12 March 2006

"Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."

On this notable occasion we have two worshippers, apostles of Jesus Christ, entering the temple to pray. Peter and John, friends in the faith, were doing what they had always done at the ninth hour of the day, three p.m. our time: they were going to worship. There was no television cameras planted. There was no music director to move the emotions of people. There was no program to follow. There were not even any seats for spectators to admire what they were about to do. As a matter of fact, the events that were about to transpire were unknown to them both, unplanned and unorganized. A beggar, which is what we all are when it comes to our need for God's mercy and grace, was lying at the gate, begging for some insignificant trinket to sustain him for another day when the two men passed by. He made his meager request to the apostles as he would to any passer by. Peter, seeing the man, was moved with compassion. I will stop here and ask our readers what it was that Peter wanted the man to give to this man? Of all the things that Peter could impart to him, what was the greatest blessing? Those who have found the Lord Jesus Christ in their life know: it was to know HIM, not them. This was Paul's greatest request, even after his apostleship: "That I might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death." This is salvation, not to have our body healed, but to have our souls healed which only comes from obtaining Christ. Yes, two miracles were performed that day, but really only one occurred. The physical healing was only a precursor, an event that precipitated the beggar's heart into the crucible of God's glory to see his Lord and fully trust in Him for salvation. That was the purpose of every miracle in the Bible. Not to draw attention to man, but to God; to exalt His glory and power. If we would read a little further, to verse twelve of this event, we will find Peter making an acknowledgement, a confession, a disclaimer if you will, to the general public concerning the whole event: "why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" Peter confesses that he did not have power to heal. It was God's power to do so, he was just an empty vessel that God had used. He also asked the people not to look upon "us". The attention should be God's. It was known to our Lord that false prophets would arise, seducing the saints, boasting of powers to pad their pockets and build their congregations for personal gain. So our Lord said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23). Yes, God is still in the miracle business today. He still heals people by His miraculous grace, both mentally and physically. But He never does it for show. I believe that the fervent prayer of the least of saints has more power to heal than the showmanship that we see displayed today. Yet, the greatest miracle is to impart Christ, for beggars to know Him. This the beggar received that day.