Lent 2023 Day 14: Thu 9 Mar
While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: ‘Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
Another stir, another big disturbance. Another opportunity to share the Gospel message! Perhaps we need more disruption in our faith lives if we are to see change!
Is Peter being sarcastic when he asks why the onlookers are surprised? Not at all – this is the New Normal. Perhaps we should place that as the subtitle for the book of Acts. The New Normal happens when God’s kingdom is seen on earth. God’s kingdom is about the reign of Jesus, the opening of the doors of heaven, the banishing of sin, pain, incompleteness and the restoration of people to how God sees them.
The beggar was incomplete. His healing in the name of Jesus completed the picture. What had been lost was now restored.
It’s still a shock for those who recognised the once-lame man. We use the term disability, and we long ago retired those older words we used that invoked comparison or affliction, but perhaps in using this modern term we may be led to think that there is a permanence about it – disability as a condition which does not admit change. Peter cut through to the root. The common thinking was that the man’s condition would have come about as a result of sin in his family line. Peter did not know how to heal the man, and he certainly would not have had any biological understanding of how nerves and muscles work together, and similarly Jesus. All he knew was that Jesus healed people, and that Peter could now call upon Jesus’ power and authority to restore the man.
Time for another Peter sermon – when could there be a better time than when all jaws are dropped, eyes are staring, and ears are pinned back?! Peter is surgical when it comes to words. Remember that the Holy Spirit is still working through him, prompting his words. Perhaps phrases come into Peter’s head; perhaps there are strands of thought running through; perhaps he sees pictures.
Surprised, are you? It’s not us, it’s Jesus! You killed him, but he’s alive and glorified! This man is healed because of Jesus and no other. Peter explains the two elements of the healing that’s just taken place – the name of Jesus and faith that comes through him. It seems that the main bulk of the work of healing falls mainly on the Healer, and very little on the receiver.
How do you understand faith? Is it a concept, or an action?
What then is faith in Jesus, and how does it reveal or exercise itself in your life?
Is it possible that in those early days God allowed greater things to happen? Why?
Would you accept a gift so great that you cannot possibly re-pay the giver?
Father God, it is through the name of your Son Jesus, my living Lord, and my trust in his power, his authority, his right and his desire to heal me that I may accept his gift of healing, of restoration, of wholeness. Draw me closer to you, allow me to see myself as you see and know me, that I may have confidence in the healing power of Jesus. Amen.