Experience - Day 15

Acts of the Apostles 3:1-8, NLT

1 Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. 2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

I absolutely love this story.  There’s a children’s song about it that gets stuck in my hand, but because I’m so visual, as I read this story I am just beaming as I imagine observing this healing from across the street.  Here’s a man who gets carried to the temple gate every day in hopes to get a few more pennies to chase down another meal.  And he’s set down outside of the gate, because he’s not allowed inside (he had a physical deformity and was therefore unclean and prohibited from entering).

We don’t know how many years this has gone on, but we do know he’s an outsider who has to fight to make it through every day.

Then, along come Peter and John, and in moments, this man gets way more than he could have hoped for that day.  He went seeking alms, what he got was restoration in his muscles, his bones, and in moments, limbs that never worked before are now dancing ecstatically in praise to God.

Not only do I love this story, I love it’s placement in the larger story of the birth of the church.  You see, the Spirit is poured out, and immediately, lives are changed, communities of healing take form, and hope begins to spread.  Remember how the Israelites wanted a Messiah that would rescue them from their oppressors and put them back on top of the food chain.  But what they God was a Messiah who had the power to restore their bodies, their minds, their hearts, and their hope.  They got so much more than they bargained for with Jesus.

Lastly, I’m also drawn to what Peter and John recognize about themselves.  They recognize that they have nothing of worldly importance; no silver, no gold, no status to speak of.  But what they do have is Jesus, and as it turns out, that’s more than enough.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” Psalm 23: 1

  1. How is your hope doing today?  Do you have hope you can lean on?  Is your hope in what Jesus has can do and has promised to do, something you can cling to today?  Why or why not? 
  2. If you were to have something in your life restored today, what would it be and why?
  3. When we take a moment to really think about our lives, even in the toughest of times, there are things to celebrate.  And with practice, even in the toughest of times we can still worship.  What do you have that you can celebrate today?  How might your celebration lead to worship?

By Pastor Paddy McCoy

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