What do we HAVE to give HURTING PEOPLE today?
November 6 Bible Reading: Acts Chapters 1-3
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (Acts 3:6-10)
When we study the public ministry of Jesus, it is clear that He was engaged in restoring the lives of the people who encountered Him. A large percentage of the miracles that Jesus performed were in healing people that is, restoring the sick and disabled people back into complete health. In fact, Jesus restored all manner of sickness, and because of Him the blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the dead were raised back to life, and the poor had the gospel preached to them (Luke 7:21-22). Thus, it was evident that healing was the precursor that one day God will restore all things back to their original condition (Acts 3:21).
Early on in His ministry, Jesus had declared to some Jews gathered in a synagogue in His hometown Nazareth that the ‘Spirit of the Lord’ was upon Him and had anointed Him to restore various disabled people like the brokenhearted, the captives, the blind and the oppressed (Luke 4:16-21). The same ‘Spirit of the Lord’ was gifted by Jesus to the early church with the restorative ability to heal instantaneously so that people were convinced that Jesus was truly God and the salvation message had divine authority. The disciples "went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs." (Mark 16:20)
After the 120 disciples of Jesus had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), we see that "many wonders and signs were done through the apostles" (Acts 2:43). Keeping this in context, we see that the impetuous Peter and the unassuming John went up together as usual into the temple to pray at the ninth hour (3 PM). This Jewish prayer time was held in conjunction with the evening sacrifices and offering of incense (Luke 1:8–10; Rev. 8:3, 4), and at this early point in the history of the church, Peter and John continued to follow the Jewish prayer tradition. As they approached the temple, they saw men carrying a crippled beggar to his customary spot at the gate of the temple called Beautiful. The helpless condition of this man, who was lame since birth, is in marked contrast to the beauty of the architecture of the temple.
This crippled beggar had obviously given up hope of ever being cured, so he contented himself to ask for a handout from temple visitors. Instead of looking on this man as a helpless wretch, Peter saw him as one in whom the mighty power of God might be demonstrated. So, Peter commanded, “Look at us,” in order to insure the undivided attention of the beggar. Peter did not have any silver and gold coins to hand out, but he had something better. By the authority of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he commanded the lame man to rise up and walk. The crippled beggar had hoped for some alms, but instead he got legs and the ability to walk without support!
Now, Peter did not lay his hands on the beggar and pray for God to heal him. Rather, as an apostle with the power of God to perform signs and wonders, he simply told the crippled beggar to rise up and walk. In fact, Peter and John had the power, the authority and the ability to heal diseases in the name of Jesus through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. As Peter helped the crippled man to his feet, strength flowed into his useless feet and ankle bones, and God healed him. When we do what we can, God will do what we cannot! The miracle of healing was immediate, and not gradual. The man who was a cripple from birth immediately "leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God" (v. 8). Peter had given this crippled beggar a gift far better than what he had expected!
So, what do we have to give hurting people in our time?
- We have the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ: "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us" (2 Cor. 4:6-7).
- We have the authority of the name of Jesus Christ to heal, deliver and restore broken lives (Phil. 2:9-11).
- We have God’s Word, the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) to break through the yoke of Satan.
- Finally, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to perform great miracles, signs and wonders (Mark 16:17-18; Acts 4:30).