“And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God…. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all” Acts 3:5-8, 16
“The faith that is through Jesus”. Note how this verse explains how the claim to "faith in Jesus' name" works and what it means. To appeal to the name is to point to the person, Jesus. Just saying, “In the name of Jesus” is not a “magical” phrase that brings miracles. But it points to the person Jesus, that by faith the one speaking has positioned his life relationally with and can “introduce” Jesus into the situation and speak with his authority.
It is not clear that the lame man expressed faith before the miracle. So it was not by his faith he was healed, but by that of Peter and John’s. This could well be a "grace-faith miracle" where God grants power through the apostles to picture how much a gift life is (Luke 17:11-19). In Luke Jesus heals 10 lepers not by their faith. I sometimes hear in the church, even in my small circle of friends it said about someone who is ill or going through some trial, “We prayed for them, but if they do not have faith or believe, there is nothing we can do for them.” Or “I heard recently, their mother practices Wicca and as long as that takes place in the house we can’t do anything.” I cringe when I hear that. First of all THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO FOR THEM, IT IS ALL JESUS!! Only he can heal/change/restore their situation. And so by saying that, you are now speaking for Jesus and limiting who he can heal, how he can heal, why he can heal, and his power of restoration to your human capabilities or understanding.
Peter and John did not ask what the man’s faith was before they healed him. They simply pointed him to, introduced him to Jesus. And our Christology (understanding of Christ) is that grace is at his core. And his grace is emphasized here in this passage. All throughout our day Christ graciously provides for us, heals us, restores us, provides for us and not because we asked him out of deep faith. As if we are honest, most days we do not even thank him. But he does it out of his love and grace towards us.
Lord, help me to be gracious towards those in my life: my wife, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others. Even harder, help me when I encounter those lame, diseased, broken, abusive, and foul, dumped by the gate who may even reject you, I do not withhold or try to limit your grace towards them, but bravely embrace your amazing grace and in the name of Jesus, point them to you. Help ODC be a family of faith, that as grace is at the core of who you are Jesus, grace will be at the core of who we are as well.
Please share your thoughts of my post aboveor your reflections from your reading of Acts chapter 3 with us in the comments section below in the comments box.
As a reminder, here is what we have committed to during these 28 days of reading through Acts.
I am asking all of us as a church, as a family, as a community of faith to come together and pray over these ministries and the future and vision for ODC. I would like us to dedicate ourselves to pouring ourselves into his word and prayer as we seek God’s will and direction for our lives and ODC. To aid us in this I am asking us to commit to one another and join together in these 5 things.
1. Starting this Monday, , spend the 28 days following reading through the Book of Acts of the Apostles. There are 28 chapters in Acts, so we will read one chapter a week for 28 days. Spend time in S,O.A. P.S. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer, Sharing) daily on each chapter. Pray then over your ministry and ODC’s.
2. Start up/join in a Band Group. We need to both encourage and hold each other accountable to time in the Word, Prayer, and our daily walk with Christ. Do not delay, pray to God who to ask you which one or two persons to invite to join you, and do it. No excuses, no delays.
3. Set aside just one hour a week (you can do more than one) away from distractions and spend that hour in solid prayer.
4. Fast one day a week in prayer. Read Isaiah 58 on fasting for guidance or contact me if you have questions on fasting.
5. Daily Lunch + prayer: Everyday when you sit down to lunch, you pray over your meal. After your prayer over the meal, and a 30 second prayer over ODC and its ministries for God’s vision and leading.