Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daily - 11/20/08

Acts 2 – longer than usual, but worthwhile I hope.

1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o'clock hour of prayer.

2 And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called "the Beautiful Gate" every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.

3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms.

4 But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us."

5 He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.

6 Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, (rise and) walk."

7 Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.

8 He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.

9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God,

10 they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.

11 As he clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called "Solomon's Portico."

12 When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, "You Israelites, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
13 The God of Abraham, (the God) of Isaac, and (the God) of Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence, when he had decided to release him.

14 You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.

15 The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.

16 And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you.

17 Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;

18 but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer.

19 Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,

20 and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus,

21 whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.

22 For Moses said: 'A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.

23 Everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be cut off from the people.'

24 Moreover, all the prophets who spoke, from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.

25 You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, 'In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'

26 For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways."

I’m always amazed at how the Holy Spirit changed Peter. Remember that Peter was a fisherman. He had not spent his life scouring the scriptures to fully understand the law, or the prophecies of the Messiah. He went to work, caught his fish, and went home.

After Pentecost, he’s just a touch different. He has the power to heal, and in Acts 9 he even raises Tabitha from the dead. He suddenly had a detailed knowledge of Scripture, and a full understanding that in Christ the prophecies of the Scriptures were fulfilled. This uneducated fisherman is now speaking to large crowds and preaching a gospel with knowledge and certainly that was given to him by the Holy Spirit. And he testifies that this power doesn’t come from him, it comes from God.

If God can do that with Peter, he can do it with us. We aren’t all called to be Peter, but we are all called by God for certain purposes. Our job is simply to follow Christ. If we dedicate ourselves to Christ and remain in him, we become capable of things we’d have never thought possible. I say that with certainty.