Reader: “Through faith in the name of Jesus,”
Response: “this man was healed.”
Scripture: Acts 3:12-19
Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
“Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.
“Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Can you imagine standing in the crowd and seeing this healing of a man crippled from birth? (I’m assuming you read yesterday and watched the video. If you missed it, you may want to do yesterday’s devotional before doing today’s.) In the sentence that goes between the two passages, Luke tells us that the healed man held tightly to Peter and John. I can visualize it, Peter on one side, the man in the middle with a huge grin on his face, and John on the other side and a vast crowd staring at the three men. We find later in Acts that about 2,000 were converted from this sermon of Peter’s so we know a large crowd was listening.
Peter once again took advantage of the situation and proclaimed the gospel to his Jewish audience. In typical Jewish fashion, he begins with a question, immediately drawing the crowd into what he has to say. The natural assumption would be that the person who was able to do this miracle was either a magician or someone with miraculous powers. Remember, Jesus was accused of getting his power to do miracles from the devil. So Peter is making sure the people know the source of the miracle.
Peter identifies with the crowd and goes immediately to their common Jewish heritage by appealing to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Remember our comments regarding the Jewish understanding of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from a couple of days ago where God said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Peter was in the process of tying what this Jewish crowd believed about the patriarchs and helping them see that the God of the patriarchs brought glory to Jesus. It was this very same Jesus that they killed a little over seven weeks ago.
He continues addressing the crowd from first hand eyewitness experience. Instead of recognizing who Jesus really was, you people killed the author of all life! But, God overruled your ignorance and raised Jesus from the dead. We know it is true, because we were there and saw it with our own eyes. Peter continues.
We did not heal the man standing between us, Jesus did because we had faith in him. When you saw him stand up and be healed a few minutes ago, you were privileged to see the risen Lord at work before your very eyes! I know you were ignorant when you voted to kill the Savior. But God was in the process of fulfilling what our prophets said would happen. You just missed the whole thing! So repent of your sin and ignorance and turn to God.
Ignorance has never been bliss. We live in a world of spiritual ignorance and apathy. One of the reasons for these devotionals is to help all of us grow in wisdom and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Peter wanted to make sure that the people weren’t just intrigued or excited by the miracle, but prodded their interest or curiosity to go deeper into the source of the healing. As we’ve said previously, Jesus never did a miracle to impress or “wow” anyone. They were always tied to revealing who he was as the Son of God. Miracles never pointed to the event itself, but to the one who was the source. Why? They were done for the purpose of those watching to put their trust in God and recognize Jesus for who he was.
As we stand in the world of today’s crowd, we may be fortunate to see God do something before our very eyes. I pray we will recognize his work and point those standing around us to the Savior.
Music: “Walk in Jerusalem Just Like John” Buddy Greene & The Isaacs
Lord and Master, we beg you to be our help and comfort. Save those who are in trouble, have mercy on the lonely, lift up the fallen, show yourself to the needy, heal the ungodly, convert the wanderers from your people, feed the hungry, raise up the weak, comfort the faint-hearted, let all the peoples know that you are God alone and Jesus Christ is your Son, and we are your People, the sheep of your pasture, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen. ―St. Clement of Rome, In the Presence of My Father, p.198