Easter 3 - Year B
Bait and switch is an ancient tradition. Come for the miracle and stay for the doctrine.
To document this, read what just went before this pericope. Here it sounds as if the man healed was the one with faith in Jesus. But remember that the lame man was only asking for alms, as he had done for all his life. It was Peter who enters Jesus into the conversation. It was Peter who enters faith in Christ into the scene. It was Peter who said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk” [emphasis added].
Peter continues this switch as he turns to those observing this event and claims his, Peter’s, faith is the only blessed one available. Believe with me or you will be utterly rooted out. This is precursor to Constantine enforcing one particular strand of Christianity into the only orthodoxy available.
The Message puts the dynamic at work here as, “When Peter saw he had a congregation, he addressed the people.” Ahh, were Peter simply to have dealt with a lame man, we would never have gotten this apology for orthodoxy that makes heretics out of equally faithful folks, just differently faithful. Without this apology we might again pay attention to the wild variety of gifts and calls and miracles and signs and faith available at different times and stages of life and opportunities for experience.