Monday, September 14, 2015

Seeing An Opportunity To Give

Act 3:1-10 NASB - "1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.

2 And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple, which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!" 5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Messiah Jesus the Nazarene--walk!" 7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him."

The Jewish people had three times which they normally devoted to prayer.  These were the third hour (about 3 hours after sunrise or around 9 AM.  ), the sixth hour (about 6 hours after sunrise about noon),  and the ninth hour ( about nine hours after sin rise normally about 3 in the afternoon. )  It is interesting to note that the Apostles were keeping to the rule of life and spiritual disciplines that were normal for Jewish people   At this stage the followers of Jesus clearly see themselves as followers of the Jewish Messiah who has come to bring forgiveness and salvation from the curse placed upon us due to sin. 

Now this is an example of what Luke recorded in the last chapter.  There he had written simply;

Act 2:43 NASB - "43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles."

Here we see that the message of the apostles is being confirmed by demonstrations that the authority of Messiah Jesus is breaking the curse of East of Eden  As the writer of the book of Hebrews explains;

Heb 2:1, 3-4 NASB - "1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. ... 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will."

So the healing of this poor lame man is given as a sign that the power of the age to come has entered into this time and space.  It is a sign that Messiah has come and that Jesus of Nazareth was that Messiah.

Now the miracle is even greater because the man has been lame from birth.  Luke being a doctor knows that people, who have been lame for a while they need time to learn to walk again, regain their strength and balance to be mobile.  Here we go from being lifetime lame to leaping.  Messiah Jesus not only has healed the legs but has provided months of rehabilitation instantly.   No wonder everyone is amazed.

There may have been many beggars in this gate who were disabled.   Peter and John are drawn to this man and his needs specifically.   Today they were empowered to bring power to this one specific manifestation of kingdom power to those at the temple.  Miracles are real but rare.  The long-term goal of this demonstration of power was to call people to believe the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. 


Has God ever demonstrated in your life HIS power is such a way that you were drawn to have greater faith?  Have you ever been used to pray for someone and they overcame a serious illness?  The people who believed after seeing this man healed if asked why they believe might well point back to this situation as what caused them to commit their lives to follow Jesus.   If someone asked you why you believe in Jesus as your Messiah, what would you say?  Is your faith today stronger or weaker than a year ago?


Lord, make me willing to give whatever you have given me to show love to my neighbor.  Allow me to see that the importance of being led by your Holy Spirit to be sensitive to the needs that surround me.  Help me to see that without you I can do nothing.  Help us now to have a desire to bear witness in word and deed to someone today.   Amen

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