Archive for September 22nd, 2010

Acts 3

Acts 3 captures the story of Peter and John heading to the temple to pray.  As they approach a man lame from birth was being carried to his daily spot where he begged for money so he could survive.  As the two come to the place he had been laid, he cries out asking from a donation.  Then Peter makes this powerful statement: “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you”.  The easy thing would have been to throw a few coins in the basket and not get any deeper than that.  Isn’t that what we often do?  Let’s give a little money here or there if we are asked, but let’s not get our hands dirty or get tied up in use of our time to get involved beyond that.  Sort of the attitude of buying our way out of actually taking any action isn’t it?  I see it all the time.  I do it way too often.  Somehow we convince ourselves that throwing a few bucks in the offering plate releases us from fulfilling the job that Jesus plainly gave us to do – to love God, to love people, and to go and make disciples of all nations.  Right?  If we tithe we certainly aren’t required to actually do any of that stuff.  Not exactly my friends.  The act of giving does not remove God’s call on us to take action.  It is a good thing and we are taught in scripture to give generously, but we are shown through the life of Jesus and the disciples that the walk of a Christ Follower is much more.  We have to act like Jesus did – meeting needs as God brings them to our attention – getting involved in the muck of life and helping others.  What does Peter do?  He tells this man to “rise up and walk….and he took him by the right hand and raised him up”.  Not only did he use the power of Jesus Christ in his life to touch another, he reached out and picked him up.  He got involved personally in the plight of a guy he didn’t even know.  Kudo’s to Peter, right?  When Peter takes the time to get involved in the life of this guy and share the power of Jesus with him through his own life – the world changes forever.  Look at what happens – “immediately his feet and ankles were made strong…..began to walk…..entered the temple with them”.  This guy may never have been in the temple before, certainly not as a walking man.  Because Peter took the time to get involved and let God use him as an instrument of healing – this man is restored and healed.

But wait – there’s more.  The real impact was upon those who saw what had happened – both directly and the result.  They were “filled with wonder and amazement….astounded”.  The big result was on those who were blessed by the impact of Peter’s act.  And as they began to give Peter credit he immediately turned it where it was due telling the crowd it was not “through our own power or piety we have made him walk”.   He points them to Jesus and reminds them “you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead”.  Nothing like putting the truth out there even if it is hard.  No soft and cuddly message from Peter.  He really takes charge of the situation now and uses it to preach the truth.  “….by faith in His name….repent…..turn again…..that your sins may be blotted out”.  No celebration of the healing – Peter is focused on the issue at hand – that many did not know the source of what happened and were in need of the Savior.  He didn’t savor the moment and bask in the praise.  He pointed it all to God and used the attention to tell the story that was ahead for those in the crowd by quoting the scriptures and speaking truth: “and it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed”.  No sugar coated feel good message here.  More of a ‘sure we healed this guy but the issue us you and your heart and you need to deal with a problem far bigger than being unable to walk’.  Peter wants them to repent and come to Jesus.  That is the same thing that we each need to do as well.  To run into the open and outstretched arms of the Savior who conquered death and was raised by God.  Jesus came “to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness”.  He went to the Cross for your sin.  He wants to set you free.  Have you come to Him?  Have you heard Peter’s words?  Now is the time to find Jesus!

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