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The Power of Christ in Peter

(Acts 3:1-16)

Lesson 3 -- fourth quarter 2005
September 18, 2005

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications

Probing Your Own Heart

Have you been attentive to the needy ones in your community?

How active and "aggressive" is your faith in Jesus?

Building on Some Foundational Concepts

True heavenly-mindedness magnifies our earthly usefulness.

Peter and John had their minds set on things above. Following that interest, they went to the temple at a time established for corporate praying. Because their hearts were thus tuned to God and their minds thus occupied with the things of God, they saw how to meet a need in the life of someone down at ground level. The upward look sharpens our vision, compassion, and usefulness on earth.

We can give away only that which we have.

Peter had no coins, so he couldn't give any to the beggar. Peter did have faith in Jesus and somehow he passed that along to the lame man. Because of the faith of these two men, one of them was finally able to stand (and walk and leap!). What does your living and giving reveal about the contents of your own storehouse?

People looking at us gives us opportunity to redirect their attention.

The lame man riveted his attention on Peter and John; they pointed to Jesus. The people looked earnestly at Peter and John; they pointed to Jesus. Do people look at you sometimes? Point to Jesus!

When God acts, He must receive glory.

God, not Peter and not John, healed the lame man. Those three men recognized that, so they made sure their praise and that of others was directed toward Him. So must we trumpet the praise of God, especially when He deigns to use us in doing the work of God.

Questions and Responses

Isn't this lesson primarily about and for the leaders of the church?

Do you mean the part about going to public prayer meetings? Or the part about exercising compassion and faith in the name of Jesus? Or perhaps the part about seizing opportunities to point people to Jesus? Maybe you don't have any specifics in mind beyond the fact that the lesson shows two men in action who "just happened" to be leaders in the church.

We must understand that the lesson isn't primarily about Peter and John. Neither is it about the lame man. This lesson is about Jesus and about presenting Him as the answer to people's needs.

Thus the Lord wishes to speak to me and to you in this lesson. He wants to apply His Word to us.

Why should this man have accepted Peter's word and faith?

We must assume that the lame man knew of Jesus. It is also quite likely that he already knew John or Peter or both. He surely knew of Jesus' power from before this particular encounter. So it may have been natural for him to act on Peter's call.

Then again, the sequence given in Acts 3:6-8 may indicate the answer to our question. Notice that after saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk," Peter continues with the initiative by reaching out to the man, taking him by the hand, and lifting him up. At that point the man's "feet and ankle bones received strength." If not before, then at that point the man had to believe. What else was there for him to do? So he "stood, and walked...walking, and leaping"!

Did Peter do amazing things like this every day?

No. Neither did Jesus do them through him every day.

Following Jesus isn't about being used to bring about miraculous events such as this every day. I venture to say that most Christians in the early church never had the thrill of being used by Jesus in this manner. Following Jesus is about faithfulness and obedience to Him. It is about love and service to Him and for Him. It is about living "in the name of Jesus." When we follow Him like that, He can use us to accomplish His purposes in the lives of those He sends our way. Now that is amazing! (And that He would do every day, by the way!)

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