Acts, #16 in the series
Every Thursday I teach a Bible lesson via livestream on Facebook.1 This past Thursday when I went on THRIVEOC (standing for Thrive, Orange County), I could not record--the button was gone! Finally, 28 minutes after I should have started, I went live on my personal Facebook page, and the THRIVE folks were alerted where to find me.
But.... people who would never have heard or seen the livestream saw it, which is pretty interesting. Unfortunate that I had moved out of my lush green backyard, trying to get internet service, trying to record... into a corner of my back deck...kinda had a mess on my hands. But two of my neighbors watched it--at least some of it (ha, that's how I learned the backdrop was awful). Later in the day, in response to something she heard me say, one asked 'Do you think prayer really works?' Like that, the bells went off in my head--opportunity knocking.
As the lights come up on the set of Acts chapter 3, Luke highlights two emotion-packed scenes starring the one who seemed to have a flare for the dramatic . . . Peter! The passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+3.11-26&version=NLT
The first scene was the healing of the crippled beggar who had asked Peter and John for money outside of the temple. Peter responded with, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”1
And so he did. But not just walk . . . the guy was skipping and jumping around praising God! Without a doubt, we would have done the same thing, so absolutely thrilled to have the use of our legs and stand on out feet for the first time ever! But do not miss this – Peter healed the man "in the name of Jesus Christ".2
People who knew the man were astounded, amazed to see what happened to the man. Bells went off in Peter's head--ding, ding, ding--opportunity knocking! Indeed, because of the miraculous work of God, Peter had another moment that he could speak to a crowd about Jesus Christ and the power of the Gospel message. In his message, Peter made very pointed remarks to these Jewish faithful going to the Temple to pray--Jesus is the Messiah of whom the prophets foretold!
“You disowned the holy and righteous one ... you killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead.”3 Wow. And then he punctuates that sentence with, ‘we are witnesses of this’. Eye witnesses of the resurrected Lord-- and since it was well known that many had seen and touched the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth, no one shouted Peter down. You see, eye witness testimony was and is so very powerful.
[Note Peter was not addressing the same crowd from Acts chapter two – the Jewish pilgrims who had come to observe the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, and heard the gospel in their own native tongues. This was a different crew.]
Peter goes on to call them to repentance so their sins could be wiped out,4 and calls them to turn to God. But wait, the people he was addressing were on their way to the Temple to pray, so they believed in God, right? Of course, but they had not acknowledged Jesus Christ as their Messiah, Son of God, Lord and Savior and Peter would not miss the opportunity to tell them.
The healing of the lame beggar drew attention to the miraculous healing power in the name and person of Jesus—the perfect setup for Peter to tell about his Lord. I can hear him now, 'Listen to me, people of Jerusalem, you know how the prophets foretold of the One who would come... and he has! There is healing, forgiveness, freedom from sin and shame, and salvation in none other than our Messiah, Jesus Christ.'
As we turn the page, we will see what God did when Peter seized the opportunity . . . truly God, but he used a man. He will use you too... are you available? Seize the day!
"Available" Elevation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyt0V8Qr2TE
1 - I have been teaching Bible studies on Thursday mornings since January, 2001. When Covid hit last year, took it on Facebook livestream...10 am PST
. Do I like Facebook? Not necessarily, but it has been a great platform from which to livestream; in addition, I post these studies in a "Morning Briefings" FB group, as well as "THRIVEOC". Check it out!
2 - Acts 3.1-10
3 - Acts 3.14
4 - Acts 3.19