“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.”
Acts 3:16, NIV
Peter and John are going to worship at the temple when they encounter a beggar. He asks for money, but Peter responds: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” (Acts 3:6,NIV). And so he rises up, his feet become strong, and he immediately begins to jump and praise God in response to this miraculous healing. The people in the temple courts recognize him as the man who was lame. They are shocked and stand agape. How is it that this is possible? How incredible are Peter and John!
Here’s the thing though: The people are amazed because they are filled with unbelief. They doubt the possibility of a full healing. In light of the healing, they look to the men whom they believe made it possible… Peter recognizes this within the people’s hearts and he rebukes the notion. “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you?! Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness WE had made this man walk?! The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus…” (Acts 3:12-13, emphasis mine). These people are the ones who placed Jesus on the cross, and disowned him. Yet they participate in rejoicing this healing.
We are those Israelites in the audience watching great healings. We are full of unbelief, shocked at God’s presence in the lives of others. We stand agape at the miracles surrounding us… We also disown Jesus on a near daily basis when we fall into a thinking that those miracles are not for us and our own lives. Others may bring miracles to our attention, but then we immediately look upon their face instead of Christ’s. We often fail to give God the praise he deserves. Don’t get me wrong—it is absolutely pertinent to our personal faith to stand in awe of others’ lives and God’s presence among them. The falter happens when we stop recognizing the power of Christ that lives within us—the very same power that gives us the ability to make miracles happen in our own immediate and pressing situations. We fail when we compare our lives against others, thinking they are holier or more worthy and that this allows for miracles in their daily life… We fall when we worship people for God’s works, rather than giving credit to the creator of all that is good.
Why do we stand in awe and disbelief at miracles? Are we truly in awe of Christ, or are we harboring thoughts of doubt… Are we praising Christ, or are we diminishing him by deciding that his works are not for our own enjoyment? How often do we actually legitimately take advantage of the power of Christ within us?
I know that these are heavy questions. I know that it can be hard to hear. But in my own personal life, I am tired of only being amazed at God in others and it is time to take advantage of God in myself. God has made his home within each and every one of us. And now it is up to us how much reign we allow him to have. It is your decision to allow Christ’s miraculous love to move through you. So in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I command you to walk.
Devotional written by Heather Christy. Graphic designs by Daniel Christy.