was a corpse. Lifeless. Gone.

But Jesus did not stay dead! Peter said God hath raised {Jesus from} the dead. The proof that Jesus is alive is found in this crippled man now leaping and dancing and praising God.

Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

It is the power of Jesus’ name which, when believed in, brings life where there was only death. This man’s legs were dead. But now, they live!

Jesus Only Comes When You Repent

Acts 3:17-20 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

The crippled man was brought to life because he repented, and believed in Jesus. Peter now tells his Jewish audience that, yes, they did what they did to Jesus in ignorance. They were led to kill the Prince of life because of sin. Sin darkens the mind. Sin enslaves the heart. For 3 ½ years Peter and John followed Jesus, but never actually repented. Who can forget Peter? It was Peter who rebuked Jesus, when our Lord told the disciples:

Matthew 16:21 … how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Peter told Jesus, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” (Matthew 16:22). Jesus told Peter,

Matthew 16:23 … Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter allowed himself to be used of Satan. John used to argue with his brother James as to who would be the “greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:1). But Peter and John now know that there is nothing of power in themselves. It is Jesus Who heals, Jesus Who saves, Jesus Who restores life and light to the dead and darkness. Peter tells the crowd listening:

Acts 3:19-20 … Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ,

What causes sins to be blotted out? This is the Greek ἐξαλείφω exaleíphō, {pronounced ex-al-i’-fo}, which means “to wipe off or wipe away”. Those who are listening to Peter are all guilty of murder. They knew that Jesus was innocent, and yet pressed for His execution anyway. The fact that this is in accordance with the will of God does not erase their responsibility. They are responsible. God said:

Revelation 21:8 … as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

Revelation 22:15 … Outside {of Heaven} are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

No sinner goes to Heaven. Heaven is a Holy place, owned by a Holy God. Sin causes a breach between God and His creation. So how can sin be erased so that God cannot hold it against us? Only by faith in the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ. Peter said Repent ye therefore, and be converted.

There is one thing we do (repent), and one thing that is done to us when we do that one thing (be converted).

Peter calls on the crowd to Repent. This is the first step to being right with God. The word Repentis the Greek metanoeō, which means “to change your mind”. To stop justifying your rejection of Jesus Christ. To turn, and embrace the salvation that God offers only through Jesus. When you Repent, genuine repentance leads you to be converted. And Jesus will come to you. The Father shall send Jesus Christ into your life, praise be the Lord. When you repent, you will be converted, changed from lost to saved. You will be changed by God from,

Son of Adam to Son of God
Lost to Found of God
Tare to Wheat
Goat to Sheep

With repentance and faith in Christ, you will become:

Galatians 3:26 (KJV) “… the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Before Moses died, he told Israel in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 that God would raise up another Prophet like Moses was a Prophet. Peter quotes this text to the religious crowd around him:

Acts 3:22 … Moses said, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.

Jesus Christ is that Prophet. He is the Messiah, long promised by God throughout the Scriptures. And only by faith in Jesus do we have salvation, forgiveness of our sins in the eyes of God. The Bible says:

Acts 4:12 … there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

It is not the faithful Jew who, praying three times a day, will be saved. It is not the Priest in the Temple, nor the Preacher in the pulpit. It is not the Scribe, the student of Scripture, the Seminarian who will be saved. It is not the Pharisee or Sadducee that shall be saved. Who shall be saved? Only those who repent from following the gods of this world, and who cling to the name of Jesus Christ. These shall be saved. For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. May God the Holy Spirit move all who hear or read this message to draw near to Jesus Christ by faith. It is He and He alone Who can give life, eternal life. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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