Crispads

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Acts, Chapter 3

In returning to Acts today we see the beginnings of the church after the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit had now been given to the disciples as well as the rest of the church, and as we saw in chapter 2, things were quickly happening. Three thousand people came to the faith that first day, so we can only imagine what the early church was going to accomplish with plenty of time to prepare, to worship, and to spread the gospel.

Perhaps the most marked change came in Peter, a man who was always so gung-ho for Christ yet still struggled with his messages. In Matthew 16 we see Peter, then known as Simon, getting praised and told that he would be the rock upon whom Christ would build his church. Just a few verses later Jesus rebukes him for showing a lack of faith in Christ's words. Peter was an up and down character, but here we begin to see the strength of leadership he was later known for.

"6Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God." – Acts 3:6-8

Here the same man that lacked faith in Luke 5:5-8 now has the faith and ability to perform miracles in the name of the Lord. This is nothing short of astonishing, as in the verses mentioned in Luke Peter doubted that Christ could simply catch fish after failing to catch any all night. This is a powerful testament to the changing power of the Holy Spirit. We can experience this ourselves when we become emboldened by faith in trusting God.

I know a personal example of comes from the Advent Conspiracy, which I mentioned yesterday. Earlier this year during the summer I was facing a precarious work situation. There is no way we could have taken up this financial challenge then because of the circumstances of the time. We continued to tithe faithfully though, knowing that God has promised we would never miss it. Now just four months later my wife and I have been blessed so much that we can return this blessing through the Advent Conspiracy. It's not quite healing a crippled beggar in the sight of many, but it is the fulfillment of a faith promise.

"13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." – Acts 3:13-15

What God was able to do for my wife and I was a very minor miracle of smart financial planning. Raising Christ from the dead though is the greatest achievement ever witnessed by man, and as a result Peter was restored to the faith. Imagine what it must have been like for someone such as Peter, who had seen Christ dead, then He was living three days later. Millions if not billions have believed this miracle for centuries, but here is a man that actually saw the miracle and is testifying to it! How different is this from an eyewitness account of any event covered on CNN? Just because it was written down 2,000 years ago does not mean it didn't happen.

If Christ had lived today and was crucified only to rise again on the third day it would be the most covered event in history and no one would ever be able to deny He was the Son of Man. It would be on CNN with live reporting by Anderson Cooper from Jerusalem and beamed around the globe instantly. Because this was written down so long ago many dismiss it as a fairy tale instead of proof of the loving God. This is not the time or the place to get into how this will be counterfeited by the Antichrist during the end times, but what we see here at the end of Acts 3 is essentially an eyewitness account of the biggest news story in history.

TODAY'S QUESTIONS:

  1. Why did God work in such dramatic miracles then, but not now?
  2. Why would Peter use such forceful, accusatory language with the onlookers?
  3. Would Christ's death and resurrection have more impact today when it could be witnessed, or back then where we must act on faith it happened?

1 comment:

Micah said...

Hey Travis. It's amazing that you are asking Question 1 on here, as that is part of what we will be discussing tonight.

I look forward to the discussion and think you will have some great thoughts to share.

Micah