This week’s reflections are written by Rev. Brian Johnston, one of our Associate Pastors here at St. Matthew’s
Rooted 2019 – Week Fifteen Day One
Today’s reading is Acts 3: 1-10
Today we read a short passage about Peter and John shortly after the Pentecost experience. They are heading to the temple for the afternoon prayer time when they come across a lame man begging for money. People with physical disabilities were not allowed into the temple because they were considered “unclean”. However, they were allowed to sit outside the gates and beg for money. The man mentioned in this passage was a known beggar who has been in this situation for a while. He was quite the professional. He knew that devote Jews heading to prayer time would be more willing to give money before they entered the temple. This scene had me wonder how would we react as a church if we had a disabled person outside our doors begging for money before Sunday morning worship? As we continue to read, we see how Peter and John reacted. They looked straight at the man and then demanded that he look them in the eyes. The lame man thought he was about to be given some money. However, Peter and John had other plans. They had no money to give because they gave it to the “community of believers” as did the other followers of Christ. So they offered the lame man something else. In view of all of Israel, they healed the man in the name of “Jesus Christ of Nazareth”. They did this to show the crowd of witnesses that this miracle was done by Jesus Christ and no other gods. It was very common for people of that day to heal individuals in the name of gods. Now this lame man was healed and able to join Peter and John in the temple for the first time. The entire crowd got to witness this miracle and have a personal encounter with God. So what is the main theme in this passage? While we can explore many different avenues, the big picture is that through Jesus Christ, God redefines who is allowed to be a part of the covenant community. The lame beggar represents the person who achieves salvation through Jesus Christ. One that was not allowed to enter the temple is now healed and gets to worship with the other believers. This act of healing also provides a witness to the rest of the world about the truth of Jesus Christ. This passage should give us the courage to show the world around us how the Savior has healed us. That we all have the ability to be part of the covenant community if we repent and believe in Jesus Christ. This good news will surely leave those around us “filled with wonder and amazement”.
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