18 April 2015Acts 3:1-10
“But Peter said, ‘I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.’” (v. 6)
Psalm: Psalm 139
These were indeed heady days in Jerusalem! The community of believers was growing apace in response to the events of Pentecost, the preaching and teaching of the apostles and the commitment to the common good. And part of the attraction were the extraordinary 'wonders and signs' being done by the apostles.
The embryonic church was spending much time together gathered in the Temple and offering prayer and praise. Here we see Peter and John on their way up to the Temple to pray, and the not unusual sight of a lame man at one of the gates asking for alms. Did he recognise Peter and John as leaders of this new movement or were they just the next people to cross his path? Many will (no doubt) have hurried by, but Peter and John gave the lame man their full attention - and he returned the favour, full of expectation.
Peter and John were humble fishermen and their request that the man look at them may have been to establish that they weren't a likely source of funds - or was it to ensure that he clearly heard and understood the remarkable words they were about to utter? Little did this man know that his expectations - his most profound hopes and wildest dreams indeed - were about to be exceeded. "I have no silver or gold," says Peter, 'but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk." And he did!
When the people recognized this man, now walking and leaping and praising God, they were filled with wonder and amazement - no doubt Peter and John among them! How exhilarating for them to be used by God in such a wonderful way. And what a witness these events were to the presence of God in their midst - the risen Christ and the Holy Spirit - engendering awe and wonder, and new believers, and in time opposition and hostility. That the apostles found the wisdom and courage to plot a path through this maelstrom was further evidence of God's Spirit at work among them!
- The early Church seemed to be striking a balance between exuberance and good order. How is that being achieved in your own church, context or community?
- What sense do you make of miraculous happenings such as that recorded in today's passage and how do they inform your faith?
- The Church today has limited resources, but what does it have to offer?