Stroll through Scripture for April 14, 2024

Based on Acts 3:1-10

This Sunday’s reading from the Narrative Lectionary is almost like part two of last week’s reading – we just happen to skip over Pentecost, in Chapter 2.  

Last week we heard Jesus tell the disciples that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Greek for power in that statement has to do with being in a state not fully realized.  It is the power that rose Christ.  It is the power that Jesus used to do healings.  And it is this power that Jesus is telling his followers they will receive from the Holy Spirit.  

And here we are not long after with an example of that kind of power being used in the healing of the crippled beggar at the Beautiful Gate.  This time it is Peter who performs the miracle.  

One has to wonder what going through the minds of those in positions of authority.  They just got rid of one miracle worker who they saw as a threat to the status quo.  And now, not even two months later, one of his followers is starting to do that same type of things.   

The passage is also an example of what Jesus predicted in Chapter 1 – “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem…”. In this specific case, Peter is the one witnessing to the people in Jerusalem.  The key here is that Peter does this healing in the name of “Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”  It’s not on his own that he is able to do this healing.  Only because of the power given to him from the Holy Spirit, witnessing to who Jesus’ very nature is – a healer.  

The healing is certainly good news.  And it raises questions or might cause us to reflect on the situation.  We are told, “[The people] recognized [the cripple beggar] as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple.” (vs. 10).  People saw the crippled beggar every day in the same spot, begging for alms.  But no one ever did anything to change the situation.  There was probably no thought given to how the situation could possibly change for this man, or the many others who begged just to keep on living.  Why? Did people settle – this is what life is?  Did they see no other way forward?  

Which leads us to the Good News.  The Good News has been described in a variety of ways.  One of the ways I talk about is it this – Good News tells us that what we are witnessing, hearing about, and more is real.  And it doesn’t have to be this way.  There is a better way.  And Jesus is moving us in that direction, often while we resist because we think we know better.  Hope deals with reality, tells us it will be different, and then moves us towards that better way.  

Questions for reflection

  • Put yourself in the story.  Who are you in this story?  The beggar?  Peter?  John?  A by standard?  One of the people who carried the crippled one to his spot?  One of the authorities who hears about this?   Why?
  • What is the limit of your imagination of what God is capable of doing?  Why? 
  • How is God empowering you?

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