May 22, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." Acts 3:8
What a radical change had taken place in the lives of the disciples after they had received the Holy Spirit in the "upper room." Peter and John were on their way to the temple when they were drawn to a lame man who asked alms of them. When Peter fastened his eyes upon him, he saw beyond his temporal and physical poverty, for his need was infinitely deeper. The greatest need of this beggar was within his heart. He was to be awakened to his relationship with God. Peter said, "Look on us."
When the lame man looked on Peter and John, he could have responded, "I don't need to be made fun of in front of all these people. I've been a cripple all my life and you tell me to rise and walk; don't make a spectacle of me." But his response was different. There was something different in the tone of Peter's voice. There was something different in these men. There was a different message challenging his faith, something different for him to focus upon. And Peter said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
Two things took place immediately. His hopelessness was turned to FAITH and his distrust was turned to OBEDIENCE. Natural means could not have brought about a cure so instantly, and no cure could have left any measure of weakness or incompleteness. But here the lame man was strong and vigorous, as if he had never been diseased at all. He had "dared to believe." God's love found a way. The man's immediate response was praise and thanksgiving as he entered the temple with Peter and John. He had found the source of his need, Jesus Christ, the One who "is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we can ask or even think, through the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20).
Peter seizes the opportunity to preach to the large gathering of curious people at Solomon's porch. We read, "Many of them which heard the word believed, and the number of the men were about 5,000." This is Peter's second sermon, and over 8,000 had believed. What a remarkable manifestation of the power of God. This was a work of grace beyond the ability or work of man. This was God transforming lives that had been bitterly opposed to Him, His teaching, and His disciples.
The rulers, elders, scribes, and the chief priest, "being grieved that they taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead, laid hands on them." Peter, undaunted and fearless, proclaimed, "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him, doth this man stand before you whole." They couldn't deny the miracle that had taken place. "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, THEY MARVELED." The only explanation they could give for the boldness and power of Peter and John was, "THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS!" See the hand of God in all of this: the presence of God in the lives of Peter and John, the response of the beggar, the reception and response of the crowd in believing, and the astonished Jewish leaders. Oh, that our lives would reflect such a testimony. THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=143&date=2012-05-22
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