Acts Devotionals

Helping Him Up

Some things seem so simple. Even the hardest task just tends to splice together at times. Over the weekend the crown in one of my back teeth popped out. Naturally I was concerned about it. Could the crown be put back or could they manufacture another one? Although the soonest appointment was scheduled for the 25 August, I received a call yesterday due to a cancelation and went to see the dentist this morning. I was a little nervous … and suddenly the nervousness change into anxiety. The dentist told me the remaining tooth that the crown was housed in had cracked and there was nothing he could do about it. They he said it needed to come out … now the anxiety changed into panic because the remaining tooth was extremely short and this was a back tooth with those long roots. Well, it is what it is and soon I received painless injections and to work he went and after some twisting and pulling … both pieces were out. My panic soon turned to … it’s all okay. I am fine. As a patient this was a huge task … to the dentist it was another day at the office. I wonder what went through the cripple’s mind when Peter said:

Ac 3:6 “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

Then he,

Ac 3:7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.

Was he like me, thinking … “This is a massive thing Peter is saying to me who has been crippled from birth. How can it be?”

1) Although Peter and John had no money, silver or gold to give, these were inferior gifts compared to what is available through Jesus Christ. To give the cripple cash or precious metals would amount to him remaining cripple and remaining a beggar. That is inferior. Healing him however meant that he would be able to hold down a proper career and have a steady inflow of cash.

2) If prayer was in Jesus’ name, why could healing not be too? Take asking in Jesus name:

Jn 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”

Jn 16:23 “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Jn 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. 25“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name.”

We always associate “asking” related to prayer but surely before the apostles performed any supernatural or miraculous thing, they would have asked the Father in Jesus’ name … but always, asking in Jesus’ name would fit the required formula!

1 Jn 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

What would “His Will” mean? For us it is according to the Scriptures but in their case it would have meant … according to the Old Testament Scriptures, the Gospel and the impression the Holy Spirit made upon their minds at that time. Now take God’s “will” and read:

Jn 14:13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

It is for this reason I say asking would include performing the supernatural and miraculous because in both cases the presence, power and working of the Holy Spirit are needed and necessary.

3) Contrary to today where people fall down as they are pushed by so called spiritual leaders … Peter took the cripple by the hand and helped him up! Peter had a pastor’s heart … he helped the cripple stand. Now what follows is extremely important.

Ac 3:7 and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.

That is a miracle … instantly the cripple’s feet and ankles were healed. Claims of miracle healing today abound, yet many have been followed up and the so called healings were psychosomatic, emotional experiences, mind over matter … induced with lengthy singing, making claims, suggestive language … only to find none were real. It is important to know to whom God’s healing and miraculous gifts were given and when these gifts ceased. Basically the apostles and a few others were so gifted and the supernatural, spectacular gifts were withdrawn once the Canon of Scripture was completed before the turn of the First Century. This does not mean God has stopped healing and the miraculous. Should He want to He does but the way of the early Church is decidedly not the way today.

4) The instant become immediate reality.

Ac 3:8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk.

He had never before in his life been able to walk. The miracle did not require his ankles and feet to strengthen over a period of time with physiotherapy. Total healing was instantaneous with walking immediate.

5) Giving credit to God. What an advertisement for the Gospel. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. He certainly demonstrated his complete healing.

6) People saw, people recognized and people were filled with wonder and amazement. This was supernatural!

Ac 3:9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

This was God’s intention …

(1) Validation of the Gospel … in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. We always say the best advertising is via word of mouth. This man advertised the Gospel by word of mouth and by his elation seen in his … walking and jumping, and praising God. His body was transformed … but more so his soul!

(2) This was an invitation to consider and examine the facts that Jesus is God’s promised Messiah. The dramatic, supernatural and spectacular was used by God to authenticate the Gospel and through it others were drawn into His Kingdom. How ought this account speak to your life and mine? It ought to demonstrate God’s supernatural operation of saving our souls to the world out there. People need to see we are different. Not that our bodies were healed. Many are despondent because of bad experiences. The changed life dedicated to live under Jesus’ Lordship needs to speak to people about God’s miracle in salvation.

Thank You for changing me, Lord. Amen.

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