Peter and John
1The time of prayer was about three o'clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. 2A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in.
3The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. 4But they looked straight at him and said, “Look up at us!”
5The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. 6But Peter said, “I don't have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” 7Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up.
At once the man's feet and ankles became strong, 8and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. 9Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. 10They knew he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man.
“I won’t believe it until I see it.” When journalists explore people’s encounters with God, experiential evidence that God is real – testimony – is not hard to find. God leaves a history and traces of his presence behind in people’s lives.
In the book of Acts, Luke gives us a sequel to his first book about the life of Jesus – and he wants to give us all the evidence. His first book ended with God doing the unthinkable: watching Roman soldiers brutally kill Jesus, hanging him on a cross, only to raise him from the dead three days later.
And now the resurrection has changed everything, including Peter and the disciples. In a short time, Peter has changed from a fearful, dejected follower of a dead Messiah into a bold messenger with urgent news to tell about new life. How is this possible? Luke, the physician, shows us by recounting how Peter and John healed a man born crippled.
In this story, the beggar’s ordinary request was met with extraordinary power unleashed by the resurrection of Jesus. The man asked for money, but received much more – more than he ever expected. “In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking!” said Peter. The outcome amazed all the onlookers.
People rejoiced but some people were puzzled. How could this happen? Peter and John made clear that this healing was evidence that God was at work through the power of Jesus whom God had raised from the dead for all to see, with many after effects.
The next time someone you know asks for evidence, invite them to consider the work of God in history – your own history, Luke’s history, and the history of the world that God loved so much that Jesus died to reclaim it.
God of healing, God of wholeness, strengthen me to stand firm for your life-giving truth in a world that neglects your power to bring new life. May I experience more of your love and power. Act in my story for the glory of your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.