At the gate of the temple, Peter and John healed a man who had been born lame. Peter then taught the people who had witnessed the healing of this man. As a result, Peter and John were arrested and commanded by the Sanhedrin to stop teaching in the name of Jesus. Church members lived the law of consecration, but two of them died as a result of lying to Peter and to God. Peter and John continued to perform miracles, which angered the chief priests. They were again arrested and placed in prison, but they were released by an angel. The angel told them to go to the temple and preach the gospel.
Think of a time when you asked for something specific (perhaps a birthday or Christmas gift) but received something else instead. How might this experience be similar to seeking blessings from Heavenly Father through prayer?
As you study Acts 3, look for a principle that can help you when you do not receive the answers or blessings that you expect from the Lord.
Read Acts 3:1–3, looking for whom Peter and John met at the gate of the temple.
Ponder how it would feel to be in the lame man’s position. From your experience, what are some typical ways in which people might respond to this man’s request for alms, or help such as money or food?
Read Acts 3:4–7, looking for what Peter did for this man.
What stands out to you about what Peter said and did?
In what ways was the blessing this man received greater than the alms (money) he had originally asked for?
We can liken this account to our lives. Heavenly Father might not answer our prayers in the ways we want or expect Him to, but His answers are always for our greater good.
In the account recorded in Acts 3:1–8, it is obvious that what this man received was greater than what he had asked for. However, in other cases it may not be as clear that what we are receiving is greater than what we are asking for.
In your scripture study journal, write about an experience in which the Lord’s response to your prayers was different from the answer you desired but turned out to be for your greater good.
Imagine that you had been among the people at the temple who witnessed the healing of the lame man. You would have often seen the lame man begging as you entered that temple gate. Then, one day, you would have seen him leaping and running after he had been healed. How do you think your view of Peter and John might have changed after witnessing this miracle?
Read Acts 3:9–11, looking for how the people reacted to this man’s healing.
Read Acts 3:12–18, looking for how Peter explained the healing of the lame man to the crowd. Notice whom Peter gave credit to for healing the man.
From Peter’s actions and words, we learn that Jesus Christ’s servants can perform miracles through faith in His name.
Peter gave hope to those he was addressing by teaching them that they too might eventually be cleansed through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
Notice the phrase “times of refreshing” in Acts 3:19. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:
“This designated period, this times of refreshing, is to take place at the second coming of the Son of Man, in the day when the Lord sends Christ again to earth.
“… It is the day when ‘the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.’ (Tenth Article of Faith.) It is the day of the ‘new earth’ that Isaiah saw (Isa. 65:17), the earth which will prevail when wickedness ceases, when the millennial era is ushered in” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 43).
Read Acts 3:20–21, looking for what else will happen during this period.
The phrase “the times of restitution of all things” in Acts 3:21 refers to the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days. From Acts 3:20–21, we learn that prophets in all ages have foretold the latter-day Restoration of the gospel.
As recorded in Acts 3:22–26, Peter testified that Moses “and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after” (Acts 3:24) have spoken of Jesus Christ and warned of the consequences of rejecting Him (see Acts 3:23). In modern revelation the angel Moroni repeated this passage to Joseph Smith, confirming the consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ (see Joseph Smith—History 1:41).
Imagine that you are a missionary and that an investigator asks, “Where in the Bible does it say that the gospel would be restored in the last days?” In your scripture study journal, answer this question using Acts 3:19–21 and at least one other Bible passage. Consider looking under “Restoration of the Gospel” in the Topical Guide.
In Acts 4:1–31 and Acts 5:12–42 we learn the following: Peter and John were arrested for healing and preaching in the name of Jesus Christ. Peter boldly declared the gospel to the Sanhedrin, which was “the Jewish senate and the highest Jewish court in both civil and ecclesiastical matters” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Sanhedrin,” scriptures.lds.org). After their release, Peter and John continued to preach in Jesus’s name and were again arrested. They were beaten, told again to stop speaking in the name of Jesus Christ, and then released. However, they did not cease to teach in Jesus’s name.
Consider the following scenario: A young man is preparing for a mission. He knows the bishop is going to ask questions about his worthiness to serve a mission, and he is considering whether or not to tell the bishop about a serious sin he committed in his past.
As you study Acts 4:32–5:11, look for a principle that can help you understand the necessity of being honest with God’s servants.
In Acts 4:32 we learn that the Saints (Church members) in Peter’s time were living the law of consecration, which means they had covenanted with God to voluntarily share their physical possessions so that everyone’s needs would be met.
Read Acts 4:34–35, looking for how they consecrated their possessions to the Lord.
What did Ananias and Sapphira do that was a serious sin?
Read Acts 5:3–4, looking for what Peter said to Ananias.
According to verse 4, whom had Ananias ultimately lied to?
From Peter’s response, we learn that if we lie to God’s servants, it is the same as lying to Him.
Read Acts 5:5–11, looking for what happened to Ananias and Sapphira as a consequence of breaking their covenant and lying to Peter and to God.
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught about some consequences we may experience if we lie to the Lord or His servants: “In our time, those found in dishonesty do not die as did Ananias and Sapphira, but something within them dies. Conscience chokes, character withers, self-respect vanishes, integrity dies” (“We Believe in Being Honest,” Ensign, Oct. 1990, 4).
Review the scenario about the young man preparing for his mission interview. In your scripture study journal, write a letter to this young man, explaining what he should know about lying to a priesthood leader.
Ponder what blessings come from being completely honest with the Lord’s servants.
From the account of Ananias and Sapphira, we learn the need to be completely honest with our priesthood leaders. In addition, we should be honest in all our dealings with others. What does it mean to you to be honest in your dealings with others?
President Hinckley further taught: “Those who are living the principle of honesty know that the Lord does bless them. Theirs is the precious right to hold their heads in the sunlight of truth, unashamed before any man. On the other hand, if there be need for reformation in any member of this Church, let it begin where we now stand” (“We Believe in Being Honest,” 5).
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Acts 4–5 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: