After the Holy Spirit fell upon Jesus’ disciples, and Peter spoke to the crowd bringing three thousand souls into the Kingdom, we next see him and John going to the Temple to pray. Notice that the infilling of the Holy Spirit didn’t inspire the disciples to start a new religion. They were Jews and their Messiah was a Jew. Their intention was not to split with Judaism but to show their brethren how Jesus had fulfilled Scripture.
Before they could enter the Temple, they encountered a lame beggar by the gate called Beautiful (Acts 3:1-26) It was customary for family and friends to carry their handicapped loved one to various places around the city where there was enough foot traffic to give the injured party a chance to collect alms throughout the day. This alms collection was usually their only livelihood.
Though Peter and John had little in the way of money, their compassion was aroused when they saw the beggar. “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,” Peter boldly says. And after Peter pulled the man to his feet, the beggar began “walking and leaping and praising God.” Now the people knew this beggar well. They had seen him at the Beautiful gate for years. This was no sham miracle. This was real and they knew it.
At once, Peter began speaking of Jesus and how this whole miracle with the lame beggar was brought about through the power of Jesus and through His name. And the people listened. They listened to Peter talk about how and why Jesus died, then rose again. They listened to Peter talk about Moses and the Law and the prophets and how Jesus fulfilled them all. And Scripture tells us that five thousand of them believed that day(Acts 4:4). Five thousand! The healing of the lame beggar made the people want to hear what Peter said. The expounding of Scripture made them believe in the Healer.
Are miracles still for today? Many say no. But I don’t believe that. I’ve heard too many testimonies of supernatural healing, protection, provision. Many years ago it was customary that when an evangelist entered a new community the first thing he did was to seek out the sickest person in town. Then the evangelist would lay hands on that person and pray for healing. You see, the evangelist expected a healing. He believed God’s word that says, if a believer lays hands on the sick “they shall recover.” And when that sick person did, in fact, recover, the townspeople were open to hearing the Gospel. And then many believed.
Miracles aren’t for show. They are not meant as a theatrical ploy. They are meant to demonstrate to the nonbeliever that Jesus is very real and alive and powerful, and that His message is worthy of being heard. So, have any miracles occurred through my prayers or laying on of hands? Not that I know of. But the fault is mine and not in God’s Word. Though I truly believe that God can and does do miracles today, will He do them through me? And there’s the rub. And that’s the thing many Christians wonder: Will God do miracles through them? His word says, yes. And I think it boils down to this: are we willing to go out on a limb and pray for those who need prayer, and believe God’s Word? All the while understanding that it’s not us, but God working through us as His vessel? If we don’t step out and give Him a chance to use us, how will we ever know?
May God give us all the courage to stand on His Word and be truly used of Him.
Until next time,